Greater Charlotte/Lake Norman Real Estate and Community News

March 4, 2021

Ask the Expert: Now’s the Time to Add Real Estate to Your Portfolio

The inevitable ebbs and flows of the stock market can be maddening for investors.

A key strategy in countering that unpredictability is complementing your stock portfolio with other kinds of investments. Real estate should be at the top of the list of alternatives, says David DiGioia, owner and broker-in-charge at DiGioia Realty – Signature Properties.

“Investing in real estate is a great hedge for anyone’s investment portfolio – a way to balance out the volatility of only investing in the stock market,” DiGioia explains.
It also has proven to be an effective strategy for building wealth in general.

“More millionaires have been created in the U.S. through real estate than any other source,” DiGioia notes. “It is a safe, secure investment strategy that offers price appreciation and tax advantages while the tenant is paying down your loan and you are building equity.”

DiGioia practices what he preaches. He has invested in real estate for more than 20 years and has a personal portfolio of a dozen properties. But, you might be saying, that’s fine for him because real estate is his business. What do I know about buying properties? And why would I want the hassle of being a landlord?

Not to worry, DiGioia says.

“Our firm offers investors one-stop shopping,” he explains. “As a seasoned real estate professional who is also an investor, I can help our clients find the right investment properties, handle the sale, then also manage the property or provide assistance on how they can manage it themselves.”

The time is also right for a move into real estate locally, DiGioia adds. Realtor.com ranks the Charlotte area as the No. 3 housing market in the U.S. for 2021. And with a declining supply and increased demand, prices will continue to rise in the future, ensuring continued appreciation on today’s investments.

“Companies are coming in and buying hundreds of homes in the area,” DiGioia notes. “That’s how hot the Charlotte market is and speaks to the potential investors see in residential real estate.”
Why are investors so attracted to the Charlotte area? Here are some contributing factors:

Rising values

The Charlotte region’s 13.6 percent annual home-price appreciation in the fourth quarter of 2020 was 15th-highest among the top 100 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Local prices grew 3.5 percent when compared to the third quarter and were up more than 53 percent over the past five years.

And that trend is expected to continue. Realtor.com estimates that home sales in the Charlotte region will rise by nearly 14 percent in 2021, and that prices will climb more than 5 percent. The report adds that a high quality of life, great weather, strong schools and rich history are drawing a mix of younger and older homebuyers to the Charlotte area.

Supply and demand

Population growth in the Charlotte metro area has generally outpaced housing supply. Between 2010 and 2019, the regional population grew by 1.9 percent and the number of housing units rose just 1.6 percent.

An average of 125 people move to the Charlotte area every day. As working remotely becomes the norm for more employees, many people – largely from the West and East Coasts – are looking to move to communities with a high quality of life where they can afford larger homes. The Charlotte region is becoming the choice for many of those transplants. The Charlotte area also was No. 6 in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 list of Top 25 places to live in the nation.

“Trends and projections point to continued consistent growth in home sales for the Charlotte area,” DiGioia says. “I and my experienced team of professionals are ready to help you diversify your portfolio by making the right real estate investments at the right time, then effectively managing those properties as they continue to gain in value while also generating consistent income for you.”

Courtesy of Lake Norman Media Group:  https://www.lakenormanpublications.com/articles/nows-the-time-to-add-real-estate-to-your-portfolio/

Feb. 5, 2021

The 4 Best Credit Repair Companies for 2021

BY HEIDI RIVERA UPDATED: FEBRUARY 4, 2021 2:10 PM ET 

 

 

Selecting a credit repair company can be a time-consuming process. If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, and your legal rights, you might end up choosing the wrong services for your needs. If you want to improve your poor credit score or to fix any errors in your report, here are the Best Credit Repair companies of 2021 according to Money.

The 4 Best Credit Repair Companies of 2021

What Exactly Do Credit Repair Companies Do?

A credit repair company is an entity that specializes in finding and disputing mistakes on your credit report. In exchange for their services, these companies generally charge a monthly fee ranging from $79 to $120. When your credit score has been improved to your satisfaction, you can discontinue the service.

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Best Credit Repair Company Reviews

The companies listed below have a solid reputation, offer reasonable turnarounds, competitive prices, satisfaction guarantees, and a variety of complimentary credit monitoring services, to help you fix your poor or bad credit. Before hiring a credit repair company, make sure you understand what can and can’t be removed from your report, to determine whether this is the best option for you.

Credit Saint Review

BBB Rating: A

Monthly fee: $79.99 – $119.99

Credit Saint offers three credit repair packages: Credit Polish, Credit Remodel, and Clean Slate, which vary in aggressiveness.

Credit Polish package:

Allows you to dispute up to 5 inaccurate items per monthly cycle, including late payments, transactions related to identity thefts, account charge-offs, and debt collections.

Credit Remodel package:

You get everything included in the Credit Polish plan, in addition to 5 more disputes per month, escalated information requests, and disputes for additional items, such as bankruptcies and repossessions.

The Clean Slate package:

The most comprehensive credit repair package, featuring everything that’s offered in its two other plans, plus access to disputing judgments. In addition, you get unlimited disputes each month, which speeds up the credit restoration process.

When you subscribe to Credit Saint, the company assigns a specialized advisory team to monitor your case closely, schedule calls periodically to keep you informed, and answer any questions you may have. You can cancel the company’s services at any time, and there’s a 90-day money-back guarantee if you don’t see any changes in your credit history after three months.

Sky Blue Credit Review

BBB Rating: Not BBB Accredited

Monthly fee: $79 – $119

Sky Blue Credit has a simple pricing model that allows you to take advantage of all its credit repair services for a flat rate of $79 a month, or $119 a month for couples (both married or unmarried partners).

Sky Blue’s credit repair plans include:

  • An initial analysis of disputable items
  • Identifying and reviewing potential errors in your report
  • Dispute 15 negative items per each 35 days cycle
  • Access to debt negotiation consultants
  • Credit score assistance and other credit score rebuilding programs
  • A condition-free 90-day-guarantee

According to the company, each credit repair process takes approximately 6 months to complete and cancellation is allowed at any time without incurring any penalties.

The Credit Pros Review

BBB Rating: A

Monthly fee: $69 – $149

The Credit Pros offers some of the most affordable prices in the industry, with monthly services starting at just $69. The company has 3 different packages available for their clients: :

Money Management plan:

  • Includes access to updated credit reports every 60 days
  • Identity theft restoration insurance
  • Goodwill letters
  • Debt validation
  • Cease and desist letters to creditors
  • Access to the company’s legal network
  • Personalized action plans with certified FICO professionals

Prosperity Package and the Success Package:

  • Include the same features as the Money Management plan
  • Both packages include discounts on medication and products from affiliate websites, like National Credit Direct.

Each of these plans features other finance tools such as real-time account sync, bill reminder, and a budgeting system service. Although all of these selections offer some sort of complimentary credit monitoring solution, The Credit Pros took it a step further by offering several tools to track inaccurate information about your personal finances, from dark web monitoring to social security trace to pay-day monitoring.

Another thing worth noting is that the company’s free consultation is available in both English and Spanish — something not common in the credit repair industry.

Ovation Credit Repair Review

BBB Rating: A

Monthly fee: $79 – $109

Ovation Credit Repair was founded by attorneys and offers two levels of credit repair: the Essentials Plan and the Essentials Plus Plan. Both plans include:

  • A free consultation with a credit expert
  • Personalized credit dispute options
  • A case advisor that will oversee the process from start to finish

The two other plans (Essential, and Essential Plus) provide other aggressive tactics to fit the needs of their consumers such as:

Essential Plan:

  • Personalized dispute options
  • Personal case advisor
  • Financial Management Tools

Essential Plus Plan:

  • Unlimited Challenge Validation letters
  • Unlimited Creditor Goodwill letters
  • Official Ovation Recommendation Letter
  • Transunion Credit Monitoring

Aside from its many credit-related services, Ovation Credit Repair also stands out when it comes to discounts. These include a 20% couple’s discount, a credit of up to $50 on your next monthly payment for referring a friend or switching from another credit repair company, and discounts for seniors and members of the military.

Things You Should Know Before You Pay for a Credit Repair Company

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Credit repair takes time

It can take from three months to a year to see an improvement on your credit report.

 

 

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Not everything can be removed

Late or missed payments, charge-offs, and debt collections can only be removed if they can be verified as inaccurate.

 

 

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You have to do some of the legwork

You still have to provide credit repair agencies with information and evidence about your accounts.

 

 

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Most companies have setup fees

Most credit repair companies charge a first work fee. A first work fee is a one-time fee charged for opening the account, ranging from $15 to $200.

 

 

How Credit Repair Agencies Work

Each credit repair company has its own way of doing things, but most of them follow this four-step process:

1. Free Consultation

  • Walk you through the credit repair process
  • Pull up your credit report from all three bureaus
  • See if you’d be a good candidate for a credit repair

2. Power of Attorney and Consent
If they find inaccuracies, they will:

  • Send you a document that lists possible errors for you to evaluate.
  • Send you a written contract establishing a power of attorney or another form of consent
  • Send dispute letters or challenge these inaccuracies legally on your behalf

3. Challenge Items

After having your legal consent, the company then proceeds to challenge these items with both creditors and the credit bureaus, through letters and phone calls.

  • The 3 credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) have 30 days upon receiving the dispute to investigate it, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
  • If they’re able to verify that the challenged items are in fact errors, they’ll have to remove them from your credit profile.

4. Progress Report

  • The credit repair company keeps track of the different processes and sends updates on the status of each disputed item
  • After the dispute is resolved, the credit repair company will send you a progress report along with an updated copy of your credit report
  • You can then review the changes

Debt Settlement vs Credit Repair

Though both are in the personal finance sphere, it’s important to note that there’s a difference between settling your debt and using a credit repair service to fix your bad credit. While the former falls under credit counseling, aiming to advise on managing your money and debts, credit repair looks to challenge negative information on your report.

If you’re interested in using a credit counselor, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling offers free help.

Debt Settlement Credit Repair
Resolving your debt and making a deal to pay it off at a reduced amount Identifying and fixing mistakes on credit report
Negative impact on credit for up to 7 years Improves credit
Hurts chances of getting loans or credit cards Increases the possibility of being approved for loans and credit cards

Things to Pay Attention To When Hiring a Credit Repair Company

When signing the dotted line, pay close attention to the conditions that are being stipulated, to make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate company that won’t violate your rights or take advantage of you in the future.

  • Make sure your credit repair company includes a copy of the Consumer Credit File Rights .
  • You have the right to cancel any services without incurring any penalties, within three business days after signing the contract, in compliance with the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule.
  • Credit repair companies can’t charge you in advance for their services. These companies can only charge you for services they have actually fulfilled.

7 Warning Signs of a Credit Repair Scam

Credit repair companies are governed by the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. These laws make it illegal to make certain promises or misrepresentations and require specific disclosures when offering credit repair services.

If a credit repair service does any of the following, they might be taking advantage of you:

  1. Asks for upfront payment before doing any work for you. The CROA explicitly forbids companies to request or receive payment until they’ve completed the promised services.
  2. Avoids or refuses to explain your rights to you or asks you to waive those rights. Credit repair companies are required to give you a copy of the Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law and a copy of the contract to view before signing. Luckily, the CROA automatically voids any waiver of rights.
  3. Promises to remove ALL negative information from your credit report. While a credit repair company can remove incorrect information from your report, they can’t legally take off negative data if it’s accurate.
  4. Tells you to give false information or dispute accurate information. Some scammers advise clients to claim they’ve been the victim of identity theft to get negative items taken off — even if no such thing occurred. This is illegal and could land you in serious trouble.
  5. Tells you not to contact the three credit reporting bureaus. Everybody’s entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the credit reporting companies.
  6. Promises a new credit identity or asks you to create one. Some shady services give you a nine-digit identification number they call a CPN (credit profile or credit privacy number). Another tactic is asking you to apply for an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. Sometimes they’ll even illegally sell you a new Social Security Number, often stolen from children. They then ask you to apply for credit using these new numbers. This is illegal and a scam.
  7. The contract is missing key information, such as:
  • the fees charged
  • a breakdown of the services to be provided
  • the time period in which said services will be provided
  • the company’s name and business address
  • a section in the contract notifying your right to cancel it within three days of signing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is a credit repair agency?

A credit repair company is a for profit organization that analyses your credit report and disputes errors to collectors on your behalf.

2. Are credit repair companies a scam?

Credit repair companies are legal. The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) was established to provide protection to the consumer, making it illegal for credit repair companies to lie to you and charge you for services they have not provided. In addition, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was created to protect the consumer’s personal information and avoid identity theft or the wrongful use of personal information.

3. How to avoid credit repair scams?

A deceitful credit repair company will falsely promise to erase loans, bankruptcies, and other negative items from your report. On occasions, these companies promise to give the consumer a new credit identity, and ask for money upfront. This can lead you to commit illegal actions such as identity theft and fraud.

If a credit repair company makes any of these promises to you, it is most likely a scam.

4. Can you really pay someone to fix your credit?

You can pay a credit repair company to help you fix your credit. Credit repair companies cannot delete accurate information from your credit report but they can help you by disputing errors on your behalf.

5. How to verify a credit repair company?

To avoid credit repair scams it is important to research different companies, Federal Trade Commission recommendations, Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, and reviews left by other consumers.

The Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA) requires credit repair companies to provide a written contract explaining in detail the services they will provide, how long it will take to help you, guarantees, and the total cost for their services.

6. What does credit repair cost?

The cost of a credit repair company depends on the services you need. Some credit repair companies charge their clients a monthly fee while others charge based on the specific services they provide.

7. Is credit repair worth the cost?

Depends on the services you need and the time you have available to dispute the error on your credit report, a credit repair company is worth the cost. Credit repair agencies offer a variety of packages at different prices to fit the needs of their customers.

8. Do credit repair companies hurt your credit?

The purpose of credit repair companies is to fix your credit, not to hurt it. However, you need to be aware that credit repair companies can only dispute errors on your report and cannot erase accurate information.

9. Can I repair my own credit?

Yes, you can DIY your credit repair. However, you must have some basic knowledge in order to succeed. You can dispute errors on your credit report as part of the services offered by Experian. Using their website you can dispute, explain and send your dispute to the bureau’s system. If there was an error, the bureau will remove it by the next cycle.

10. What if I have an error on my credit report during the Coronavirus pandemic?

If you notice any errors on your credit report, or if you feel a late payment was reported unfairly, you must contact your lender to get an answer.

11. In what ways can I manage the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on my credit ?

The CARES Act signed into law on March 27 provides homeowners with protection against foreclosure and mortgage forbearance for borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the USDA, and the VA until December 31st, 2020. You can obtain an extension and a forbearance of 180 days.

Student loan debtors received additional relief by having loan payments suspended, collections and defaults put on hold, and interest rates set to zero until December 31st, 2020.

The three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) are offering access to a free credit report weekly through April 2021. Now is as good a time as any to check your reports for errors and, if there were any present, to use the services of a credit repair company to fix them.

How We Found The Best Credit Repair Companies of 2021

Once we concluded this phase, we selected those companies that stood out from the rest in each of the following categories:

  • Best credit repair financial tools
  • Best pricing for credit fixing services
  • Best credit repair service guarantee

Reputation and Customer Experience

The companies in our list have been around for over ten years and have a strong reputation across different consumer-review platforms, like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Google Reviews.

Courtesy of https://money.com/best-credit-repair-companies/

 

C

Nov. 25, 2020

5 Tips to Succeed with Your Home Office!

 

Running your own business from home can be both rewarding and stressful. To ease your stress, you need to ensure that you have the perfect environment to maximize your productivity. Follow these five easy tips from DiGioia Realty to ensure your home supports both your personal and professional life.

 

1. Be Realistic About Your Options

Are you considering a new property to better suit your work and your home life? Think realistically about the type of home you are able to afford, and give yourself a refresher on the process. Even if you anticipate an increase in income in the future, you still want to use your past income. Lenders care about what you can afford right now. Once you know what you can realistically afford, you can apply for a home loan and begin your real estate search.

 

To approve you for a home loan, an underwriter analyzes several criteria. He or she looks at your ability to repay the loan. For most lenders, if you have a debt-to-income ratio over 36%, they may not lend to you. Because your past payments towards your residence, credit cards and other debt affect your credit score, underwriters also use that calculation to determine whether you are trustworthy.

 

Once you are pre-approved, working with a real estate agent can help ensure you find the place you and your business need. Realtors may have more access to and knowledge of properties and are often used to assisting home business owners.

 

2. Design an Environment You Love

Studies show that the quality of your environment affects your personal well-being, explains the Guardian. Nature tends to reduce stress and pleasant scenery may increase your mood. Boosted moods are more conducive to productivity. When choosing a spot for work, consider the view, both outside and inside.

 

Custom windows are one way to improve the aesthetic of a home, enhance the lighting in your workspace, and brighten your mood. Choose between a variety of window design options to create the office that you envision. Well-chosen upgrades offer the bonus of improving home value; your real estate agent can help you with these decisions, too.

 

Also consider adding some artwork and greenery. Seeing imagery that you find soothing or energizing can be a boon to your productivity, and houseplants are linked with improved mental health.

 

3. Keep a Separate Office

When your office is in your home, it is not uncommon to feel like there are few personal versus professional boundaries. F&B Report points out a lack of boundaries can make it difficult to adhere to traditional professionalism, but you need to stay dedicated to your work.

 

Your office area should be separate from the rest of your home. Do not allow your family into your office, particularly during work hours. When you designate a time to work on your business, ask your family to respect it.

 

4. Focus on Business

Proper business choices extend beyond your real estate. Remember to focus your efforts on the business as well. If you have not already chosen a business formation, think about what would best suit your company. For instance, limited liability companies tend to have tax advantages and less paperwork than other formations. To form an LLC, you may want to use a formation service to avoid lawyer fees.

 

While deciding the specifics of your business, narrow down the type of business that you want. Don’t try to tackle too many projects at once. Solid business ideas may include opening an online store, catering business, travel planning company, or graphic design. What you do will influence your workspace in terms of space for storage or clients, production, and so forth.

 

5. Stay Organized

Choosing a custom home could solve organizational problems. A home business often requires a lot of storage space. While furniture may offer extra storage, built-in storage provides you with even more space. Keep your files organized, such as with color-coded file folders and printed labels, and invest in some cabinetry if needed. Remember that organization extends to your computer files as well.

 

When you have a home business, it can completely change what you need from a new home or your current home. When buying new real estate or making home upgrades, work with DiGioia Realty to ensure you have the best piece of real estate for your family and your business.

 

 
Posted in Community News
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates