You may have noticed that once you apply for a mortgage, you are almost instantly flooded with emails, calls and letters of pre-approval from competing mortgage companies, even though you’ve never contacted them.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your mortgage company is selling or sharing your information. What’s happening is a function of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This law permits consumer credit reporting companies like Experian, Equifax and Transunion to add your name to lists of companies that provide mortgages, credit or insurance. This process is triggered automatically upon the initial credit check for your mortgage.
The onslaught of calls and mail can be prevented, especially when you’re already working with a mortgage professional you trust. The companies soliciting you may very well be legitimate enterprises, but it’s always a risk when you are unsure about their business practices, service and attention.
To opt out by phone, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit OptOutPrescreen.com.
When you opt out online or by phone, your name will be removed from lists for five years. If you would like to permanently opt out, you’ll need to fill out a form downloaded from the OptOut site and mail it in.
Note: Your credit score will not be affected by these companies and they do not have permission to run additional credit checks. All they can do is send you firm offers of pre-screening or pre-approval.
For more information, download this pdf from the Federal Reserve.

October’s Home Improver

Do I Need a Backup Generator?

No matter where you live in the United States, there is always the possibility of a weather-related incident that could leave you without power for days or even weeks.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and blizzards are all capable of leaving you without electricity. A backup generator can keep you safe and comfortable until power is restored. It also keeps your refrigerator cool so you don’t have to throw out all your food that would otherwise spoil.
There are two common types of generators: the standby and the portable. The standby generator is also called a “whole house” generator. It is installed permanently outside your home and it runs on either propane or natural gas. The minute you lose power, the generator kicks in and power is restored almost immediately. This type of generator is recommended for homes that are prone to hurricanes and flooding.
The portable generator is usually powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, though natural gas and propane portables may also be available. These are ideal for rare power outages lasting only a short time. Although they are significantly smaller and cheaper than standby generators, they should be used with caution. Because of the carbon monoxide discharge, there is a major risk of poisoning if the generator is run indoors or in crawlspaces, garages or any enclosed fixture. Be sure to run it outdoors only.