BHG NewsCreditFinancing March 4, 2024

What To Know About Credit Scores Before Buying a Home

What To Know About Credit Scores Before Buying a Home

If you want to buy a home, you should know your credit score is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage. Lenders review your credit to see if you typically make payments on time, pay back debts, and more. Your credit score can also help determine your mortgage rate. An article from US Bank explains:

“A credit score isn’t the only deciding factor on your mortgage application, but it’s a significant one. So, when you’re house shopping, it’s important to know where your credit stands and how to use it to get the best mortgage rate possible.”

That means your credit score may feel even more important to your homebuying plans right now since mortgage rates are a key factor in affordability. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the median credit score in the U.S. for those taking out a mortgage is 770. But that doesn’t mean your credit score has to be perfect. The same article from US Bank explains:

“Your credit score (commonly called a FICO Score) can range from 300 at the low end to 850 at the high end. A score of 740 or above is generally considered very good, but you don’t need that score or above to buy a home.”

Working with a trusted lender is the best way to get more information on how your credit score could factor into your home loan and the mortgage rate you’re able to get. As FICO says:

“While many lenders use credit scores like FICO Scores to help them make lending decisions, each lender has its own strategy, including the level of risk it finds acceptable. There is no single “cutoff score” used by all lenders and there are many additional factors that lenders may use to determine your actual interest rates.”

If you’re looking for ways to improve your score, Experian highlights some things you may want to focus on:

  • Your Payment History: Late payments can have a negative impact by dropping your score. Focus on making payments on time and paying any existing late charges quickly.
  • Your Debt Amount (relative to your credit limits): When it comes to your available credit amount, the less you’re using, the better. Focus on keeping this number as low as possible.
  • Credit Applications: If you’re looking to buy something, don’t apply for additional credit. When you apply for new credit, it could result in a hard inquiry on your credit that drops your score.

Bottom Line

Finding ways to make your credit score better could help you get a lower mortgage rate. If you want to learn more, talk to your trusted Better Homes & Gardens Realtor today!

Community February 12, 2024

360-Degree View of the Future Home of Ellsworth Dansby Jr. Magnet School – The Latest Addition to Decatur Public Schools!

If you haven’t been over by Oak Grove Park, you may want to go take a look at the progress of the future home of Ellsworth Dansby Jr. Magnet School – the latest addition to Decatur Public Schools.


On Tuesday, September 26, 2023, the DPS Board of Education approved naming the new building Ellsworth Dansby Jr. Magnet School.

Mr. Ellsworth Dansby Junior was a native of Decatur, born on October 5, 1914. He was a graduate of Decatur High School and one of the first black men to graduate from Millikin University. But what Mr. Dansby is most known for is his military service — he was the second black man to be sworn into the Army Air Force, the first enlisted man in the group to receive the rank of master sergeant during World War II, and a member of the first black aviation unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron of the Army Air Corps, which later became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

Also, Mr. Dansby was always fascinated with flying. He and his friends built model airplanes. And, at the age of 12, Mr. Dansby flew an airplane alone at a farm airstrip near Dalton City, taking off and landing safely.

Mr. Dansby began applying to the Air Force shortly after his graduation from high school. He joined the Army Air Force just as the 99th Squadron was activated at Chanute Field in Rantoul and sent to Tuskegee, Alabama. That’s where Mr. Dansby became the first African-American master sergeant and one of the “Tuskegee Airmen,” the nation’s first black military fighter pilots.

Finally, you can find out more about this project and the history behind the man by CLICKING HERE.

Housing in the Area

This Decatur Public School will be near the Home Park area – a great place to live in Decatur, Illinois! You can see the park in this video here:

You can find a great home in the Decatur Public School District by connecting with one of our agents.

Take a look at this aerial 360-degree view of the construction site!

BHG News January 23, 2024

Two Brands Under One Roof!

No, Tim did not sell the company. No, Tim did not leave the company. What Tim DID do, is brand and franchise the residential side of the business as Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Service First! The commercial real estate side of the business will remain under Vieweg Real Estate. So now you will find TWO brands under one roof. The same people you know. The same people you trust. The same address: 601 E. William St. in Decatur, Illinois.

When you list with Better Homes & Gardens for your residential real estate needs, and Vieweg Real Estate for your commercial real estate needs, you can rest assured that you are in the best of hands. We are still #WorkingHardSoYouDontHaveTo, but with our new partnership with Better Homes & Gardens, you will have Better tools. Better service. You can #ExpectBetter. We want to be your #RealtorForLife and go #BeyondTheHome. Our goal is to serve you from our first meeting, to the closing table, and beyond.

If you are looking to buy or sell residential or commercial real estate, you can do both by calling our office at 217-450-8500.

Here’s to a bright and beautiful new year!  Here’s a message from Tim Vieweg

BHG NewsCommunity January 10, 2024

Fletcher Park in Mt. Zion Illinois

If you live in Central Illinois, you know about the great parks. Mt. Zion is no different, and if you haven’t visited yet, you need to see Fletcher Park.

This park has so much to offer the family. Go walking. Go Fishing. Entertainment. Play Tennis. Jump at the Splash Pad. Hold Meetings. Have a family picnic. Enjoy LIFE!

Watch this video for a great overview and when you’re ready for ALL the details you can visit this website:

BHG NewsCommunity July 10, 2023

Decatur Kiwanis Clubs Bring Little Free Libraries to Decatur

Decatur Kiwanis Clubs believe that everyone has the right to read. That’s why Golden K, Early Bird Kiwanis, and Decatur Kiwanis (noon) clubs are working together to increase literacy by increasing book access community-wide with their Little Free Libraries program.

“Our design and plan will give free books to children ages three to twelve in the Decatur area,” said Chuck Zweck, Little Free Library Steering Committee Chair. “Improved literacy can lead to increased opportunities and better outcomes in education, employment, and overall quality of life. This community-based effort can help one child at a time gain access to a book to take home.”

A Little Free Library ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at Pride Cleaners, 912 W. Eldorado Street, Decatur on July 7th at 10 a.m. Decatur Kiwanis Clubs have planned to install four units this year, and are committed to supplying the library units, as well as regularly inspecting, restocking, and organizing the units. Other locations for 2023 Little Free Libraries include: Pride Cleaners, North Main Street, Macon County Health Department, and Crossing Healthcare. An additional three are planned each year for 2024 and 2025, with locations to be determined.

Kiwanis Clubs are an international community of clubs, with its members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children. In the Decatur area, there are three clubs: Golden K, Decatur-Early Birds, and Decatur (noon), as well as two high school Key Clubs at Mt. Zion and St. Teresa High Schools. There are more than 550,000 members internationally,
from K-Kids to Key Club to Kiwanis and many ages in between, in 80 countries and geographic areas.

For more information about Decatur area Kiwanis Clubs, or if you have a recommendation of where a Little Free Library should be placed, contact

To read the article in the Herald & Review, CLICK HERE.