Now today it’s a little bit serious, but important nonetheless. I am aware, all too aware, that this blog is about turning your house into a home. Finding the finishing touches. Styling yes, but shopping mostly. And I’m aware that we can’t all afford to do that all the time or as much as we would all like.
I was recently approached by Experian, who offer free credit scores and comparisons for credit products such as loans and credit cards (they also have a paid for service called Credit Expert so you can see in your report exactly what the potential lenders see when they’re looking at your application). They asked me to tell you about them and how it can be important to have this information – to know your data self as it were – if you are a home owner, or a renter, or anyone who has interior dreams.
So yes I know it’s a serious topic and, like many of you I hate talking about money, but we all gotta have it and sometimes what we’ve got isn’t enough for what we want, and so we need to get some more. Which means loans and credit and I’ve had those over the years too.
And, it’s true to say, that Experian has been pretty useful for us that in respect over the years. We have bought four houses and sold three. We have bought wrecks and done them up and converted lofts and added extensions. We bought the house that was subsiding and everyone told us not to. We bought the house from the divorcing couple – which everyone also told us not to as it would be bad karma. Actually it wasn’t and I like to think we healed that house. All of this has involved an ear-bleedingly large mortgage. Some of it has involved further loans. Not to change the subject, but we could only afford to get married because we stuck the whole thing on a credit card (it was a cheap wedding. Lovely but cheap!).
As I say Experian has been useful to us. Well I say “us”. I’m actually completely terrified of my accountant, never mind the bank manager and the thought of even filling out the mortgage form gives me sleepless nights. Fortunately The Mad Husband doesn’t have this problem. He has been using Experian for years – ever since that first mortgage. And when his account was cloned a few years ago and his rating dropped through no fault of his own he worked hard to sort out his/our finances and get his credit score back on track. I was mostly hiding under the bed hoping the mortgage lender wouldn’t turn us down because it was Tuesday.
This is not a sexist or stereotyping post by the way. I know plenty of men who run screaming from the bank manager while their partners take everything in hand. It’s just that in his house he does that side of things. It used to be regarded as something I was just rubbish at. I have taken refuge behind the 21st century label of being a “creative” and therefore understandably it’s not in my domain.
But that said, having the knowledge does make it all less scary. And it does mean you can realise your pipe dreams. Because knowledge is power. And if you know your credit rating you know what you can afford to borrow. And if you know what you can afford to borrow you know how big your dreams can be. Or perhaps I should say – because one should always dream big – how realistic, or realisable – your dreams are.
I am currently dreaming of replacing the bifold doors at the back of the house with crittall. Although probably not even a 999 rating with Experian is going to get me that. But it might get me some wooden ones painted black. Which is probably more in keeping with the house anyway.
The Mad Husband is dreaming of an office at the bottom of the garden. The 14yo, who doesn’t have a credit card and – judging by the way he rinses through his allowance, is unlikely to be given one any time soon, or ever – is dreaming of a workshop at the bottom of the garden. The 17yo is simply dreaming of passing his A Levels, which may in turn lead to the sort of job where all sorts of other dreams are possible.
So if you are more sensible than me check your rating. Know where you stand and tell us in the comments what your pipe dreams are. It may be than yours are better than mine and I may have to swap mine for yours
This is, of course, a sponsored post. That said, I think it’s an important subject. As well as pipe dreams it could have been called Be Less Ostrich and take your head out of the sand. Experian wants people to understand how financial data can transform their lives for the better and how it can help you prepare for the next step in your life by supporting your financial management. Whether it’s building an extension, buying a car, helping your children to go university or getting your dream home. Experian will help you get closer to fulfilling your pipe ream by introducing you to your DataSelf. That is another version of you, made up of the financial data that exists in your credit report- phone contracts, mortgage, loands and credit card transactions. By checking your credit score and managing your credit report you’ll be better placed when it comes to applying for all those things. The information in your credit report is what potential lenders will see about you. You can check your credit rating on the Experian website.