Change Around the Corner for Credit Scoring

March 24, 2014
New credit-scoring model

FICO will launch a new scoring model in the summer, targeting lenders’ concerns about credit score consistency across three major credit bureaus. (Alistair Berg, Getty Images / March 18, 2014)

How did the recession affect your spending habits? Soon, for better or worse, you might see your financial behavior reflected in your FICO score.

FICO, the data company that devised the credit-scoring formulas most often used by mortgage and auto lenders, credit card companies, etc., plans to release a new scoring model this summer that it promises will analyze credit risk more correctly.

FICO said the new model, the first major change in six years, is intended to address lenders’ concerns about credit score consistency across the three major credit bureaus.

A FICO spokesman told National Mortgage News that the new formula, called FICO Score9, will analyze post-recession data in terms of how a consumer’s spending and credit habits may have changed, compared with six years ago. Consumers whose scores were good pre-recession will score slightly better in the new version, he told the trade journal.

Um, about that guy next door. If you’re considering buying a certain house, you probably already know what’s good about it. Perhaps more important, you ought to give some thought to warts that aren’t readily apparent.

RealtyTrac, which lists foreclosures and distressed properties for sale, recently added data on neighborhoods with potential environmental hazards, such as hazardous waste sites and underground spills.

It also lists known former drug labs and registered sex offenders who live within 2 miles.

Can you say “mi casa”? We’re not sure whether any environmental hazards are lurking nearby, but the price is right for a village in Spain — it’s free.

Local officials say they’ll give away A Barca, with its 12 deteriorated, abandoned stone houses in the northwestern region of Galicia, near the Portugal border, to the applicant who presents the right redevelopment proposal.

The houses, many of which date to the 15th century, have been abandoned since the 1960s, when a nearby dam flooded area farmland, according to the news agency Agence France Presse.

The Spanish government estimates that there are about 2,900 empty villages in the country, and that many forgotten burgs have been bought in recent years by Europeans and Americans who are restoring them, according to the report.

Just sign here. An Australian real estate conference in June has chosen a controversial headliner: convicted “Wolf of Wall Street” con man Jordan Belfort. And some real estate agents are vocally unhappy about it.

Belfort, the former stockbroker who spent about two years in prison for fraud and was portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio in the Oscar-nominated film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” has been booked to make a presentation on sales and negotiating techniques to agents by conference organizer Total Real Estate Training.

Several agents told the Herald Sun newspaper in Australia that they objected to Belfort’s appearance. One accused the organizers of brazenly promoting a fraudster whose actions had devastated many lives. A spokesman for the organizers said, to the contrary, response to Belfort’s booking had been positive.

Please return my call. In hiring a real estate agent, consumers are looking for professional experience and responsiveness, more than an aggressive negotiator or someone who’s local. That’s according to a nationwide poll by a website that aims to connect agents with homebuyers. said first-time buyers and move-up buyers seem to have similar expectations. Consumers in the survey were given five choices of preferred qualities in a real estate agent and asked to pick the most important one. “Responsiveness” was chosen by 34 percent; “highly experienced,” 29 percent; “flexible hours,” 20 percent; “local resident,” 12 percent; and “aggressive negotiator,” 5 percent.

Watch those feet. A company that makes many lockboxes used by the real estate industry has analyzed the comings and goings of potential buyers in February and said foot traffic is up, so purchases, in turn, will be up. But maybe you should curb your enthusiasm. The number of lookers/foot traffic bounced back in February after two months of decline, said the National Association of Realtors, adding that the improvement suggests that the year-over-year decline in home sales should stabilize in the months ahead, though at a level far lower than in spring 2013.

This post originally appeared on on March 23, 2014.

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