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Are There Different Types of Credit Scores? Here’s What You Should Know

Stacey Sprain Contributor

If you’re used to checking your credit score through a free app or credit card account, you might be surprised to know that the number you see there doesn’t tell the whole story. There are several types of credit scores.

In fact, the credit scores you see online through free credit report and scoring sites are probably not the same credit scores a lender will use when you apply for a loan or credit.

“It is important to make a distinction between consumer credit scores and the FICO scores that lenders use,” said Dylan Hoffman, a senior mortgage consultant with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (Fairway owns “Consumer scores will generally be higher because they are on a larger scale. This can get confusing because there are also different FICO scoring models, depending on the type of lender.”

Below, we explain the three most common credit scoring models you’re likely to run across in the market.

Read Original Article

Holiday Fire Safety

During the holiday season, homes are often beautifully decorated with candles, fresh garlands and trees adorned in lights. While the wonder of the season is exciting, it is important to be aware of potential fire hazards. Follow the tips below to make sure your home is festive and free of potential danger.

  1. If you choose to decorate a live tree, try to find one that is fresh. Fresh trees are safer for your home because they are less likely to catch fire. Some indicators of a fresh tree are:
  • Vibrant green color with needles that are not easily plucked
  • A trunk that is sticky with resin

Watch out for trees that have a greenish cast to their trunks and branches, as some growers spray trees with green paint to make them more appealing to buyers.

  1. When decorating your Christmas tree (live or artificial), ensure your tree won’t start an electrical fire. Some good tips include:
  • Use only lights that have been tested for safety (a label from an independent testing laboratory should appear on the box)
  • Check each set of lights for broken sockets, frayed wires or loose connections
  • Use a maximum of three standard-sized strings of lights per single extension cord
  • Keep cords and lights away from the tree’s water supply
  1. To dispose of your tree, take it to a tree recycling center or have it hauled away by a community pick-up service. Never burn trees, branches or needles in a fireplace or woodstove. Fir trees and pine trees have a copious amount of sap, which can explode.

For more on holiday fire safety, click here. If buying a new home is on your list of resolutions for the new year, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your homebuying needs! Let’s plan to meet soon.

Real Estate Appreciation Data: Q4 2018

The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently released year-end price figures. Just click on the image below to explore an interactive map with the most up-to-date rates of change in home values, as well as appreciation rates over a number of different time periods. Data at this site is updated quarterly, so feel free to bookmark it for easy access.

Understanding recent and long-term trends can help you remain an informed consumer, whether you’re comfortable in your home or considering to move to a new home.

If you have questions or if we can ever be of service to you, your family and your friends, please let us know. We are here to help and happy to do so.

2017 Seattle Five Star Mortgage Professional Award

“This year’s Seattle Five Star Mortgage Professional award winners are announced in the January issue of Seattle magazine, and David Haley is among the winners! The Five Star award is presented to local professionals who demonstrate outstanding service to their clients. We receive nominations from local homebuyers and sellers, who evaluate professionals on the services they provide… Congratulations once again to David and all of our 2017 Five Star Mortgage Professionals!”

Dan Zdon
CEO, Five Star Professional

Click below to see Facebook post by Five Star Professional

Do Mortgage Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score?

ISS_4567_00440-700x467When you apply for a home mortgage loan, your Mortgage Planner will check your credit score. This is reported to credit agencies as an inquiry and lets creditors know that you are considering taking on new debt. An inquiry can have a negative, but small, effect on your credit score. While still small, inquiries can have a larger effect if you have few accounts or a short credit history. However, inquiries are a mandatory part of applying for a home loan, so they cannot be avoided.

Inquiries made within a 45-day window are only recorded on your credit report as a single inquiry because creditors understand that you are only going to buy one home. This means that multiple lenders can check your credit as long as it is within 45 days of the initial inquiry. It is important to note that the 45-day window only applies to mortgage loans; credit card and other credit inquiries are processed separately.

When you check your credit on your own, it does not have an affect on your score. Before you apply for a home mortgage loan, you should request a credit report to dispute any errors that you see. Because resolving disputes could take longer than 45 days, this will avoid your lender having to submit two inquiries if there are errors on the original report.

For more information about mortgage credit inquires, click here.

When you are ready to purchase a home, I would love to talk to you about your home financing options. Call me today to set up an appointment!

Decorating Kid’s Room on a Budget


Decorating a child’s room can get pretty expensive, especially if your little one is your first. There are just so many cool things out there and sometimes, parents (and grandparents) can get too excited and spend a lot of money. So, whether you want to redecorate your kid’s room or are just starting to put the nursery together, you will find these inexpensive ideas helpful for you project.

1. Art Gallery


You can create a very inexpensive gallery with your kid’s art or pictures from old kid’s books and frames that you, your family or friends do not use anymore. You can even include your children and have them collect flowers and/or leaves they like and put them in a piece of paper, there are endless ways to do this!

2. Furniture Makeover


Thrift stores and garage sales are full of hiding gems; find a piece of furniture you like and add your own style to it, or you can repurpose it, like this old cabinet turned into a small kid’s diner.

3. Handmade


Get creative with the things you have at hand, use some colored paper to cut out fun shapes, you can even make your own pompoms, and if you are into sewing, check out this DIY less than $10 teepee.

4. Check out IKEA


Ikea is known for having low-priced, and pretty cool things. But if you are really creative you can make the most of what you get at the store. Just take a look at how these Ikea products have been transformed!

5. Use wall decals


An easy way to give your kids room character is by using wall decals, no need to be the best artist when you can get ready to go decoration for your wall. Wall decals can get to be a little expensive, but some stores, like Target, have cool and reasonably priced decals.

6. Chalkboard paint


Paint a wall with black chalkboard paint, your kids will have a giant canvas to draw on. You can also use this to write reminders or routines for your kids.

7. Small spaces

Make the most of the space you have available, there are really cool beds and room furniture that come with extra storage. Or you can use what you have and reorganize it, like this parent whose kid’s closet was out of control.

8. Get to know Pinterest


Pinterest, the world’s catalog of ideas, is the to-go website for people who love DIY. This platform is full with ideas and we know you will love it!

Tips to Save Energy


**If you sell your home do you need to have it Energy Certified?**

Do you know how much money are you spending on your Energy Bills? Well, according to Alliance to Save Energy, ‘the average U.S. residential household consumed 10,982 kWh of electricity and spent around $2,200 annually on utility bills’ Yes, that is right, you are probably using more energy that you need to! Just take a look at this blog on the 10 most energy wasting habits people have in their home.

Saving energy is not only about being cleaner and caring about the planet, it is also about using your resources more effectively. So, whether you want to stop wasting resources for the planet’s sake or save on energy (and other) bills, here are some steps you can take towards being more energy-efficient.

  • Heating and Cooling
    Close blinds on summer to keep your house cool and open them in winter to let sun in. In the colder months be careful with fans because the air coming from them can make your heating system work harder.

    Check for air leaks, any cracks in your home will let cold hair come in and hot air escape, this makes your heating system work harder and waste energy in the process. Look around your windows, anywhere wood meets concrete, sill plates, doors and air duct joints.

    Make sure to install a programmable thermostat, according to, ‘You could save an estimated 10 percent per year on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat, and by resetting it when you are asleep or away from home, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort.’

    Want to know more? Read this Guide to smart Heating and Cooling from Energy Star, a voluntary energy-savings program of the U.S. government.

  • Appliances

    Just by pushing the ‘energy saver’ button on some or all your appliances, you will be making a difference on your energy consumption. But if you feel like you want to do more, and if you have the money, you can replace your old appliances for energy-efficient models. We recommend that you get appliances that are certified by Energy Star, here is a list of them. You can also reduce the use of electricity when electronics are not in use by plugging them to an advanced power strip.

  • Transportation

    If you are about to buy or replace your old car, you can get one that has good mileage, this will help you save money on gas and will reduce the CO2 emissions that come from your car.

We hope to have inspired you to take some steps towards using energy better, and to give you more inspiration, here, read this couple’s story on how they made their home more energy efficient.

Getting Ready to Buy a Home

Buying a home is one of the most important steps in one’s life, so we have put together some advices hoping that we can help make your home buying process easier.

With most loan programs you will need to put between 3% to 20% of the home’s price and this can come in a form of a Gift Down Payment. The one exception to this rule is the VA loan program where you can do up to 100% financing.

**Do you want to know if you qualify for a VA loan? Go here /va-loans/ **

Other cash expenses are the closing costs. According to Zillow, “…home buyers will pay between about 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price of their home in closing fees. So, if your home cost $150,000, you might pay between $3,000 and $7,500 in closing costs. On average, buyers pay roughly $3,700 in closing fees, according to a recent survey.”

However, each case is different so you should talk to your Loan Officer, she or he will give you a Loan Estimate which will give you an idea of what your closing costs will look like. Remember this is only an approximation and these numbers may change.

Providing the right documents to ensure your capability to qualify for a Home Loan is very important. Start collecting your financials: W-2’s, paystubs, bank statements and copies of your last two tax returns. Of course, required documents vary from person to person, but these are the basic documents that you will want to gather.

According to Money Under 30 you should “Aim to keep your mortgage payment at or below 25 percent of your pretax monthly income” and “[Try to] keep your total debt payments at or below 33 percent of your pretax monthly income.” (THIS ARE THE IDEAL NUMBERS), however most find this to be too tight for their buying opportunity.

Now that your expenses will increase with a monthly mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, utilities and others, it is best practice to have a good amount of money in your savings for emergencies.

You don’t want to find your dream home and then find out that you cannot get financing to purchase it! Make sure that you can actually get a loan before you start home shopping. Talk to your family members, friends or co workers and ask if they know a Loan Officer that you can work with.

Finding a Realtor that you can trust is very important. Make sure you ask these 9 important questions.

Your Realtor will most likely put you in a Home Search site or program, so you can get notifications whenever a house fits your criteria. But you can also look on your own; there are different kinds of Home Search Engines, so you have a lot of options out there.

A good Home Search App we recommend is Home Scouting, it has accurate Listings and live, real up-to-date active homes, unlike other Real Estate search sites, it lets you save searches and favorite homes, it’s private and does not sell your name or contact information.

To download the Home Scouting App:

After downloading the app, use this code: 4254716039

We hope these tips help you to get you ready to buy a home, and please do not hesitate to contact David Haley if you have any Home Loan questions. Don’t delay and call today! 425-471-6039

Happy House Hunting!

Brighten Your Home


Enhance your room’s natural light by hanging a mirror on a wall that faces a window, the mirror will reflect the light and your room will look brighter. You can also hang the mirror facing a lamp. Play with the mirror’s placement and see what works best for you.

Colors and Texture
Choosing a different color for your walls and ceilings can change a room’s appearance dramatically; you can choose lighter shades of paint for most of your room and then add contrast with a darker or bolder color for your floor, door and window’s trim. Even if it does not seem like it, texture can be detrimental to or help enhance light in a room, matte finishes are better than glossy ones since they offer a more subtle impression and reflect light as well.

Light Curtains
Using bulky and heavy curtains in a room that is already dark won’t let any natural light in. Try lighter, airy curtains and you will see the difference. If you are concerned about your privacy, you can always get blinders in a neutral painted or pale wood finish.

Use brighter Light bulbs
You can replace them with higher light intensity bulbs such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) of a lower wattage but higher light output. You can also try different light coloring. Daylight bulbs usually provide a cooler, bluer, more vivid light. Take a look at this blog to learn more about lightning.