Posts Tagged: ‘Mortgage Debt’

Why Debt Settlement is Still a Bad Alternative to Bankruptcy

September 8, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Increased regulation and enforcement has forced debt settlement companies to do what they promise in recent years, rather than charge people hefty upfront fees and fail to deliver any relief. However, debt settlement is not as consumer-friendly as the industry presents it, and many of the people who praise the companies and the process do not fully understand their alternatives or the long-term consequences of settling debts. A few of the minor consequences you might experience if you opt for debt settlement include: tax bills on the forgiven debt, a dip in credit scores and increased interest on new purchases.

Here are some of the biggest problems with debt settlement:

  • The debt settlement process takes years. Customers are told to stop paying their credit card bills, loans and other debts and put money into a savings account, however; negotiations may take years. According to the Freedom Financial Network, the largest debt settlement company, half of all customers eventually settle at least 75 percent of their debt, but the process usually takes three to four years. In the meantime, customers risk being sued over their debts. On the other hand, Chapter 7 bankruptcy halts collections activity, including lawsuits.
  • The math doesn’t add up. Debts are typically settled for 45 to 50 percent of the current balance, which is often higher than the initial balance because of late fees and interest. The average debt settlement fee is 20 percent of the debt at the time of enrollment. The amount of forgiven debt is usually reported to the IRS and is taxable as income. If the borrower is in the 25 percent federal tax bracket, the total cost of the settlement can equal 90 percent or more of the original amount owed.
  • Debt settlement companies tend to demonize bankruptcy. For example, National Debt Relief, a large debt settlement company, claims on the website, “Declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy may mean saying goodbye to most of the assets you have accumulated over the course of your life.” However, few people who file for Chapter 7, which erases most debts in three to six months, lose any assets thanks to state laws that typically protect most if not all of what filers own.
  • Debt settlement companies also claim that bankruptcy is harder on credit scores. However, both processes often drop scores into the mid-500s. Credit scores can begin the recovery process immediately after either process is complete. The difference is that Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically takes only months to complete, while debt settlement typically takes years to complete.

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If you have any questions on this topic or 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.

Over 44 Million People Affected by Student Loan Debt

August 22, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to a survey by LendEDU, a private firm that connects students and their families with student loans and loan refinancing, student loan debt affects more than 44 million borrowers, who owe about $1.3 trillion.

Student loan debt surpassed auto loan and credit card debt. However, mortgage debt remains higher than education debt.

The survey used data from 1,161 four-year colleges throughout the country and found that college students at in-state public schools paid an average of $20,090 in annual tuition for the 2016-2017 school year. This is up 2.6 percent from 2015-2016.

Despite these trends, the average amount of debt incurred by graduating students in the U.S. fell 1.5 percent to $27,975 last year.

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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.

Good News for Home Buyers with Student Loan Debt

May 12, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Mortgage lender Fannie Mae has just made significant rule changes that should make it easier for former students with costly student loan debts to purchase their first home or do a “cash-out” refinancing to pay off debt.

These new policies could be game changers for a large number of consumers. Approximately 43 million Americans are carrying student loan debt, totaling $1.4 trillion nationwide. Costly student loan debt not only impedes on borrowers’ ability to save money for a down payment, but it is also a key reason why so many young, potential home buyers remain renters or are living with their parents.

Below are three big changes that Fannie Mae has made that could affect you:

  • If you’re one of the 5 million borrowers who participate in federal-reduced payment plans on your student loan, your actual monthly payments, as reported to the credit bureaus, will count toward your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio calculations. For example, if your payments were originally supposed to be $500 a month but you have had them reduced to $100 through an income-based repayment plan, only the $100 will be added to your monthly debts for DTI purposes. Previously, lenders were required to factor in one percent of your student loan balance as your monthly payment on the student loan, even though you were actually paying a fraction of that.
  • For an estimated 8.5 million American homeowners who are still carrying student debt, Fannie Mae has lowered the costs of a “cash out” refinancing, provided the extra cash you pull out from your equity is used to retire your student debt. Among the potential beneficiaries: parents participating in “parent plus” programs that help pay off their kids’ student loan debts, and parents who have co-signed for their children’s student loans. Fannie is eliminating the usual extra fee it charges for cash-outs, as long as the funds that borrowers withdraw pay off student loan debts.
  • If you have nonmortgage debts that are being paid for by someone else such as your parents, these will no longer be included in your DTI computation, provided the payments have been made steadily for 12 months. This should improve the DTI ratios of young buyers who are still getting a little help from their parents.

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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.

The New Shape of U.S. Household Debt

April 14, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Household debt in America has been reshaped in ways that could potentially affect how financial experts are able to help manage a consumer’s liabilities. The overall debt of U.S. households is $100 billion smaller than it was in 2008. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, it also looks a lot different now than it did then.

Mortgage debt remains the largest debt burden. However, its share of household debt has declined along with that of credit card debt, while the share of student loan debt and auto loan debt has grown.

By the end of 2016, mortgage debt accounted for 71 percent of household debt, down from almost 79 percent in 2008. Student debt had more than doubled since 2008 and more than tripled since 2003 to 10.4 percent.

Auto loan debt had a 9.2 percent share at the end of 2016, which is approximately one-third larger than it was in 2008. All three types of debt had larger shares of households’ income than credit card debt.

All of this means that housing debt fell $1 billion from its peak in 2008 of $9 trillion, while student loan debt rose $700 billion and auto debt rose $350 billion.

Financial experts attribute the change in household debt to a change in the demographics of U.S. debt. Households that are headed by those 60 years old and older now account for just over 22 percent of outstanding U.S. debt, which is up from 16 percent in 2008.

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If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, 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.

New Home Sales Surge to Seven-Month High in February

March 30, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Last month, new single-family home sales jumped to a seven-month high. The hike suggests the housing market recovery is stable despite the challenges of high prices, increased mortgage rates and tight inventories. According to the Commerce Department, new home sales increased 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units last month, the highest level since July of last year.

New home sales were up 12.8 percent when compared to February of last year. Economists believe the hike in sales is partially due to the unseasonably warm weather across most of the country. In the Northeast region, new single-family homes dropped 21.4 percent. However, in the Midwest, sales were up 30.8 percent and in the South sales were up 3.6 percent.

Fortunately, high mortgage rates have not had a negative impact on home sales this year, largely due to a tightening labor market that is improving employment opportunities for young adults. The market is also benefitting from a shortage of properties for sale in most areas.

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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.