Archive for: ‘February 2015’

Student Loan Debt May be Sabotaging Your Shot at being a Homeowner

February 27, 2015 Posted by kingcade

In 2014, student loan debt topped $1.2 trillion, its highest figure to date. A sample taken from Equifax showed that most borrowers owed an average of $27,000. This number is 74 percent higher than it was ten years ago. Economists believe student loan debt is largely to blame for the decrease in young adults becoming homeowners. The number of 27-30 year olds with home-secured debt has dropped significantly since 2009, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The Federal report also showed that financial conditions for young adults are not improving. In the last quarter of 2014, the percentage of delinquent student loans rose from 11.1 to 11.3. Missing student loan payments can greatly impact a consumer’s credit score. Since the housing bubble burst, credit scores and debt-to-income ratios have been held to higher standards, making it harder to be approved for a home loan.

Click here to read more on the effects student loan debt has had on homeownership over the last decade.

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.

Mortgage Rates Continue to Increase

February 26, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Although the 30-year fixed-rate average is down year to date from 4.28 percent to 3.73 percent, mortgage rates moved higher again this week. One week ago the fixed rate average was 3.69 percent, up .04 percent. Earlier in February, the rate hit a 21-month low of 3.59 percent.  The 15-year fixed-rate average also increased from 2.99 percent to 3.05 percent in the past week. The one-year ARM average moved higher to 2.45 percent, up .03 percent from last week.

With mortgage rates rising for the second consecutive week, housing starts declined 2 percent according to Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist. However, Kiefer said home builders are remaining confident in new home sales. In addition to housing starts, home loan applications were also down approximately 13 percent last week. The refinance index decreased 16 percent while the purchase index dropped 7 percent. Economists say it is no coincidence that mortgage rates hit the highest number of 2015 and home loan applications dropped sharply, particularly for refinances.

Click here to read more on the rise in mortgage rates this week.

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.

Steps to Protect your Credit Score when you get Married

February 25, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Many people assume that once you are married, you automatically take on your spouse’s past credit and any debt they have. This is not the case. However, things change when you start incurring debt during the marriage. Once you open a joint account with your spouse, you are both responsible for the debt incurred. If you have worked hard to maintain your credit score and your spouse or future spouse has not, it can greatly impact your own credit score. Below are a few tips to protect your credit score in marriage.

1. Understand your liability for your spouse’s debts: You are not automatically responsible for your spouse’s debts once you say “I do.” However, if you have opened a joint account, applied for joint credit, cosigned on a loan or added your spouse as an authorized user, your credit score will reflect any of your spouse’s financial mistakes. If your spouse incurs debt during the marriage, you may be responsible for the debt to creditors if you live in a “community property” state. If you live in a common law state, you are generally only responsible for debts in your own name. Florida is a community property state.
2. Share your financial past with your spouse: Before you getting married, make sure you know of any debt or past debt your future spouse has owed and vice versa. When you’re planning a wedding, it may seem insignificant; however, disagreements about money is a leading cause of divorce.
3. Wait until you have your finances in order: If your partner has substantial debt, experts suggest waiting until you both have your finances in order to tie the knot. If you do not want to wait, you may consider waiting to open up a joint account in the marriage.
4. Make major purchasing decisions together: Make sure you both agree on when and how to make major purchases before tying the knot.
5. Consider applying for credit individually: If your spouse does not have responsible spending habits; you may want to consider applying for credit individually. If your spouse’s credit score is low, it can make your interest rate higher than usual.
6. Be careful when you cosign: Do not cosign on anything your spouse wants to purchase unless you are fully prepared to make the payments if your spouse fails to do so.
7. Add he or she as a joint account holder: If you decide to add your spouse as a joint account holder, your spouse is then responsible for the balance. The only way it will hurt your credit score is if your spouse uses all of your available credit or an amount that you cannot pay.
8. Add he or she as an authorized user: By adding your spouse as an authorized user, they are not responsible for the debt. They can however, get you in trouble if they spend more than you can afford to pay.
9. Keep your individual accounts open: Even if you open a joint account, keep your individual accounts open. The length of your account history is a factor in your credit score.
10. Consider legal agreements: Although it may make for an uncomfortable conversation, prenuptial agreements can be one of the best ways to protect you from your spouse’s debt in case you divorce. Prenuptial agreements let you and your spouse agree upon how debt and assets will be handled if the marriage does not last.

Click here to read more on ways to protect your credit score when you get married.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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.

Who will Claim $380 Million in Unspent Foreclosure-Abuse Money?

February 24, 2015 Posted by kingcade

After a 2013 settlement, the Federal Reserve and Office of Comptroller of the Currency are attempting to reissue checks to borrowers whose homes were improperly foreclosed on between 2009 and 2010. The nearly 600,000 checks being reissued range from several hundred dollars to $125,000. In many cases, the Federal Reserve is reissuing these checks to updated addresses. Approximately $3.1 billion dollars has already been cashed or deposited by homeowners who suffered from the foreclosure-related abuse.

An independent review of the banks’ foreclosure practices was conducted in 2011 and found that bank employees were processing foreclosure cases without personally verifying accounts. It was also discovered that the banks were improperly denying loan assistance to homeowners, made errors in assistance plans and charged improper fees. Ultimately, fifteen banks signed the multi-billion dollar settlement leading the Federal Reserve to reimburse some 4.2 million borrowers.

Click here to read more on who will be claiming the $380 million in Unspent Foreclosure-Abuse Money.

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.

Considering filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy? Read this FIRST.

February 23, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Many consumers unknowingly make detrimental financial mistakes before filing for bankruptcy. These mistakes can ultimately affect the outcome of your case. By avoiding the below mistakes, you can assure your bankruptcy filing goes smoothly and avoid challenges by your creditors and the bankruptcy trustee.

Do not transfer money or assets: Oftentimes consumers will transfer funds to a family member or change the name on titles to a child or spouse’s name. The court will view these type transfers as fraud, even if you have innocently transferred the property without any intention to conceal it.

Do not pay off certain creditors: Consumers sometimes pay off certain bills just before filing bankruptcy to satisfy their creditors. However, if a court finds these payments as “preferential transfers” it can lead to “claw back” lawsuits where the court sues the entity you paid to get the money back.

Avoid using your credit cards: Do not accrue unnecessary debt just because you anticipate it will be erased in bankruptcy.

Do not make unusual deposits into your bank account: Only deposit salary or wages into your bank account. For example, do not deposit any money in your account that you have borrowed from others or that has been given to you.  A tip to small business owners: Avoid conducting transactions for the business through your personal account.

Do not sue anyone: Any legal claim that you have is an asset that can be taken by the bankruptcy court. Even claims that you may have against others that have not been filed in court, is property of the bankruptcy estate.

Speak to your attorney before accepting future payments: Bankruptcy court can seize funds that are not actually in your possession, but you expect to receive. For example, if you are receiving an inheritance which will be paid in the future or filing tax returns that result in a refund.

Waiting too long to file: Many of the mistakes above can be avoided by simply not delaying the filing of your bankruptcy claim.

Click here to read more on mistakes to avoid before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing 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.