Credit, Credit Score, Financial Advice

Why Your Debt-to-Income Ratio Is So Important

A person’s credit score is not the only figure lenders look to when determining whether to approve an application for financing. Many times, lenders will also look to the applicant’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI) when making a determination to approve financing.  

A consumer’s debt-to-income ratio looks at whether the individual is bringing in enough income to meet his or her monthly bills. The actual DTI figure is computed by taking the consumer’s gross monthly income and dividing it by his or her monthly debt payments. The result is the person’s DTI.  

Every lender looks at the DTI ratio differently. For some, the credit score makes all the difference, while others will weigh the DTI ratio heavily when making a decision on lending.  

Essentially, the DTI ratio allows lenders to assess a potential borrower’s financial stability. Someone with a high DTI may indicate that a person is barely making ends meet, and lending additional financing would be a risk.

According to Wells Fargo, a stable DTI ratio range is anything below 35 percent. With a DTI of 35 percent, a consumer should have enough money left over every month after paying his or her bills.  

A DTI between 36 and 49 percent is considered manageable, which means that the applicant’s situation is acceptable. A DTI of 50 percent or higher is not acceptable. This high of a DTI shows that the individual consumer’s debt payments take up a substantial portion of his or her monthly income.

If a consumer is looking to be approved for a mortgage, the role his or her DTI plays in the approval process is a little more complicated. Mortgage lenders will look at two different types of DTI ratios when making lending determinations. One DTI ratio is called the front-end ratio, and this looks at how much of the consumer’s gross income will go towards his or her housing costs. An ideal front-end DTI ratio is 28 percent or lower.  The back-end DTI ratio looks at how much of the consumer’s gross income goes towards payment on all debts, including housing costs. Lenders look for back-end DTI ratios of 36 percent or lower.  

A person’s DTI can be improved by several methods. First, the ratio can be improved by increasing the amount of income brought in monthly. Keep in mind, this method takes time and is not an overnight fix by any means. In fact, many lenders will not count income that has just started. They look toward longevity and stability, instead.  

It may be best to work at lowering the monthly debt payments that are made every month. Consumers who are serious about reducing their monthly payments should review their spending habits to see where certain cuts can be made. It may be wise to tackle certain debts first, paying them off to eliminate debt. Credit card debts and similar revolving unsecured debts should be focused on first before tackling installment loan payments. If a consumer has multiple credit card payments, it may be wise to consider debt consolidation in an effort to reduce how many payments are made, lower the monthly payments, and reduce the interest rate paid on the debts.   

Please click here to read more.  

If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.   

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Credit Card Debt, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Top Reason Americans Are Carrying an Average Credit Card Balance of Over $6,200

Credit card debt is a burden for many consumers. Most have a complicated relationship with their credit cards. On one hand, disciplined and modest use of a credit card to make certain purchases can help establish a good credit score. On the other hand, if the balance on a credit card is not paid in full each month, and on time, the balance can quickly spiral out of control.

According a recent study by CompareCards, American consumers are carrying an all-time high of $1.1 trillion in credit card and other types of revolving debt. This figure is up nearly 20 percent from where it was just ten years ago.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

Credit Card Debt and the Effects It Can Have on Your Health

Credit card debt can be a necessary evil, especially when it comes to establishing one’s credit score. However, the problems arise when that credit card balance gets out of hand to the point where the cardholder can no longer pay down the balance. The stress of mounting credit card debt can also affect a person’s health, according to a study from CompareCards.com.

The study shows that credit card debt is taking its toll on the health and well-being of many American consumers. According to the report, fewer cardholders can pay their balances in full at the end of each month. Anything left on those balances roll over to the next month and are compounded even more by interest. Before long, those balances inch closer and closer to the allotted credit limit. One in three consumers surveyed by WalletHub reported being fearful that they will max out their credit cards.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Credit Card Debt

Steps to Remove Judgments and Collections from your Credit Report

Every consumer should review his or her credit report at least once a year to confirm that there are no inaccuracies.  Lenders look to a person’s credit score to determine whether he or she is a lending risk. The lower the score, the harder it will be for that person to obtain financing.  It can also affect the interest rate on the loan.

Certain actions, such as a judgment against the consumer or a collections action, can negatively impact a person’s credit score. However, if a consumer does have judgments or collections actions on his or her report, it is possible to have this information removed.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit

Tips for Renting an Apartment After Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy gives individuals a financial fresh start, relieving the stress of debt and collection calls.  However, declaring bankruptcy can add some additional obstacles to the apartment- hunting process, but not to worry: You can rent an apartment after declaring bankruptcy.  It comes down to the application process, and we have some important tips for you.

Honesty Is the Best Policy.

It can be tempting to want to hide the fact that you recently filed for bankruptcy, but unless the apartment or rental home is a property that does not require a credit check for rental applications, this fact will be discovered quickly. The last thing an applicant wants is for the landlord to find this out after the fact before the renter has any chance to explain the situation. If a bankruptcy is on the individual’s history, it is best to be upfront from the beginning. Honesty is the best policy.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief

How a Bankruptcy Affects Co-Signers

To obtain financing or approval for a loan, many consumers will resort to asking a loved one or family member to co-sign the loan for them. If the individual is not able to continue paying on the loan and defaults, the lender will be able to seek payment on the debt from the co-signer. However, what happens when the borrower who took out the loan files for bankruptcy? Does the co-signer receive relief from the obligation, as well?

What is a Co-signer?

A co-signer or guarantor is a person who takes on a financial obligation along with a borrower who often either has poor credit or limited credit. Deciding to sign a loan as a cosigner is more than just being a reference, a co-signer or guarantor is responsible for paying back the debt if the borrower is unable to do so.

A lender may see the borrower as a lending risk and will require him or her to find someone with a more solid financial history to co-sign the obligation. A co-signer may be needed for a personal loan, a student loan, an application to rent an apartment or other space, or a lease on a car, equipment or furniture. The responsibilities that accompany co-signing a loan are more than being a second signature on a lending application. By co-signing, that person is essentially taking on full responsibility for the loan in the event the original borrower defaults.

While a bankruptcy discharge may relieve the borrower, who is defaulting on the obligation, from responsibility or liability on the debt, the discharge does not always lift this burden from the co-signer on the debt. It often depends on the type of bankruptcy being filed as to what type of protections co-signers have regarding their debts.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

At the time of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer will receive protection from collection on his or her debts through the automatic stay. However, protection from the automatic stay does not also extend to any co-signers on debts. This lack of protection leaves the creditors completely free to pursue collection on the debt from the co-signers on the loan.  If the borrower wishes to maintain a good relationship with the co-signer, it may be wise for him or her to take certain steps to protect the co-signer. The person may choose to reaffirm the debt, especially if it involves a secured debt, such as a home loan, car loan or other secured credit account. By reaffirming the debt, the borrower is giving up the benefit of bankruptcy discharge on that specific debt. Many creditors will accept payment plans or partial payment on the debts in lieu of receiving nothing. If they discover the co-signer has substantial assets, they may be less likely to accept anything other than full payment, however, so this may not be a possibility.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not offer much protection for co-signers, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case offers a little more. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a three-to-five-year long repayment plan, which gives the borrower more time to pay off the co-signed debt. When a Chapter 13 case is filed, the automatic stay issued will protect both the borrower and co-signer from collection on any consumer debts, which is called the Chapter 13 co-debtor stay. The stay will be in effect unless the court lifts it upon request of a creditor or dismissal of the case. The co-debtor stay may also be lifted if the bankruptcy court converts the Chapter 13 case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Otherwise, a co-signer will receive considerably more protection under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resource:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/cosigner-liable-debt-file-bankruptcy.html

 

 

Credit, Debt Relief

The Dangers of Subprime Auto Loans

Having a car for most of us is a necessity, especially if someone wants to get a job and maintain employment. However, the purchase of a vehicle can be tricky for those struggling financially. For many car buyers, a subprime auto loan seems like the perfect solution. However, these types of loans are often more trouble than they are worth, and we caution consumers before using them to finance a vehicle purchase.

What Is a Subprime Car Loan?

A subprime auto loan is a loan aimed at borrowers who have lower credit scores to help them purchase a vehicle. They are offered by various lenders, including larger national banks, as well as smaller finance companies. Many subprime car loans are offered through online lenders, appealing to those who need quick financing.

Disadvantages of Subprime Car Loans

Many different downsides exist to using a subprime auto loan to purchase a vehicle, including the following:

  1. High Interest Rates: Because subprime car loans are normally targeted towards borrowers with lower credit scores, they come with higher interest rates. In fact, subprime car loans can have interest rates that are three times what a borrower with good credit would receive. These high interest rates are meant to offset the risk the borrower poses to the lender, but what results is the borrower making higher payments for a longer period of time on a car that is nowhere near the value of the loan owed on it.
  2. Subprime Car Loans Are Expensive: Because of the high interest rates that accompany subprime car loans, the total amount the purchaser ends up paying can be significant. In fact, a large amount of what the purchaser ends up paying on a monthly basis is solely interest that serves as profit for the lender and makes no dent in the principal owed.
  3. Aggressive Debt Collection Tactics: If the purchaser is not able to keep up with payments on the subprime loan, the situation can get ugly very quickly. Some of the less-than-reputable subprime lenders have been known to be quite aggressive when it comes to collecting on a subprime loan. If the loan was obtained through a larger bank, some of these lenders may be willing to work with the borrower on a payment plan, while others will go directly to collections or even repossession of the vehicle. The last thing a borrower with a low credit score needs is a default or collection on his or her credit report, but the high interest rates on these loans can make it very difficult to keep up with payments.
  4. Vehicle Tracking for Repossession: Not every vehicle that has been purchased through a subprime loan comes with this feature, but it is a common practice for subprime auto lenders to use electronic trackers on the cars to make finding the car easier in the event the vehicle is repossessed. Other devices have been known to completely disable the car if a payment is missed or until the lender gets the car back. The problem is the purchaser may not even know this device is on the car until it is too late. If the borrower believes he or she is going to be late on a payment, it is best to let the lender know in the event this device is installed on the vehicle.

Avoiding a Subprime Car Loan

Many different options exist for a borrower who has bad credit and who still needs to purchase a car. One common solution is to find a co-signer with good credit to help get the loan. Another option is to find a second-chance lending program to purchase a car. Many lenders offer these types of programs to their customers who have less than perfect credit. However, not all lenders offer these types of programs.

In the event a borrower has no choice but to accept a subprime car loan, it is recommended that he or she keep up with payments. After a year or so of regular and consistent payments, the borrower may be able to refinance the loan with a better interest rate and loan terms.

Please click here to read more.

If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

 

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

How to Improve Your Credit After Bankruptcy

The decision to file for bankruptcy is a tough one to make, but it is often the first step in gaining control of your financial future. A common concern people have when filing for bankruptcy is the effect it will leave on their credit score and their ability to access credit, again. While bankruptcy does affect your credit score, it is sometimes the last resort to rebuild your credit and your life.

In fact, it is oftentimes easier to reestablish your credit after filing for bankruptcy, because you are essentially given a “fresh start.”  Here are some quick tips to help rebuild your credit after filing for bankruptcy.

  1. Pay Your Bills on Time. Take full advantage of your financial fresh start. Make consistent and timely payments on all of your bills and any remaining debts moving forward, like your mortgage and car payment. These consistent payments over time will help improve your credit score and re-establish your credit.
  2. Monitor your Credit Report. Make sure and check your reports every few months for errors. Confirm that any negative marks (i.e. – your discharged debts) have been removed.
  3. Use a Secured Credit Card. With a secured credit card, you deposit with the lender an amount equal or nearly equal to the maximum credit line on the card. Unlike with a debit card, your payment history for a secured card is reported to the credit reporting agencies.
  4. Budget. Create a realistic budget for yourself. Review your finances several times per week to ensure you are sticking to your budget.
  5. Set up Auto-pay. Set up automatic payments for your cable, Internet and phone bills, so you do not miss your payment due date. Again, watch your finances closely so that you know when money will be coming out of your account.

There are proven ways to rebuild your credit score after bankruptcy, and our clients are proof!

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.

Hi Tim- I just wanted to send a quick note and thank you and your team for handling my bankruptcy case.  It is only a month or two after discharge, and my credit scores are already in the upper 600’s. – C.S.

If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Source:

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-improve-your-credit-score-after-bankruptcy-316108

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Tips for Buying a Home Post Bankruptcy

Many people assume that filing for bankruptcy means that they will never be able to qualify for a home loan or take out credit again.  This is one of the many bankruptcy myths out there. The following steps can help you achieve the goal of purchasing a home post-bankruptcy.

  1. Review Your Financial Situation

After receiving your fresh start from bankruptcy, you should review your financial situation. Ensure that all of the debts that would have qualified for discharge in a bankruptcy case have, in fact, been discharged. It also helps to get a clear picture of where you are financially by reviewing your credit report.  Most financial experts recommend you review your credit report every year to ensure that no mistakes exist on the report and to ensure that progress is being made in rebuilding your credit.

  1. Establish a Budget

Not only is it helpful to get a good idea of your financial situation by reviewing your credit report and keeping tabs on your progress in rebuilding your credit, it is also important to establish and stick to a budget. Review your monthly household expenses, as well as your monthly income. Lay out any upcoming annual expenses, including taxes or vehicle registration, and make sure enough money is available to pay for all of these necessary expenses. If any additional funds are available after all needed expenses are met, use this money to help build up a savings for a down payment, as well as unexpected emergency expenses. Stick to this budget throughout the year, as much as possible to help build up savings for a down payment on a home.

One practical way to grow your savings is to follow the adage of paying yourself first. When creating a budget, make sure that putting money into savings is a priority by doing it before you use any extra money on unnecessary expenses. While the more you are able to put away into savings is better, also be realistic in how much you set aside for savings. Do not stretch yourself too thin to the point where you have nothing left for any other costs and expenditures.

  1. Rebuild Your Credit

Building up savings is important, but it is equally important to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. One important tool used by bankruptcy filers to rebuild credit is a secured credit card. These types of cards carry lower spending limits and higher interest rates but using a secured credit card for a short period of time can help rebuild credit. After a set period of time, you can begin using a conventional credit card, so long as the balance is kept low and paid in full every month. It also helps to continue paying all bills on time and not missing payments, which will improve your credit score over time.

  1. Formulate a Plan

You should go into the home purchasing process with a plan in mind. Calculate what type of down payment you can afford, but also keep in mind what type of monthly mortgage payment your budget can handle. Financial experts recommend that you not spend more than 28 percent of your income on housing costs.  Also ensure that your budget allows for additional expenses, such as regular maintenance and costs that come along with home ownership. If you have a house you are interested in, make sure you schedule a thorough inspection to ensure that no additional, unidentified problems come along with the purchase.

  1. Get Organized

Before applying for a mortgage, it is recommended that you get yourself organized and prepared with all of the financial information that will be required for a mortgage application. If you have just completed a bankruptcy case, odds are you are familiar with compiling important financial documentation, including paystubs, tax returns, list of assets and other financial documentation.  Common documentation that is required includes bank, credit card and other loan statements, tax records, insurance documents, employment records, paystubs, and investment records. If you have recently gone through a bankruptcy, you may also need to provide legal documentation, such as your bankruptcy petition.

  1. Research Your Mortgage Options

It pays to do the research to determine the best available lending options. Conventional mortgages are available through private lenders, mortgage companies, commercial banks and credit unions. These types of mortgages tend to be more rigid in their criteria. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also offers loans that are backed by the government. These loans are a little more flexible in their criteria but come with other restrictions on the person’s ability to flip the property or rent it out later. FHA loans, however, are beneficial for first-time or lower-income homeowners.  Be sure to research the different interest rate options available before signing on the dotted line. Financing can be done through a fixed-rate mortgage, which locks the purchaser into an interest rate at the time he or she signs loan documents, or an adjustable rate mortgage, which can mean rates can fluctuate with the market.

How smoothly purchasing a home after bankruptcy goes can depend heavily on the type of consumer bankruptcy that was filed, whether it be Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and the type of loan being sought. Mortgage lenders have different “seasoning periods” that determine when someone is ready to receive a mortgage following a bankruptcy or foreclosure. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the period usually is four-years after discharge for a conventional mortgage or two years for a VA or FHA loan. However, for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a borrower may be able to get a conventional mortgage just two years after receiving a discharge or even less than two years if the borrower is seeking a VA or FHA mortgage.

If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://blog.credit.com/2017/11/5-steps-to-buying-a-home-after-bankruptcy-115998/

https://blog.credit.com/2014/10/how-soon-can-i-buy-a-house-after-bankruptcy-or-foreclosure-98939/