Your financial health revolves around your credit score! Work with credit experts and proven system to eliminate any inaccurate, obsolete or erroneous accounts. Using your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to your advantage,Financial Education Services helps you dispute the mistaken negative ratings that may be preventing you from obtaining new credit when you need it most. Lower your interest rates, avoid high late fees, save money and advance your credit opportunities. (Elsewhere $100+ per month for this single service)
Understanding how your credit score is calculated and how to read your credit report are the first steps in improving your current standing. The FES Credit Education Center offers a wide variety of educational services, credit tips and resources to help you take the necessary steps to enhance your credit score and manage your financial life. Improve your score by identifying the accounts that need immediate attention and understand the impact of the amount of credit you are using. Financial Education Services also offers a secured credit card to help rebuild credit or help build new credit for those just starting out. (Elsewhere $10+ per month for this single service)
Manage all your online accounts in one place, integrated with your credit and identity. You can use action buttons to ask a creditor a question about your account or a transaction. FES automatically tracks and update your account balances, bills coming due and transactions every day. access your interactive credit report, which is now easy to read and search or find anything quickly. It also includes your credit score, auto score, insurance score and even a hiring risk index for job seekers. Get alerts to your phone or email that someone opened credit in your name. Then use the action button to stop the thieves. (Elsewhere $25+ per month for this single service)
FES fixes consumer credit reports in a legal and trustworthy manner and fights abusive debt collectors — turning victims into victors as they step into an otherwise unfair fight started by debt collectors, creditors and credit reporting agencies. FES is focused on you and not just your case. FES lawyers and paralegals band together to analyze your case and situation from all angles to bring about the best result in the quickest manner. They will work with you to determine your case eligibility an aim to stop harassment and clean up difficult to remove credit report errors from your credit file. (Elsewhere $250+ per hour for this single service)
DebtZero is a clear guide on how to more efficiently pay down your debt. Taking into account your debt obligations and interest, the system will show you exactly how to properly allocate your money towards your monthly payments using nothing more than your current income in order to speed up your debt payoff. It will map out the thousands of dollars you will be saving in interest by paying off your debt significantly earlier than expected. Put more simply, it will show you the amount of hard-earned money you can save by eliminating unnecessary years of interest payments! (Elsewhere $50+ per month for this single service)
Proactively safeguard your credit, your finances and your good name with vigilant services that alert you of potential threatens before the damage is done. If identity thieves steal your personal information, they could take out a mortgage, commit tax fraud, open new credit accounts and a whole lot more. This technology searches for potential misuse of your social security number, name address or date of birth in applications for credit and services. You can choose alerts by text, phone, email or mobile app — and respond immediately to confirm if the activity is fraudulent. Lifelock through FES is confident in their ability to help protect your identity but no one can prevent all identity theft. If you become a victim of identity theft while a Life Lock member, up to $1 million will be spent to hire experts, lawyers, investigators, consultants and whomever else it takes to help your recovery. (Elsewhere $10+ per month for this single service)
The decisions you make for yourself and your family are important because you know whats best for you. Unfortunately, in the event that you aren’t able to speak on behalf of these decisions, someone that doesn’t understand your wishes can end up making them for you. Without an estate plan in place, these crucial choices regarding YOUR health, finances and family are suddenly out of your control. Many people disregard planning for unexpected events because they’re “too young” or it’s “too expensive.” Now you can have a comprehensive planning package, customized to your needs, covering each of the essential parts that make up a full estate plan. (Elsewhere $5,000+ for this single service)
If you’re like most families, one person is generally designated to handle the financial aspects of the household. If you’re single, you may be he only person who knows the type and location of your financial accounts. What if your loved ones suddenly found themselves in the position of taking over your finances without warning? Would they be able to locate insurance, bank and financial records in the event of an emergency? Financial Lockbox is an online solution that enables you to store your financial data in a single, secure, password-protected location for easy to access by you or loved ones that you select and authorize. (Elsewhere $25+ per month for this single service)
Posted in Community, Credit Repair, Foreclosure Tagged with: coldwell banker, credit building, credit repair, credit restoration, filing chapter 13, fix my credit, fixing foreclosure, grand rapids, home loan, how to buy a home, i want to sell my house, real estate, west michigan
More than 43 percent of Americans have a credit score under 599? Even a credit score between 600-699 isn’t stellar and can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars — money that should be going into your retirement or towards your current quality of life. Instead you’re paying towards interest, leaving you less money each month to live, and putting you even more behind on your bills.
A lower credit score can prevent you from buying a home, leasing a car or qualifying for a credit card. Your credit can also affect whether or not you get hired, as many more employers are including a credit check, along with the more typical background check.
Maybe you’re like millions of other Americans and you’v got some obstacles with your credit. Maybe you’ve been looking for a solution.
I have the solution — a life-changing solution for you to significantly improve you credit score over the next 90 days, 6 months, 9 months and for years to come. With better credit, you’ll have more choices and freedom. You’ll have more money to spend on travel, retirement or your home.
What if you could invest in your financial future, starting today, for less than half of the price of a Starbucks coffee and a quarter of the price of a trip through the fast food line?
Well, you can. It’s called the FES Protection Plan, from Financial Education Services.
For just $2.85, that’s two dollars and 85 cents a day — aroud the price of a bag of chips and a soda, you could change your financial destiny, and maybe even your waistline.
Posted in Buying, Credit Repair, Foreclosure Tagged with: credit building, credit repair, credit restoration, filing chapter 13, fix my credit, fixing foreclosure, grand rapids, stopping foreclosure, west michigan
RentReporters contacts your landlord to verify up to 2 years of rental history. They report to Transunion only. RentReporters’ customers see an the average increase in their score of 35-50 points within 10 days, according to the website’s FAQs.
Sign up by clicking the green sign-up button in the top right corner of rentreporters.com. It’s $49 one time payment to use the service and $9.95 a month thereafter. Normally it’s $59 to start, but use this COUPON CODE for $10 off — BA969 — at checkout. Once you’ve entered the discount code, make sure to press the “APPLY” button.
This service allows landlords to collect your rent through the eRentPayment.com system and report current and future rent payments to ALL THREE credit bureaus for just $3 per transaction. (They can increase your rent $3 if they don’t want to pay this.)
This service doesn’t report previous rental history, but the positive credit reporting starts now. It will take 2-3 months to start showing up on your credit report.
Late Rent – Rent isn’t reported late or negative to the credit bureaus unless it’s over 30 days late with RentReporters and 15 days late with eRentPayment. eRentPayment allows a landlord to include a late fee in the rent payment, but the transaction won’t be reported late to the credit bureaus automatically. The landlord would have to purposely adjust the transaction to report it negatively. Otherwise, it’s reported as an on-time payment.
Pros & Cons – The benefit of eRentPayments is that it reports to all three credit bureaus, the downside is they don’t report past rental history and the tenant has to rely soley on the landlord or property manager to participate. The benefit of RentReporters is that it reports up to two years rental history, but only to one credit bureau.
Cancel RentReporters after 30 days –
It normally costs $59 to sign up with RentReporters. But you can save $10 by using the coupon code: BA969. Contact me if you have trouble with this code for any reason. If you sign up for eRentPayments in addition to RentReporters, you only have to keep RentReporters until your previous rental history shows on your credit report. If your landlord is cooperating with you to report your current and future rent payments with eRentPayments, you can cancel RentReporters so you don’t have to keep paying the $10 a month.
Both services allow a way for roommates or spouses to also get their rent payments reported to credit bureaus.
I recently went to one of the monthly lunch and learns offered by Home Repair Services. And, wow! If you’re a homeowner in Kent County, this is an organization you NEED to know about.
Home Repair Services is a non-profit organization focused on strengthening Kent County homeowners post purchase. It offers a repair team for vulnerable homeowners, as well as DIY services for all Kent County Homeowners.
For example, low income homeowners could get repair assistance to replace a furnace, a roof — or even a leaky faucet — for about 15 percent of the cost. Homeowners, and also renters, with mobility issues could get help adding a ramp for easier access to their home.
Scroll down for more detailed information on each program and service offered.
Follow the links for:
Speaking of remodeling… the following is a short, but cool video on three Kent County homeowners who remodeled their kitchens DIY style, with coaching and discounted materials with Home Repair Services. Any Kent County home owner qualifies, as long as they reside in the home!
(Each heading is a link to its associated webpage)
Each working day, Home Repair Services sends professional service technicians into neighborhoods to handle minor or even the most urgent and critical repair problems facing qualifying lower-income homeowners. More info…
These are free financial coaching classes to any Kent County resident who can attend. The next set of classes begin March 1, 2017. Class titles include: 21 Day Financial Challenge; Cash is King; Managing Credit; Insurance; Foreclosure. There are no income restrictions. Download the PDF schedule OR get more info…
This is amazing! I want to recommend all Kent County homeowners take advantage of this service! It’s a free program in which the HRS Self-Help team will work with you to help plan for regular maintenance and home repairs. This routine maintenance and long-term planning will help save time and money, as well as maintain the value of your home. More info…
During the check-up you will-
Last year, HRS handled about 20 pre-foreclosure cases per month. They helped 112 people avoid foreclosure. Financial coaches assist in getting in contact with the mortgage company and working out a payment plans. There are no income restrictions. Flyer. HRS Financial coaches also spotted 20 households with 2015 tax exemptions and were able to help these homeowners get a refund for up to three years in over payment. More info…
Qualifying lower-income residents throughout Kent County with mobility impairments can request home access modifications from Home Repair Services. These include wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, handrails and bathtub modifications. The copay for services is based on a sliding fee scale and ranges between 10% and 20% of a typical job’s total cost. More info…
HRS offers DIY classes in plumbing, electrical, drywall, ceramic tile, flooring and cabinet installation. All classes take place at 10 a.m. every Saturday, are free and open to the public. Download the PDF schedule of upcoming classes. There are no eligibility requirements. Just walk in and have a seat! Participants who complete all six sessions of our “Rookie Renovators” series will receive a certificate of completion. More info…
Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? What about your bathroom? Remodeling Together offers resources you need to do it yourself successfully and at a lower cost. There are no income restrictions. The program includes free in-home design support, hands-on classes, lots of time with experienced remodeling coaches and a large selection of high quality kitchen cabinets, countertops and tile with passed on discounts. If you own or are buying your home and are willing to do some home remodeling work yourself, then Remodeling Together is a great option! (Scroll up to see video posted earlier in this blog post) More info…
Posted in DIY, Foreclosure, Home Repair, Home Values, Homeowners Tagged with: affordable housing, cost of living, DIY home improvement, fixing foreclosure, for sale by owner, fsbo, getting my house ready to sell, grand rapids, home repair, homeowner, i want to sell my house, kent county, selling your home in foreclosure, stopping foreclosure, west michigan, west michigan realestate
If foreclosure is imminent or you’ve recently gone through a foreclosure, the next step is to pick up the pieces and figure out what to do next.
The first stop is easy. Just breath. Take a big sigh of relief. Then, inhale the positive energy and exhale the negative. You more than likely have been dealing with a lot of stress over the last few months, and everything you’ve been dreading and fighting agains is upon you. But, it’s not the end.
Yes, there is life after foreclosure. I don’t mean you get to just walk away and forget it. Instead, this is a time of reflection, evaluation, rebuilding.
It might not be easy. In fact — if you’re lucky — this might be the worse thing you’ll ever have to go through. Yes, there are worse things than foreclosures. Still, the next few months will require “pull up your bootstraps” kind of effort to get yourself to the next step. I’ve compiled a list below of what you’ll need to think about now, beginning with where to live…
If you know you’re facing foreclosure, but a sheriff sale hasn’t taken place on your home yet, you still might have options instead of foreclosure. Read my recent post “Facing Property Foreclosure & How to Fix It.”
Live in the Home – If your state provides a redemption period after the sale, you often have the right to live in the home payment-free during this time period. For example, in Michigan, most homeowners get a six-month redemption period (up to a year in some cases) during which time they can live in the home.
Redeem the Home – Some states permit a foreclosed homeowner to buy back the home within a certain period of time after the sale. This is called a redemption period. To redeem the home, you would have to pay the total purchase price, plus interest, and any allowable costs, to the purchaser who bought it at the foreclosure sale. (Learn more general information about the right of redemption.) In order to redeem, the former homeowner has to come up with another source of financing. However, getting a bank to lend you money after a foreclosure can be very difficult, even if you have a steady income, since your credit score will have taken a bit hit.
Move Out or Get Evicted – If you don’t move out after the purchaser gets title to the home (typically either after the sale or after the redemption period), the new owner (often the foreclosing party, i.e. the bank) will start eviction proceedings to remove you from the property.
Rent – Most people become renters after experiencing a foreclosure – purchasing another house right away is usually not feasible. However, since a foreclosure appears on your credit report and most landlords check credit reports, finding a rental is not always a piece of cake either. The best thing to do is be honest and up-front with potential landlords. Explain why you were unable to keep up with your mortgage payments, and why paying your rent won’t be a problem (e.g., your mortgage payment increased and the rent is much lower, you were out of work for six months but have a job now). If you have a positive payment history for other bills, such as a car loan or utilities, mention it. Offering a higher security deposit, if you have the cash, or a co-signer with a positive credit history can also help. (They don’t have to live with you – just sign the lease, which makes them on the hook for rent payments if you don’t pay. Of course, you’ll need to find someone who is willing to be a co-signer.) Individual landlords are often more flexible and willing to overlook a foreclosure than a management company running a large apartment complex.
Understand the Deficiency Balance – The deficiency balance is the difference between the balance remaining on your mortgage and what the lender is able to get for the property. So if you owed $325,000 on your mortgage and the house sold for $200,000, you would have a deficiency balance of $125,000. In Michigan, the lender may obtain a deficiency judgment following a nonjudicial foreclosure, but the borrower can contest the amount of the deficiency if: the lender was the purchaser at the foreclosure sale, and the foreclosure sale price was substantially less than the fair market value of the property.
It is possible that you will be sued and your wages garnished. You can apply for a hardship exemption to stop garnishment, although this can be difficult to get. Filing for bankruptcy is another way to stop garnishment, but it will further damage your credit report. It is also possible that the lender may be willing to set up a payment plan or forgive the deficiency balance. In general, the IRS considers forgiven debt income, and requires you to pay taxes on it. However, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, you do not have to pay taxes on a forgiven deficiency balance if the home was your primary residence and the mortgage was used to build, purchase, or improve the home. (Refinanced mortgages are covered to the extent of the balance on the original mortgage at the time of the refinance.) Resource: Filing Bankruptcy Before or After Foreclosure
Consider Your Next Tax Bill – Uncle Sam always wants a cut, and it’s no different when you go through a foreclosure. It comes as a shock to many people, but the federal government considers a forgiven debt as a form of income, which means you might have to pay income tax on a foreclosure.
Repair Your Credit – The first step on the road to recovery is to start repairing your credit. The best way to repair your credit is to continue using credit, but make sure you keep up to date with your payments. People often make the mistake of closing credit lines or cutting up credit cards when their scores take a major hit. But shunning credit altogether only leaves a large gap in your credit history, which is nearly as troubling to lenders as a bad credit history.
Learn to Budget and Save – Regardless of whether you are a millionaire or making minimum wage, the foundation of financial success is the same – budgeting. Budgeting means analyzing what you have coming in, then developing a reasonable and goal-oriented plan for what goes out. Essentially, a budget is a tool that can help you make the most of your money. One of the best things you can do to prepare for the unexpected is to save. With savings, you don’t have to put car repairs or medical bills on your credit card or worry about how you will pay your rent or electric bill if you lose your job. Set yourself up for success by making saving an automatic process via direct deposit through work and periodic automatic transfer of funds from your checking account to your savings account.
Think About the Next Home You’ll Own – Repairing your credit is only one part of the waiting game. You’ll still need to find a lender willing to offer you a mortgage. Unfortunately, after a foreclosure, many lenders will give you the cold shoulder. However, there are some government-backed loans that can help speed up the process. For many people, an FHA loan will be the quickest path back to homeownership. After a foreclosure, the government body requires a three-year waiting period before you can qualify for another FHA-backed loan.
Posted in FHA Loans, Foreclosure, Selling Tagged with: affordable housing, after foreclosure, FHA loan, filing chapter 13, fixing foreclosure, grand rapids, home loan, michigan, real estate, selling your home in foreclosure, stopping foreclosure, west michigan
My name is Sylvia Dana and I’m a realtor. In 2006, I was a homeowner who found herself behind in house payments and facing foreclosure.
Once a homeowner gets behind on house payment, the effects can easily compound into a snowball, turning into a seemingly unstoppable avalanche in the lives of a family. Dealing with an impending foreclosure feels embarrassing, shameful and paralyzing. It can negatively affect your job, your relationships and even your health. I know it well.
I was a young teacher and a single mom of a 11-year-old boy. I was paid a fixed salary once per month and I didn’t have the money to save my home. I stopped picking up the phone. I didn’t open the mail. I thought I had time. I was wrong.
It was only two days before my house was to be auctioned at a sheriff’s sale when a realtor came to my door, alerting me to the reality of my situation. He didn’t tell me what to do next and he didn’t tell me what he wanted from me, or if he could help. But the day I realized I would lose my house in two days’ time, is the day I finally took massive action.
The problem is: being out of time makes one that much more desperate. Remember, my experience took place early 2006. It was immediately before the economic downturn and people knew a lot less about foreclosure issues than they might know now. I certainly didn’t know anything about foreclosure or how to fix it, so I got online to find some answers and fell into a trap of scam artists — “lawyers” charging hundreds of dollars to simply take a call and give advice.
Like I said, there wasn’t a lot of information available at the time, so I wired almost $900 to a company claiming they could help me by letting me talk to a lawyer over the phone. During the phone call, the “lawyer,” if he was a lawyer, told me to file Chapter 13 to stop foreclosure. Then he told me I needed to give $179 more to get the correct paperwork faxed to me. I didn’t know what else to do. It seemed I had no choice. I did exactly what I payed a stranger over the phone to tell me what to do — I went to the US Bankruptcy Court and filed Chapter 13, effectively stopping the foreclosure on my home.
Immediately after filing Chapter 13, I felt a huge relief from the stress of facing foreclosure. I could finally breathe. I was smiling again. I bought myself time and peace of mind, for a little while anyway. Once I stood in front of a judge and trustee, I discovered it was going to be a long road ahead. Getting squared away on my house payments and other debt wasn’t going to be easy, but the court granted me Chapter 13 bankruptcy because I had proved I could make enough income to catch up.
For some, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or making the decision to walk away from a mortgage could be the only option. But for me, filing Chapter 13 was the right thing to do. I wanted to stay in my home and prevent a foreclosure on my credit report. With Chapter 13, there were a few hoops to jump through, but it was worth it. I went into the Chapter 13 with the purpose of catching up on my mortgage payments so that my son and I could stay in our home. But then something happened.
My neighbor Krista, who lived across the street from me, listed her home with a realtor. She put a sign in the front yard and her house sold two days later, and for more money than she was asking. When I learned of her success, I asked Krista for the realtor’s contact information. I wondered if her realtor could work some of the same magic for me. Later that day, Lisa — my realtor — came to my home. She told me how much money I might be able to sell my home for and how soon it might sell. She told me she was fairly confident I could get a lot more than what I bought the home for three years prior. The profit from my the sale of my home would help me, not only pay off my home loan, liens and closing costs, but also pay off other debt. So, I decided to list my house with Lisa. I was completely open and honest with my realtor about what I was going through, so she could give me the best guidance.
Once I listed my home, I filed a motion with the bankruptcy court to dismiss the Chapter 13 case. (I’ve learned since that I could have simply asked for permission from the judge and trustee overseeing my case to sell my home while in Chapter 13, but I didn’t know any better. And since Lisa was my realtor, not my lawyer, she couldn’t tell me what exactly to do. And after paying $900 to talk to talk to a lawyer for three minutes, I was capped on lawyer funds. So, I winged it on my own.)
As blind luck would have it, I accepted an offer on my house one week after listing it. Lisa held my hand through the process and made it as easy as possible. Still, there was some stress to work through and obstacles to overcome while the contract on my home sale was pending. For example, there was a point the buyer of my home thought about pulling out of the deal, but then had a change of heart and stuck with the terms of the contract. Then, since I dismissed my Chapter 13 case all together, instead of just getting permission to sell my home while in Chapter 13, the credit union holding my car loan came to repossess my car while I was packing! My home sale transaction hadn’t closed yet, so I didn’t have the money from the sale to get my car. My realtor Lisa helped me by renting me a car for a couple of days, until I got the check from the sale.
After all was said and done, Lisa handed me a check for $15K, which was enough for me to go to the credit union to get my car and pay it off in full for $8K. I had another $7K left to re-start my life.
For me, filing Chapter 13 to stop foreclosure, and then listing my home for sale was the best thing I could have done. Is the same strategy right for you? That’s something you’re going to have to decide for yourself. The realtor that came to my door two days before my home was to be auctioned helped me take action. But he wasn’t my Lisa.
I want to be different. I want to be your Lisa. I want to help those who might be facing foreclosure. I’m not a lawyer, I’m a realtor — and fairly new to the real estate industry. I plan to continue learning more about this issue to be of even better service, but for now I hope sharing a bit from my own experience stopping foreclosure is helpful.
The following are some links to foreclosure and bankruptcy information to help you decide which path might be the right one for you: