Building Business Credit: What You Need to Know

Building Business CreditIf you are starting a business, you may need to find a way to finance your dream. Whether you are looking to secure a business loan, or are planning on opening a business credit card to use for purchases, you will need to sit down with a lender and fill out a credit application.

Just like your personal credit, lenders will determine whether or not to loan your business money, based on your business credit score. If you have a low score or a limited credit history, chances are banks will likely turn you down.

As an entrepreneur just starting out, you could be faced with a slight hurdle when it comes to your credit history, but it is not something that you can’t take control of and find a way to establish the business credit that you need and build the great score that will get you noticed by lenders.

Mind Your Personal Credit Rating

While all of the business experts advise not to mix your business dealing with your personal dealings, your personal credit rating is something that the banks will look at when they are deciding on the fate of your business credit application. When banks are looking at your personal credit rating, they want to see a credit score of at least the mid-600’s notes Ami Kassar, co-founder and chief executive of MultiFunding LLC.

A good rule of thumb is to look into what your personal credit score is before heading to the bank to complete a business loan application to make sure you are up to speed with where you stand. If you don’t know what your personal credit score is, you can find out through online companies like Credit Sesame and save yourself some time and money before heading to the bank to apply for a business loan.

Establish a Business Credit File

When you start your business, you want to establish your business credit file. When you first start the process of opening your business, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommends you apply for your unique D-U-N-S number in order to start your business credit file. Once you have an established file it is important that you keep up with the information that ends up in the file.

Be sure to add or modify any information that needs to be adjusted so those that may look at your business credit file in order to make a decision have complete and accurate information. With the increased threat of identity theft you want to make sure that you keep a careful eye on your credit report and monitor it regularly.

Pay Your Business Taxes

No one likes to pay taxes, but not paying your business taxes can seriously damage your business credit. If you fail to file and pay the taxes that are owed on your business, your business will be reported as not being in compliance. This information gets reported to the credit bureaus and your credit rating suffers as a result.

To make sure that you maintain good credit, it is important that you file your business tax returns and pay what you owe, when you owe it explains Nellie Akalp, writer The Next Web, Inc. If you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of trouble, or you’ve fallen behind on your business taxes, the best thing to do is talk to a tax professional and get things worked out as soon as you can.

Obtain Credit from Vendors

If you are able to start off doing business with vendors or suppliers that are able to report your business’s payment history to the credit bureaus, it’s a good first step to establishing your business credit. Make sure that you make on time payments so your good payment history can be reported to Dunn & Bradstreet, Experian, Small Business Financial Exchange, and Cortera.

If possible, register with these commercial credit bureaus so you can keep an eye on your business credit reports, notes Gerri Detweiler, personal financial adviser for Credit.com. These commercial credit bureaus are the ones that lenders will check before approving you for a business loan.

As a small business owner, you are in a Catch 22. You need to be able to obtain financing in order to get your business off the ground, however without an established business credit history, banks are reluctant to approve your application for financing. The only way that you are going to be able to get the loan that you need is if you buckle down and work at building your business credit history, which can be a somewhat slow process.

In the beginning phases of your business, you will have to rely on your personal credit rating to obtain the financing that you need, but as your company grows, and your credit history becomes longer you’ll be able to use your business credit rating to help you secure funding for future business growth.

Considerations To Make When Choosing A VA Home Loan Lender

When you’re considering buying a home with a VA loan or refinancing an existing mortgage, you need an approved VA lender familiar with the process. There are steps to filing the application, and approval process, and a funding and closing, just as in obtaining any other home loan.

However, there are certain procedures specific to VA home loan guidelines. For example, these loans require you to have residual funds depending upon household location and size, whereas FHA loans carry no such requirements. Also, VA loans include a funding fee that varies based upon different factors.

Unfortunately, if you work with a lender not 100% familiar with the intricate details involved in the process, you risk your loan being delayed or even rejected. Here are some considerations that will help you in choosing the right VA approved lender:

Experience

A great lender has years of experience in managing client processing and approving VA loans. An experienced lender is familiar with the intricacies of the VA program and will easily shepherd your loan application through the approval process.

Approved VA lenders have the authority to not accept your application but also complete the entire process without intervention. It’s also noticeable that a lender with years of experience is approved by multiple authorities i.e. a lender is approved by the FHA in addition to the VA.

Best interest in a VA loan

Many mortgage companies are represented by individuals who will try to sell you a loan product regardless of whether it’s in your best interest or otherwise. Such lenders are only interested in the numbers game; in other words, they are concerned with their bottom line, not which loan program is right for your new home purchase. Working with a VA authorized/approved lender ensures your application is in the hands of someone with established reputation within the veteran community.

And according to Lowvarates.com, the face of the housing and mortgage markets has changed in the last few years, and many inexperienced lenders, brokers and banks have jumped on the VA home lending bandwagon. Therefore, you need experts that didn’t start doing VA loans out of necessity for best chances of getting your application approved.

All components under one roof

Ideally, you should search for a lender with the team to handle all aspects of a VA loan under one roof. It’s because VA loans require several steps to acquire, so it is best to obtain services of a lender with underwriting, a processing department and a closing department. Having all these departments together expedites the application process and helps you to meet your closing day without any inconveniences.

Also, be careful of lenders your realtor refers. It may be convenient, but could end up costing you a bundle, since the associated fees may now be applied by the VA. Moreover, these lenders may not have the experience to manage your VA loan transactions.

Easy to reach

You can find a lot about lenders by simply calling to ask about the VA loan program. If a loan company or officer gives you a hard sell or is difficult to reach, you may want to avoid that lender.

See if they can explain in simple language what each option means, and how’s it going to affect you not just today but for long term. You’ll also need to ask how long the process will take, how often you’ll communicate and the preferred method of communication.

 

5 Tips on Protecting Your Home from Burglary

It’s a sad fact that burglaries can happen to anyone. Regardless of factors like our cities and neighborhoods, whether urban or rural, break-ins are a common concern among homeowners of all types. Indeed, in the United States, burglaries occur nearly every 15 seconds!

While some areas have higher rates of property crime than others, safety is should be a top priority, no matter your location. Thankfully, there are measures we can take in protecting our homes, our families and our belongings.

Keep reading for five tips on making your home and property less vulnerable to burglaries. You’ll be glad you did!

1. Investing in a Security System

I happen to live in Indianapolis. And though it may not be a major city, it is not one without its share of property crime. In fact, in 2010, of over 46,000 property crimes reported city-wide, nearly one-third were burglaries. While that statistic, alone, is enough to frighten anyone, a home security system can provide a significant amount of protection and peace of mind.

ADT security systems, for example, provide features like siren sounders in the event of a break-in or fire, motion sensor alarms, wireless sensors for doors and windows, and an easy-to-operate digital touchpad. When it’s all said and done, the very best way to deter burglars is through protecting your home with a top-of-the-line security system.

2. Securing Belongings

By securing your belongings, you can discourage burglars and petty thieves, so be sure to keep your outdoor space free of valuable items. For example, scooters, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. should be locked away in a garage, or at least kept hidden from sight.  Also, if you happen to buy electronics, tools or other costly items, be sure to tear up the box and place it in a trash bag, as opposed to just setting it out by the curb.

When it comes to outdoor space, keeping your yard well-lit can discourage burglars, as can properly maintaining greenery; since dark places and unruly shrubbery can serve as a hiding place for burglars, be sure to keep things bright and neat.

3. Thinking Like a Burglar

In order to properly secure your home, try thinking like a burglar. Take a stroll down your block and pay special attention to your property. Are there valuable items in sight? Is the interior of your house visible from the street? If so, can you spot electronics, works of art or other items that may pique a burglar’s interest? Would curtains or blinds help in concealing your belongings?

Further, can you identify any weak spots in your home’s security? Are there open gates or windows? A garage door that’s always open? Make a note of these and other factors, then get busy solving the problems you encounter.

4. Giving Burglars the Fake-Out

Although home burglaries can occur when the occupants are home, most take place when homeowners are away. Therefore, creating the illusion of being home, even when you’re away, can deter burglars and prevent break-ins.

Do this by investing in timers for your indoor and outdoor lights, as well as by leaving televisions and stereos on when you’re gone. If you plan on being away from home for more than a day or two, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers and other deliveries.

5. Form a Neighborhood Watch Group

Several sets of eyes are always better than one. And when it comes to preventing burglaries and other crimes, a neighborhood watch group can enhance safety for your family and neighbors, alike. If your neighborhood already has a watch program, sign up and help out; if not, talk to your neighbors and brainstorm ideas on keeping your neighborhood safe.

Since areas with watch programs report far fewer crimes than those without, forming a group can be an effective tool in preventing crime in your neighborhood.

Considering a First-Time Remodel? Top Newbie Mistakes to Avoid

How to Choose Exterior Paint ColorsNot really feeling the love about a particular part of your home? Want to freshen up the look a bit? Is the area looking a little outdated, or perhaps a tad dilapidated? Whatever your motivation for undergoing a remodel, it requires a lot of information-gathering and forethought.

While you may be ready to hit the ground running, impatience will cost you big time in the long-run. It may not be possible to anticipate every problem, or ensure a process free of stress and problems, but a little bit of education can go a long way, and one of the best things to read up on is the most common mistakes people make when remodeling, in hopes you can avoid making these same errors. Here are just a few to really keep in mind once you decide to move forward.

Being Unrealistic about What You Can Handle Yourself

Some people are going with the professionals all the way—they know nothing about this stuff, and don’t care to. But, then there are the people who may have a bit of handiness in their blood, or feel they can easily teach themselves how to do certain things. This can be a great way to save some money, but in trying to save as much as possible, they take on projects way beyond their ability.

Mistakes are made, the wrong materials are purchased, and in your efforts to shave a few bucks off the cost of the remodel, you now just spent more than you really needed to. For those of you considering doing some of the work yourself to cut costs, if you have any doubts whether you can do the job properly, do the smart thing and bring in the professionals. If you go into the remodel with an obsessive zeal to do it as cheaply as possible, you are getting things off on the very wrong foot. Seek the services of a professional home remodeling company like DM Building to get things right the first time.

Not Realizing the Full Impact of the Remodel

Remodeling is stressful for a million different reasons, namely the disruption it causes in your daily life. One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is failing to consider the full impact the project will have on their routines. Poor planning will make this stressful experience ten times more so. Make sure you have a good talk with the contractor about every little thing that will be happening during the project so you and your family can plan accordingly.

Not Doing Enough Homework on Contractors

Nightmare stories abound about contractors—shoddy materials, substandard work, unprofessional behavior, going ridiculously over-budget, and sometimes, leaving the job unfinished never to return. You are excited to get started, you interview someone and everything seems fine; they are available to start right away, so the job is theirs. This is not the way to do it.

Check they have proper licensing; investigate whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Get references, and actually follow up on them, and make sure the jobs were similar in nature to yours. And don’t just talk to past clients. Talk to the suppliers and subcontractors who work with the company on a regular basis. Their experiences with the contractor can offer a goldmine of useful information on which to base your decision. Hiring a contractor is not to be taken lightly.

Making Important Decisions at the Very Last Minute

Chances are, you are not so wealthy you can afford to do a remodel every few years, so it is important to get things as close to perfect right now. You will be living with these results for many years to come; while you may not be able to help questioning any decisions made, no matter how carefully thought-out and no matter how much you love the remodel, you don’t want to end up in a position where you are really regretting your choices because you made them in a rush.

 

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