Category: ‘Debt Relief’

New Underwriting Rules Make it Easier to Obtain a Mortgage with Student Loan Debt

August 9, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you are struggling with student loan debt the prospect of ever qualifying for a mortgage may seem out of reach.  However, last week changes made to underwriting rules by Fannie Mae could make easier for borrowers with student loan debt to obtain a mortgage.

The new rule impacts borrowers with federal student loan debt who are currently enrolled in income-driven repayment plans.  An income-driven repayment plan sets your monthly student loan payment at an amount that is affordable based on your income and family size. Your monthly payments could be capped at 10% of your income.  If your discretionary income is low enough, your monthly payment could be as low as $0.

In order to qualify for the mortgage, a borrower must meet certain debt-to-income (DTI) requirements.

A statement from Fannie Mae says that reduced payment can be used, even when the payment is $0. According to Fannie Mae, “if the lender obtains documentation to evidence the actual monthly payment is $0, the lender may qualify the borrower with the $0 payment as long as the $0 payment is associated with an income-driven repayment plan.”

These new changes will allow more borrowers to qualify for a home, but there are exceptions.  These rules do not apply to all mortgages, and are specific to “agency-backed” mortgages that represent more than half of the mortgage market.  The changes do not apply to borrowers with private student loans.  As a general rule, student loan borrowers should max out federal loans before considering private loans.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Student Loan Mistakes to Avoid in your 20’s

August 8, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Student loan debt can feel like a dark cloud hanging over your future- particularly if you just graduated college and may not have landed your “dream job,” yet.  Here are some mistakes to avoid early on when paying back your student loan debt.

  1. You wait until the end of the grace period to begin making payments. Upon graduation, your lender will likely give you a grace period of six months to start paying back your debt. Nice of them, right? Wrong.  On the contrary this is a trap.  Most student loan debt begins accruing interest immediately upon graduation.
  2. You ignore the auto pay option. Automatic payments will deduct the amount directly from your checking account, ensuring you do not incur late fees or penalties.  Most loan providers will also give you a 0.25 percentage discount if you do this.
  3. You fail to plan. It is important to strategize- particularly if you have multiple student loans with different lenders and different interest rates. The way you pay these off can make a big difference in how much interest you will pay in the long run.
  4. You do not consolidate your federal loans and refinance private loans.  If monthly payments are too much for you, look into whether you qualify for an income-based repayment plan.  Consider consolidating federal loans into a federal direct consolidation loan and refinancing your private loans.
  5. You do not make your student loan debt a priority. Financial experts advise to first prioritize your company’s 401(k) match program. Second, work to establish an emergency fund that will cover your living expenses for at least three months.  Repaying your student loan debt should be at the top of this list.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Pompano Beach “Debt Relief” Companies Scammed Victims out of $70 Million

August 7, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A debt relief scheme headquarted in Pompano Beach has scammed nearly 15,000 people across the country, according the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

A civil complaint filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale alleged that telemarketers at several of the companies managed from the Pompano Beach office building offered to pay off personal debts for customers, settle or obtain dismissals for these obligations and loan consolidation- all while improving their credit scores.

The defendants in the case were Jeremy Lee Marcus, who was described by the receiver as the CEO and an owner of the group of companies in the debt relief operation; Craig Davis Smith, the COO and also an owner; and Yisbet Segrea, an executive who ran the office in Panama, plus dozens of corporate defendants. These included 321Loans Inc., Financial Freedom National Inc., Helping America Group, Marine Career Institute Sea Frontiers Inc., Instahelp America Inc. and Breeze Financial Solutions.

Customers were convinced to pay a few hundred to more than a thousand dollars per month to the “so-called” debt-relief companies and their operators who orchestrated the scheme.

After numerous customer complaints, it was discovered that in most cases no payments were ever made towards the customers' debts. Customers ended up becoming victims.  As a result of the scam they incurred even more debt.  Some customers were sued by their old creditors or were forced into bankruptcy.

The scheme used Internet advertising and websites, direct mail and unsolicited phone calls to market itself. The company bought presumably legitimate debt-relief firms and used their clients’ names as well as personal and financial information.

Here is how the scam worked:

  • Companies in the scam used ads on their website and sent out personal letters to the victims’ home addresses. These companies would go so far as to falsely identify themselves as nonprofits, offering low-interest loans so a consumer could combine all debts and make one payment at a lower interest rate;
  • Consumers would have to agree to have their bank accounts debited immediately for their first loan “repayment” or for a processing fee. Then monthly “repayments” were automatically taken from their accounts, ranging from $200 to over $1,000;
  • Few or no payments were ever made to creditors;
  • When consumers were told by original creditors that none of their bills had been paid, dismissed or settled, the scammers strung them along with false explanations, such as more time was needed to validate the consumers’ debts or to confirm payoff amounts. Clients who called to complain were given excuses and treated poorly.  The only contact number available was disconnected.

Click here to read more on the scam.

The following website (www.321loansreceivership.com) has been set up to inform victims and the public about developments in the receivership process.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Debt Questions you may be Afraid to Ask

August 4, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Talking about debt can bring up all sorts of emotions, leaving some to worry in silence about their own debt or a family member’s finances.  Here some answers to some of the most common questions about debt.

Can I inherit my spouse’s or family member’s debt after they die?  This depends on the debt. The assets left behind after a death typically go towards paying off that individual’s debt.  After that runs out, the creditor typically suffers the loss.  Co-signers when it comes to student loans, mortgage debts and joint credit cards will likely be on the hook for any remaining balance.  Know the dangers co-signing a loan and make sure and carry enough life insurance to cover all of your debts.

Is there a limit to the amount of debt I can take on?  The answer is no, but it depends largely on the type of debt.  Lenders sometimes offer you more credit than you can pay back.  Think of a loan you would take out to start a new business or taking out a mortgage to purchase a new home.  Even if you qualify for the loan, be realistic about what you can afford to repay.

Can I be arrested for outstanding debt?  The answer is no.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) bars debt collectors from harassing and threatening you with arrest or jail.  However, they can sue you for payment.  Know your rights when dealing with debt collectors and consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before receiving a court summons or being sued by a creditor.

If I file for bankruptcy, will ALL of my debt be erased?  Alimony and child support obligations cannot be erased in bankruptcy.  Student loans, certain tax debts and judgments against you can be difficult to get discharged as well.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy

August 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to get a fresh start financially and erase past debts, but a legitimate concern consumers have is the effects it will have on their credit score and their ability to take out credit again.

One of the biggest misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy is that it will ruin your credit score and your financial future.  To the contrary, after filing for bankruptcy you can begin restoring your credit right away.

Here are some steps you can take to begin rebuilding your credit after filing for bankruptcy:

Create a budget.  This will help you stay on top of your finances and is something you should have gone over in the “pre-discharge” credit counseling.

Build an emergency fund.  Research shows that having as little as $250 saved up for an unexpected expense can protect families from having to resort to pay day loans and credit cards.

Plan your post-bankruptcy credit strategy.  Assess your situation by first checking your credit score.  Dispute any inaccurate information on your credit report and have this corrected immediately.  Remember, a Chapter 7 filing will wipe out your debts, but it does not wipe your credit reports clean.  Make sure and double check all three reports.

Here are some ways to access to new credit while rebuilding your score.

Secured loans are typically offered by credit unions or community banks.  One type of secured loan involves borrowing against money you already have on deposit.   The other type can be made without upfront cash.  Instead, this money is loaned to you and is placed in a savings account and released to you only after you have made the necessary payments.  In return, the financial institution agrees to send a report to the credit bureaus.

A secured credit card is backed by the deposit you make and the credit limit is typically the amount you have on deposit.  This can help repair your credit while you wait to become eligible for an unsecured card.

A co-signed credit card can improve your score, but it is definitely a big ask. Essentially, this individual (the co-signer) is risking his or her own credit history for you and will be on the hook if the full amount is not paid on the card.

If asking to co-sign is too much, an authorized user status will work.  Basically, you are an authorized user on that person’s credit card.  Just make sure the credit card will report the payment activity by authorized users to the credit bureaus, otherwise it will have no effect on your score.

A lighter debt burden automatically makes you more desirable to lenders, so be vigilant about paying on time.  Keep your credit card balances relatively low compared to the card’s limit.  For example, less than 30% is typically advised while using just 10% of the available credit is even better.

Still not convinced?  A testimonial from one of our clients in regards to their credit score after filing for bankruptcy.

My credit score said on all three reports 775, I couldn’t believe that I had such a great score before 10 years. Tim for me was the best move I have made for my situation. I have no regrets, I am glad the past is the past. – Bill T.

If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/rebuild-credit-after-bankruptcy/