It has become a long-running joke that the things we are taught in school have little consequence on our actual adult lives; why are we taught quadratic equations when we’ll never come across one again? And why are we not taught about mortgages? Adult life can be difficult, and some of the seemingly arcane processes that stipple it don’t make things any easier. Here are three such things, which no one deigned to teach us about at a young age.
What a Credit Rating Is
Certain things about adult life can seem interminable when you come across them for the first time, and credit ratings are up there with the most confusing of them all. What is a credit rating, how is it decided and what does it mean? The answer, thankfully, is simple enough – though often misunderstood even by seasoned adults. A credit rating is a numerical value used to describe a particular person’s reliability with credit, such as loans and credit cards. The lower the score, the less reliable, and the less likely that person will be approved for a line of credit, or even a mortgage.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no central organisation that designates credit ratings to people. Instead, there are three key credit reference agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax – , private companies which perform background checks for banks and private lenders. They each have their own, well-guarded methods for working out your credit score, but generally speaking your credit score will be low if you have no credit history whatsoever, or a history of re-paying debts late. You can improve your credit rating by exercising financial literacy with lines of credit, demonstrating you can make regular payments on time.
How to Get a Mortgage
One of the things your credit rating will affect is your ability to get a mortgage – another ill-explained adult process of relatively great importance to day-to-day life. A mortgage is, at its most basic, a large loan used to pay for the purchase of a house. The loan is secured against the value of that house, and includes a monthly repayment plan spanning up to 25 years.
Mortgages are usually offered by your bank, and require a vetting process – including a review of your credit history and your ability to pay a certain percentage of the house’s value as a deposit. Applying for a mortgage is as simple as speaking to an advisor at your bank or building society of choice, and following the steps laid out to you, though independent mortgage advisors are also available to let you compare plans.
When You Might Need a Solicitor
Mortgages are, naturally, more complicated than the loan of a large sum of money. It is a complicated legal agreement, and help with the legal side will be required. This is where a solicitor comes in. Solicitors are qualified legal practitioners, who specialise in specific legal fields – often to do with family and home. A solicitor can be particularly useful in the sale or purchase of a home, handling contracts and legal requirements, as well as in the signing of a mortgage agreement.
Solicitors are also extremely useful for litigation purposes – for example, if you felt you were mistreated by a doctor, nurse or surgeon, your best possible course of action in order to receive justice and compensation would be to retain the services of a medical negligence solicitor. Likewise with personal injury, or suffering from an accident that wasn’t your fault; a personal injury solicitor would allow you to effectively navigate the legal system and get compensation.