Archive for: ‘October 2014’

Relaxed Mortgage-Lending Rules APPROVED!

October 27, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Three U.S. agencies signed off this week on relaxed mortgage-lending rules. These new standards represent an effort to ensure more mortgage loans are available for borrowers. The Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Housing and Urban Development approved the new rules for the mortgage-backed securities market, a day after three other agencies approved the standards.

The rules are intended to improve the quality of loans by giving banks a financial incentive to ensure mortgages can be repaid. The initial rules required that banks hold 5% of the risk of mortgages packaged and sold to investors or require a 20% borrower down payment. But regulators, concerned that overly stringent rules would harm the housing market’s recovery, recanted on the 20% down payment.

Instead, banks will be able to avoid the 5% risk-retention requirement if they verify a borrower’s ability to pay back the loan and comply with other requirements, such as ensuring borrowers’ debt payments do not exceed 43% of their income.

Officials say these standards are still sufficiently strong enough to prevent a repeat of some of the worst abuses from the housing market crisis, including loans in which the lender does nothing to verify a borrower’s income. The new rules, which go into effect in fall 2015, will be reviewed for its impact on the economy four years later, and every five years after that.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://online.wsj.com/articles/divided-sec-signs-off-on-relaxed-mortgage-lending-rules-1414009530

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

‘Condo Takeover Schemes’ – The New Foreclosure Threat?

October 20, 2014 Posted by kingcade

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, condo takeover tactics have emerged. Here’s how it works- Real estate investors buy up foreclosed condo units in a building, then take control of the building’s condo association, which allows them to set condo fees at whatever level they choose. By inflating these fees beyond what the occupants can afford many longtime condo owners are at risk of being priced out of their homes.

Condo owners in a Reading, Pennsylvania, subdivision were pushed out of their homes after a real estate development company bought up foreclosed units in the complex and then took control of the association. Using a Pennsylvania law, the investor then dissolved the condo association, allowing it to place the nearly 100 units in the complex for sale. The attorney who represented many of these condo owners told NBC that the developer offered the remaining owners buyouts valued at just one third of their mortgages. Finding that they are suddenly underwater, many of the owners lost their homes.

Housing experts say the practice fits with a broader trend of investors buying foreclosed properties, then hiking up rents and other fees, sometimes evicting longtime residents, usually renters, out of their homes.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/condo-takeover-schemes-can-pose-new-foreclosure-threat-n215316

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/condo-takeover-schemes-can-pose-new-foreclosure-threat-n215316

Financial Planners warn about “prepaying” Student Loan Debt over Retirement Savings

October 14, 2014 Posted by kingcade

National student loan debt has been increasing at a rapid pace over the past two decades. The total now tops $1.2 trillion, surpassing auto and credit card debt. It’s hampered many young people’s ability to purchase a home and even keep current on monthly bills.

However, financial planners are warning borrowers to not be in such a hurry to pay off this debt. In fact, young borrowers could wind up being poorer if they accelerate student loan debt repayment over saving for retirement.

Here’s why: Retirement contributions typically offer tax breaks, company matches and future compounding that are worth far more than the interest saved by accelerated loan repayment. Many young borrowers focus on the now, putting retirement savings on the back burner, which can be a costly mistake.

A $1,000 contribution made at age 25 would typically be worth $20,000 or more at retirement age, while the same contribution would be worth about $10,000 when made at age 35, assuming 8 percent average annual returns. Even if participants do not achieve 8 percent, which is the historical stock market average for periods over 30 years, the math still holds: contributions made earlier return dramatically more.

Thanks to compounding, contributions made when workers are in their 20s can be worth twice as contributions made later. That’s because the money has longer to grow.

A recent TransUnion study of “credit active” consumers — people with at least one credit account or loan — found that 51 percent of those aged 20 to 29 have student loan debt, compared to 31 percent in 2005. Balances have soared as well, the study found. The average balance for a 20-something borrower in 2014 was $25,525, compared to $15,853 in 2007. That’s a 60 percent increase.

An Experian study found an even greater rise in student loan debt when the rest of the population was counted in. The study found that student loan debt had risen 84 percent between 2008 and 2014 and that the average balance for borrowers of all ages was $29,000.

Some good advice… Student loan borrowers should always make the required payments on their federal education loans, since the penalties for default are severe. But do not postpone saving for retirement.  Make sure your employer is matching you on your retirement contributions, since that money is essentially free, before using any extra money to pay down student loan debt.

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 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 http://www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/13/us-column-weston-retirement-idUSKCN0I21CQ20141013

‘Zombie’ homes a growing problem in Florida neighborhoods

October 10, 2014 Posted by kingcade

A bank forecloses on a home, the residents pack up and leave and the city is left to clean up the mess. These abandoned homes in foreclosure limbo, referred to as zombie homes are haunting a number of Florida neighborhoods. These properties are often uninhabitable because they have fallen into such disrepair, and the owners are unwilling to fix them up because with the outstanding mortgage payments, the bank can still come back and foreclose on the property.

By hand-picking which foreclosures they complete and which they ignore, banks are strapping individual borrowers with a permanent, inescapable debt while creating slums in already struggling communities. These vacant homes often attract drug dealers and squatters and bring down the value of surrounding properties.

The financial crisis resulted in many homeowners walking away from their properties when they got their initial foreclosure notice, seeking to avoid being evicted, not realizing that the process could take years.

Zombie foreclosures have become more widespread in recent years throughout the country, but are especially prevalent in Florida, where as of June 2, 48,630 homes in some stage of foreclosure sat vacant, according to RealtyTrac. That accounts for a third of the 141,406 vacant foreclosed properties nationwide!

According to real estate experts, zombie foreclosures come in two forms:

1.) The unintentional “byproduct” of Florida’s judicial foreclosure process, which can take months and result in “properties sitting in limbo;”

2.) Intentional delay by lenders, who file a foreclosure case so they do not lose the option to do so when the statute of limitations runs out. However, these lenders do not move forward because completing the foreclosure would not be financially viable.

Zombie homes can haunt homeowners- and neighborhoods for years, having a negative impact on cities. When homeowners and banks walk away from a property, the city is left with the responsibility of the home.

The Justice Department has taken some responsibility. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. each agreed to forgive loans when they decide not to pursue foreclosure and have helped cities pay to demolish the abandoned homes. The agreements, however, contain no specific monetary obligation and instead fall under broad consumer relief payments.

Florida cities like Jacksonville and St. Petersburg have borne the burden. Jacksonville demolished 113 homes that were vacant and unsafe in 2013. In 2014, the city bulldozed another 60 properties. It is estimated that St. Petersburg will demolish 100 houses this year.  Officials have said the city simply does not have the resources to deal with all of the vacant homes.

Click here to read more on this story…
http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/09/15/15519/zombie-homes-haunt-florida-neighborhoods

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between whether or not you can keep your home. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:
http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/09/15/15519/zombie-homes-haunt-florida-neighborhoods

Raise your Credit Score… FAST

October 7, 2014 Posted by kingcade

Your credit score can range anywhere from between 300 to 850. And we all know, the higher the number, the better. Your credit score, also referred to as your FICO number is what lenders use to determine how much to lend you and what your interest rate will be when applying for a mortgage, car loan, credit card or student loan. A recent survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling revealed that people are more embarrassed to admit their credit score (30%) than their weight (12%).

Below are some immediate steps you can take to raise your score FAST:

1.) Dispute Errors. Mistakes happen. Order a copy of your credit report for free by going to www.annualcreditreport.com. Analyze the report for accuracy and dispute any errors immediately.

2.) Negotiate. You cannot deny that you stopped paying a credit card bill because you lost your job last year, but you can request that the creditor “erase” that debt or any other credit account that went into collections. Write a letter that offers to pay the remaining balance if the creditor will report the account as, “paid as agreed.” They may even remove it all together. You will never know unless you try.

3.) Check your limits. Make sure your reported credit limits are current. You do not want it to look as if you are maxing out plastic each month. If your card issuer forgot to mention an increased credit limit you are entitled to, request it.

4.) Get a credit card. If you use a credit card wisely (i.e. not charging too much, making payments on time, etc.) this will do good things for your score.

5.) Under-use your cards. Keep in mind, the “credit utilization ratio” is no more than 30% and ideally even less. Credit experts advise that a 10% credit utilization ratio will “maximize your FICO score.”

6.) Raise your credit limit. Request that your creditors increase your limit. However, this only works if you can trust yourself not to increase your spending limit.

7.) DO NOT close any cards. Canceling a credit card will cause your available credit to drop, which will not look good to the bureaus. One way to keep a card active is to use it for a recurring charge, such as an electric or phone bill.

8.) Mix it up. Using a different kind of credit can boost your score. For example, you can take out a small personal loan from a credit union to buy a piece of furniture or appliance. However, ONLY do this if you are 100% sure you can meet the payment schedule.

9.) Pay your bills on time. Your payment history makes up a whopping 35% of your FICO score. If you have a problem paying your bills on time, whether you are a busy working parent or simply absent-minded at times, automate your payments. This is an easy solution to this problem and a much needed time saver.

10.) Pay your bills twice a month. Using too much of your credit limit at any time does not look good. Make one payment just before the statement closing date and the second one right before the due date. The first payment will help you decrease the balance that the credit bureaus will see, the second ensures you will not pay interest or a late fee.

If you are in 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:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2014/05/02/11-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-fast/