What exactly is a Credit Score and how is it calculated?

What is a FICO Score? The Fair Isaac Corporation first introduced the FICO score in 1989.  It is a measure of consumer credit risk and has become a fixture of consumer lending in the US.  Three major credit bureaus issue individual FICO scores: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.   FICO Scores from each of these bureaus are created by information that has been reported to them and may differ from bureau to bureau.  The information reported to each bureau stems from debts, payments, credit card accounts, and overall financial history.  This collected information is what will then help estimate the level of future risk there may be if a lender extends to you the offer of a loan or any type of credit.

How is a FICO Score Calculated?

  • Payment History- 35% - Missed/late payments will drastically lower your score.  FICO scores do favor recent activity, however, so in order to improve your score you must continue to make on-time payments.


  • Credit Utilization- 30% - How much you owe versus how much credit that is available to you has the second largest impact on your FICO score.  Maxed out credit cards indicate that an individual poses a higher risk of default on a loan.


  • Length of Credit History- 15% - Credit accounts owned over a longer period of time will strengthen your FICO score.


  • Mix of Accounts- 10% - Higher FICO scores are generated if you have a mix of different types of credit accounts.  These accounts can consist of mortgages, credit cards, installment loans, auto loans, etc.


  • New Credit Inquiries- 10% - Continuously applying for extension of credit over a short period of time will have a negative impact on your FICO score. 

Overall Analysis!!!

FICO scores range from 300 to 850.  Simply put, the lower the score, the higher the risk.  Your credit score will be used to determine the approval or denial of any extension of credit.  In addition, your FICO score will determine the interest rate that will be given to you.  Higher credit scores will result in lower interest rates, and vice versa. 


Home Builders and Small Businesses Show Optimism for Growth

Recently, the National Association of Home Builders released their Housing Market Index (HMI).  This index is created from a survey where builders are asked questions about the current state of the economy and the housing market. Weighted in the housing market portion of the survey are questions about present and future home sales and forecasted prospective buyers of new homes.

The HMI that was recently reported for the month of August is now at a level of 67.  This level is still strong and shows that builders are still optimistic with current market conditions.  Increasing construction costs and fear of tariffs brought their “confidence” down by 1 point from their September index.  Anything over 50 is seen as expansionary and optimistic.

Another economic survey called the Small Business Optimism index measures components of small businesses such as plans to add employees, plans to increase expenses, expectation of increased sales, current inventory levels, propensity to increase inventories, expectation of the economy to expand, current credit conditions and more.

This current release was at 107.9 which is the second highest number in 45 years!  Expectations in new job creations, an improving economy, increasing of company spending and plans to increase inventories pushed this index higher thus showing strong optimism.

These reports point to an overall healthy environment for homeowners.  Very high levels of demand and optimism for new homes and very optimistic and successful businesses are a good sign of a strong and healthy housing market and point to further home appreciation.




August Federal Reserve Meeting Recap: Interest Rates Left Unchanged

The U.S. Federal Reserve met on August 1st, and the main take away from the meeting was that the benchmark interest rate will remain unchanged.  However, the Fed did reaffirm the notion that they do expect to raise interest rates two more times this year, with the first increase occurring in September.  Strengthening that notion, according to a Bloomberg study, traders believe there is a 92% probability that the Fed will raise the Fed funds rate to a range of 2% to 2.25% in September, and a 71% chance of an additional hike in December.  Currently the Fed funds rate sits at a range of 1.75% to 2%. 

Why raise rates?  Raising rates is primarily an indication that the economy is growing at a strong enough pace to support it.  In fact, the economy grew at a pace of 4.1% in the 2nd quarter, its best showing in nearly four years.  Fed Chairman Jerome Powell furthered that notion, going on to say the economy is in a “really good place” and pledged to continue with gradual increases in borrowing costs in order to maintain the second-longest U.S. economic expansion on record.  Increased participation in the labor market and record-low unemployment are two of the key driving indicators in determining a strong economy.  In addition, the Fed announced that there has been strong growth in household spending and business fixed investment. 

Takeaway: Although higher rates will make it a little more costly to borrow funds, sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.  A healthy and strong economy as a whole will ultimately have a much more positive impact on our overall lives.


National Night Out 2018

Aug 7
Category | General News


National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign and event that brings together local police departments with communities and helps enhance partnerships and neighborhood comrarderie. National Night Out enhances the relationship between community and law enforcement by bringing back a true sense of community and togetherness.

Tens of thousands of communities take part in National Night Out  from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August (Texas celebrates on the first Tuesday in October). Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, and exhibits.



Late 1970’s: Volunteer Work.

Matt Peskin, founder and executive director of National Association of Town Watch introduced the National Night Out program in 1984, which began in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During his tenure of volunteer work in the township, he often patrolled his neighborhood, assisted in patrol dispatch and shortly thereafter introduced the program’s newsletter.

The newsletter became a representation of the success that took place within the organization and the volunteer work put forth by over one thousand neighbors. Opportunity to publish new and creative content became more and more difficult as each month passed. Peskin began to reach out to surrounding townships and communities for assistance.

Early 1981: The Association.

National Association of Town Watch was founded only a few years later to provide community watch groups the necessary resources and assets to stay informed, interested, involved, and motivated within the community. Neighbors and local law enforcement across the nation supported the association as it steadily grew for the next three years. However, Peskin knew something more was needed.

August 1984: The Campaign.

NATW introduced National Night Out in August of 1984 through an already established network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and volunteers across the nation. The first annual National Night Out involved 2.5 million individuals across 400 communities in 23 states. However, the event grew to what it has become now to be more of a celebration of community and positive cooperation.

Today, 38 million neighbors in 16 thousand communities across the nation take part in National Night Out.



… preventing and solving crime is a community effort. National Night Out is an excellent program that helps the department build relationships with neighbors and create safer neighborhoods. This is one of the events we look forward to each year.

Chief George Turner - Atlanta Police Department

… the best way to build a safer community is to know your neighbors and your surroundings. National Night Out triumphs over a culture that isolates us from each other and allows us to rediscover our own communities.

Kay Bailey Hutchison - Senator


Please visit for more information and be sure to check out your local events by clicking here or for NY residents, here.


30 Second Update for the week of 8/6

There has been an abundance of economic reports that we should all be aware of that can help us understand the current state of the housing market and economy.  Here’s a bit of inside info to you put your finger on the pulse of the market.

Pending Home Sales is an index created by the National Association of Realtors that shows the amount of existing homes that have pending sales or that have a signed contract, but haven’t closed yet.

Pending Home Sales for the month of June increased by almost 1%. This is a strong number and was a rebound from May’s negative report. When digging deeper, the report also showed that every analyzed region across the US had positive gains as well.  Pending Home Sales are on the rise, however they are still lower than analysts would like due to the lack of inventory.



The S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index (HPI) tracks the month-to-month change in residential real estate home prices across the US.  For the most recent release, which is for the month of May, the HPI increased slightly by 0.2%. For the year, the HPI is up 6.5%.  Even though this number came in slightly lower than projections, a 6.5% rate of appreciation is still very strong!



The ADP Employment Report is a monthly report that shows new jobs created solely in the private sector.  In July’s report, there were 219,000 new jobs created, which is much stronger than last month’s report of 181,000.  More jobs usually point to a stronger economy and more homes that will be purchased.  A strong jobs report can equate to a heathy housing market and continued home appreciation due to the further increase in demand for more homes.



Welcoming the month of August:

  • Did you know that the astrological signs for August are Leo and Virgo?
  • August 3rd is national watermelon day!
  • The second week of August is national smile week!

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