More Than Finances

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Long-Term Mortgage Rates Hit a Seven-Year High

It Will Cost You More to Buy a Home

Long term mortgage interest rates reach seven-year high
The housing market topped a new threshold over the past week. Buoyed by a strong economy and a series of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve, thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates reached 4.61 percent – the highest number since May of 2011.

Rates crossed the 4 percent threshold in the week of January 11 and they have been on a relatively steady rise since then. If this pace continues, we may hit 5 percent before the year is out.

Should rising interest rates deter you from buying a home? Not necessarily, but it may cause you to re-think your definition of an affordable home.
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5 Surefire Ways To Keep People Away From Your Dealership

No, this is not an article about how to attract the consumer to your dealership. The reason for that is because often dealerships focus so much time on figuring out how to get people in, they fail to see what they do that could be driving potential car buyers away. If you want to keep traffic coming and not be pushing it out the door, these are five surefire ways to keep people away from your car dealership in Surrey, to watch out for and eliminate immediately.

A poorly-thought-out website

What many dealerships don’t understand is that the first impression that they usually make with the consumer is not by greeting them at the door, but through their website. If your website is riddled with inconsistencies, vagueness, or is difficult to navigate, that gives the consumer the impression that your inner operations are probably the same. A website is an extension of your business and something that you should devote much thought and planning to in order to make an excellent first impression, because you probably won’t get another one.

Nonsensical or grammatically incorrect website content

When planning your website, you want to ensure that you have a professional write the content for you. Let’s face it: any decent salesperson can talk a good talk – but putting words to paper is completely different. Yes, people will – and do – judge you by the writing on your website. Things like poorly-written content, spelling mistakes, or even incorrect usage of grammar, are all ways to turn consumers off and have them looking for another dealer to purchase their car. After all, if you can’t put words on paper correctly, how can you make an important transaction like selling a car?

Poor first impressions through communication

Most dealerships make the mistake of hiring a receptionist at a very low cost. After all, all they do is answer the phone, right? The error in that type of thinking is that the receptionist is the first impression that your dealership actually creates with the consumer. If you have someone answering the phone who has poor manners, who you can’t understand at all, or who simply can’t answer the smallest question, then it is not going to lead to someone coming into your dealership. Customers aren’t very patient people. With so much competition in the dealership world, you want to put a good face on your organization, and that likely starts with who you hire to answer the phones – so choose wisely.

Poor communication with consumers

Once you get the customer in the door and you establish a rapport, if you weren’t able to get them the car they wanted and want to contact them in the future, then it is imperative that you have emails that represent you in a professional way. Email is just another way that you present your company and should be taken just as seriously as how you talk to the consumer, how you handle their phone calls, and how your salespeople present themselves when clients walk in the door. It is very important to use proper grammar, correct spelling, and to communicate effectively in your emails. Don’t think that just because it is a casual email, you can be casual. It is a business communication like any other. Make sure that your salespeople understand the critical nature of sending even a simple message.

Being overrun with one particular vehicle

In some regions trucks are more difficult to sell, which can lead to you having too many in your inventory lot. If you make it feel as though finding what the consumer wants is like looking for a needle in a haystack, good luck thinking they want to waste their time. It is important to know who your niche market is and to have enough inventory on hand to suit all types of needs – instead of having a used car lot that is filled with inventory that doesn’t move. The reason it doesn’t sell? No one wants it.

Often dealerships spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out ways to get people through their doors instead of examining what is keeping the consumer out. If you want to keep a steady flow in, then make sure to eliminate all these things that can drive people away – no pun intended.

 

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7 Ways to Increase Your Chances for Approval for a Business Loan

So, you have that great business idea and want to start a new business. Maybe you want to expand your existing business or maybe you want to purchase some new expensive equipment. Whatever the goal is, you know that you need money to be able to accomplish that goal. A business loan can be a great way to secure those funds. The catch is that it can be challenging to get approved for that loan, but in time, it is possible. We are going to give you some tips to get you closer to getting approved for that business loan. Here are 7 ways to make it easier for you.

Build your personal credit and your business credit

Banks will largely judge you based off of your personal credit. Your FICO score can range from 300 to 850 and the higher the score, the better. A bank is not really going to separate your personal credit from your business credit because your personal credit is also seen as a determining factor in your financial responsibility.

Apply at the right bank

Some banks will make it more difficult than others for you to attain your small business loan. You may want to try going to a small local bank. You also want to research different banks and see if they favor giving loans to small businesses. There are some banks that like to give small business loans because of the benefit they provide to the community and the positive image boost it gives the bank. Try to make it as easy on yourself as possible.

Decrease your debt

Having a lower amount of debt can make it easier for you as well. It makes it easier for you to get out of a hole if you have bad credit. You will have less to pay off. One way to have less debt is by renting vehicles instead of buying them. That way, you can just pay for a vehicle when you need it, instead of incurring more debt and having all of those pesky recurring costs.

Create a solid business plan

Banks will want to see a solid business plan before they hand you any money. They will want to know exactly why you want the loan and what you plan to do with it. The bank is investing in you and they expect a return on their investment. You will need a marketing strategy, a unique selling point, describe your product or service and you will need an operations plan.

Be ready to provide collateral

The bank may expect you to provide collateral to make sure that they get their money back, no matter what happens. Your collateral can be equipment, inventory or real estate that can be taken or sold by the lender in the case that your business fails or does not generate enough income to keep up with your payments.

Be able to explain your cash flow

If you have an existing business and there was anything out of the ordinary that happened that caused your revenue to decrease, be ready to explain it to the bank. If you do not explain it, the bank may question your capability of running a successful business. If there is anything coming up or any changes that you think will negate those expenses or increase your revenue, be sure to explain that as well.

Bring all of your documents

Be prepared to bring all of your documents to the bank. There is a high chance that the bank will want to see them. They are not going to take your word for everything. The bank will want to see the paperwork. These documents can take a long time to put together and can take some time for the bank to sort through. If you are a strong enough candidate, you may want to consider getting a loan online as well.

 

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Drowning in Debt? 4 Strategies You Haven’t Thought Of

In the past several years, American household debt has risen to nearly $13 trillion, with those households carrying an average debt of approximately $140,000. Struggling beneath that much debt can often feel like drowning. It can be difficult to climb your way out from under such a burden, but you should not despair. It is possible to manage your debt responsibly without allowing it to overwhelm you. These great debt-management solutions can help you to get your finances in order.

Make a Budget

Image via Flickr by frankieleon

It may seem obvious, but making a budget that you can stick to is necessary to get yourself out of debt. If you don’t have a budget, debt tends to grow and get out of hand. Dave Ramsey’s envelope system has worked to help many thousands of people develop and stick to a budget. The concept is simple — by dividing your budget into envelopes, and only spending money you actually have, you are able to set aside more funds to pay down your debt and stop it from growing.

Set Up Payment Plans

If you have large debts like medical bills hanging over your head, it can often feel unmanageable. Creditors and collectors may be calling, which makes you feel stressed out and overwhelmed. But, instead of ignoring or avoiding these phone calls, you should work with your creditors to negotiate an installment payment plan that you can afford to get them off your back as you make progress toward paying off your debts more quickly.

Settle Your Debts

Sometimes, it may be possible to settle your debts quickly. If you owe a tax debt to the IRS, for instance, there are a number of options available to you as a taxpayer, including penalty relief and debt settlement. The IRS debt settlement process is not easy to navigate, but it can be helpful to those with a significant tax liability. If you are having financial difficulties that prevent you from paying off your tax debt, contact a tax professional or tax attorney to discuss your options for debt settlement with the government.

Refinance Student Loans

For many Americans, student loan debt proves to be their biggest debt burden. If this describes your situation, you might consider refinancing your student loan debt for a smaller payment, or consolidating your loans into one loan with a lower interest rate so that you can pay off your debt more quickly. If you are having financial difficulty, the government also has income-based repayment options to lower your payments and make them more manageable. Check with your student loan lender to find out what options are available to you.

Debt causes undue stress and financial hardship. While it is better to avoid excess debt, if you do find yourself in a situation in which your debt is getting out of control, try to stay calm and don’t despair. There are a number of programs and plans available to help you climb your way back out of that financial hole.

 

 

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Card Balances Drop While Consumer Credit Growth Slows

Card Balances Drop While Consumer Credit Growth Slows

A new government report provides both good news and bad news about America’s massive consumer debt load.

The bad news: America’s total consumer debt continues to rise.

According to May’s G.19 Consumer Credit Report from the Federal Reserve, combined (revolving and nonrevolving) outstanding debt rose by $11.7 billion in March to reach $3.875 trillion – continuing a string of monthly debt increases that goes back to January 2016.

The March increase equates to a 3.6 percent annualized debt growth.
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