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Four Steps To Saving Your Home

One of the hardest things to do when you are short on cash is to come up with a budget that covers all of your expenses. And the biggest expense you have is probably your house. So if you are in financial distress you are probably trying to come up with ways you can save your home. There are several options, and the one you pick can also affect the rest of your monthly obligations. This is why it is so important to take steps that safeguard all of your assets, including your home.

Four steps to saving your home include:

• Developing and sticking to a budget. For most people this means cutting back or eliminating certain expenses. Many times the things cut out are considered luxuries and at first may seem hard to live without, but in a short time are not even missed. When you cut out certain expenses here and there, you have more money to pay your bills with each month, and can also gain a little wiggle room for an unexpected expense.
• Looking at other financing options for your home, to lower the payment. This might be a refinance, or a modification. Whatever will give you a payment that fits in your budget should be explored.
• Consolidating unsecured debt so you pay less for these debts each month, making it easier to make your house payment.
• Selling property you are not using, or do not need. This might be something as small as household goods sold at a garage sale, or making the decision to become a one car family. If you are able to get by on less for a while, give it a try. Remember, the situation may only be temporary and it is worth trying alternatives if it will save your home.

Another choice you have is to file for bankruptcy. This option will reduce or wipe out certain debts, freeing up your disposable income to make your house payment each month. With bankruptcy, you get a fresh financial start, which can also give you the emotional boost you need to keep your finances in check.

For help with your questions about finances and how to get out of debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that help get you back on your feet.

Why A DIY Approach To A Mortgage Modification Is A Bad Idea

Never before in recent years have there been more sources for how to complete a do it yourself project. You can google nearly any task and find a variety of videos to watch, or a step by step guide on how to get a project done the way you want. The DIY approach can save money and time, but is not the best idea for all circumstances. For instance, if you need a haircut you can probably find a YouTube video that shows how to cut hair, but if you do it yourself the result will probably look far from the end result in the video. The same is true for things that require legal or financial knowledge, and enlisting the help of a professional is your best bet. It might cost you a little, but there is no reason to take chances with your money, and your financial security.

If you are thinking about getting your mortgage loan modified, here are some reasons why a do it yourself approach to mortgage modification is a bad idea:

• If you are experiencing financial difficulty, you are likely under a lot of pressure. When you fill out form to ask your lender to modify your mortgage you will also be asked to submit a laundry list of documents. This is a huge undertaking and it can be frustrating to learn your lender still requires more data. Unfortunately, this is a common response from lenders and many homeowners find themselves in a seemingly endless cycle of resubmitting documents. But when you allow a professional to take on these tasks for you, you save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
• Not all offers of loan modifications will result in a manageable payment. It can take a time or two and some artful negotiation to get to a final decision that fits within your budget. Rather than spend your time going back and forth on the terms, let a professional help.
• Your credit could be impacted by a modification, and many of the terms of the new loan could be hard to understand. When you let someone handle the process for you, you will get a clear explanation of the terms so you are clear on what will be expected of you going into the newly modified loan.

Allowing someone else to handle the important financial decisions in your life can be scary. But our years’ of experience and proven track record are reason enough to call our office for help.
For answers to your questions about debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Three Good Reasons To Modify Your Mortgage

If you are short on your house payment each month, one of the things you should consider is asking your lender to modify your mortgage. A mortgage loan modification is a good way to change the terms of your mortgage, without having to go through the requirements of a refinance. In a mortgage modification your current lender will re-write your loan, giving you a lower rate and other beneficial terms. When your house payment drops, you have more money at your disposal to pay other bills or are simply put in a better position to be able to make your house payment.

A lower payment is always a good incentive to seek a modification of your mortgage. But, there are other benefits you will enjoy when your lender agrees to a modification, and three good reasons to do a mortgage modification are:

• When your payment is more manageable, you are able to pay on time and avoid late fees and additional interest.
• On time payments also help your credit score improve, which could mean better rates on some of your other loans. When your payment history is good on one loan, it has a ripple effect on the rest of your credit. The more things you can pay on time, the better your credit score will be and this means more favorable loan terms for your future lending needs.
• A modification can resolve a pending foreclosure. If you are facing a foreclosure, you should ask for a modification. Due to the concept of dual tracking, your lender is not allowed to continue a foreclosure action when you have an active modification request in the works.

In order to get a modification of your mortgage all you have to do is ask your lender. Well, that and fill out an application and then stay on top of the follow up status of that application. Many lenders are quick to send you the required application form, but then drag their feet in processing the request. But with our help you can get quick answers, and a result that meets your needs. If you are struggling to pay your house payment, call us for help.

For more information about mortgage loan modifications and how they can help you, contact us today at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will go over the facts of your case and let you you’re your next step.

Five Easy Ways To Lose Your Money: Tips From The Rich And Famous

Making money can be hard, but spending it comes all too easy for nearly everyone you know, including yourself. Forget for a moment that you spend your money on necessities, and think about all of the extras that people splurge on when pay day rolls around. Regardless of what you are buying, in today’s economy and with today’s prices, it doesn’t take long to burn through your bank balance. But when you run out of money, stress levels rise and something as simple as buying a morning coffee can become financially out of reach. If you want to hang on to your money there are things you can do, like come up with a budget and avoid using credit for everyday purchases.

But if you want to lose your money, here are five easy ways you can do that, as has been shown by the rich and famous:

• Overspend: it’s just that simple, buy more than you can afford to pay. This is one of the biggest ways people lose money, and is also one of the biggest ways to save money. If you stick to a budget and live within or below your means, you should not experience financial difficulty too frequently.
• Gamble: gambling is a popular way to lose money, because of its addictive qualities. Fortunately, there are organizations that offer help to people who have become addicted to gambling.
• Hire a nanny, or a housekeeper: these are great services if you can afford them, but when money is tight it is time to cut back on luxuries, and having staff on hand is certainly a luxury.
• Start a new venture: a lot of us dream of being our own boss, and venture out into the business world. Restaurants, boutiques and other stores are popular small businesses, and stars try their hands at these just as often as the rest of us; but not always with success. It takes a few years for a new business to turn a profit, and if you don’t have a stash of cash in the bank to cover overhead, starting a new business can cause you to lose your hard earned money.
• Investments: not all investments yield a return, when an investment tanks so does the money that was invested.

Of course it is not our hope that you go out and lose your money. This list is a short list of how easily it can happen, and if it does we are here to help. We can talk to you about bankruptcy, or other options to get back on your feet financially.

If you are considering filing bankruptcy to help eliminate debt, or want information on other options, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Do “Broke” Celebrities Still Have Large Net Worths?

The term net worth refers to the amount of assets a person has, over and above their liabilities. This might include a car or home, but only if they have been completely paid in full. If you own a fancy car or big house, your net worth is only increased by the value of that item that is not subject to a loan. So while the equity in your car or house might be included in your total net worth figure, the entire value of your property is not part of the net worth equation. This is because if you still owe money for something, you would first have to pay off the loan before being able to liquidate the collateral. Said another way, the amount you owe for something decreases your total net worth, by the amount you owe. This concept becomes important when you are applying for loans, because lenders will want to see that you have sufficient assets to sell or finance if you need to get your hands on some cash fast, to pay off their loan. If your assets are all encumbered, they are not valuable to a potential new lender.

For most of us trying to show a large net worth rarely comes into play. But if you are a celebrity, your net worth is probably higher and protecting what you have is critical to maintaining a certain lifestyle. Many superstars own more than one home, and several luxury vehicles. But for those stars that have fallen on hard financial times, and perhaps even filed for bankruptcy you may wonder if they still have a large net worth due to all of the property they own. It is possible, but more than likely that is not the case and here is why:

• Not many celebrities buy large ticket items outright, so there are loans on what they own.
• The motive behind financing property even if you have the money to pay for it in full, as most stars do at the time of purchase, it is not a good idea to lay out all of your cash and keep nothing in reserve.
• A common way to title property is to put it in the name of a company rather than an individual. Stars know this tip very well and often times form companies for the purpose of protecting their assets.

You don’t have to be a mega star to engage in smart financial planning, but you do need to enlist the help of a qualified debt management professional. To learn more about the ways you can protect your net worth, and also your assets, call our office today.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

What A Superstar Does After Filing For Bankruptcy

Experiencing financial set-backs is not something that happens only to everyday people. No one is immune from falling prey to unsuccessful financial decisions, and when money missteps are made it can be comforting to know that there is help. This is true whether you are an executive, an hourly wage earner, or a superstar celebrity. Most times help comes in the form of some sort of financial restructuring. That restructuring can be through artful negotiation with your lenders for more favorable repayment terms, a mortgage modification or refinance, or even filing for the protection offered by bankruptcy. For those that go through the bankruptcy process, the future is bright and it does not take long to start putting their life back together. What that post bankruptcy life looks like is different for everyone, but in most all cases it includes avoiding falling back into significant debt. One of the requirements of bankruptcy is to undergo debtor education, so those that file a case can learn from past experiences and put new money approaches into play after their case is completed.

For the average bankruptcy filer, typical steps taken after finishing a bankruptcy are to avoid opening new lines of credit or credit cards, and establishing a savings and/or emergency account. But if you are one of the many celebrities that have filed bankruptcy, here are some of the things that happen after a bankruptcy case:

• Use their star power to start a new business, or take part in lesser known projects like home repair or other celebrity television shows.
• Accept roles that would not normally be a consideration, to get back to work in a familiar field.
• Turn to employment outside of the entertainment industry.

Most times people do not have to drastically change their life after filing for bankruptcy, and are able to go back to their normal job and job duties. This might be one time where it pays off not to be rich and famous, because the changes are not as significant. If you are having a hard time paying your bills, call us to find out if bankruptcy is the answer you need.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Can I Still Take A Summer Vacation If I File Bankruptcy?

Going on vacation is a good way to take a break, relieve stress, and relax. But traveling costs…a lot. If you are already short on cash now may not be the time to plan a trip, unless you have a plan to fix your finances. One plan might be to cut back on expenses for a while, so you can pay off credit cards and have that extra money each month. Another plan could be to refinance or modify your mortgage, so your house payment goes down and gives you the breathing room you need. But if your money struggles can’t be fixed with these options, you should consider filing for bankruptcy. If you do, you may wonder if your trip to visit family or to the beach should be put on hold.

It does seem to go against the grain to go on vacation if you have filed or are planning to file bankruptcy but there is nothing to say you are not allowed to take a break. Here is what you should know though, if these are your plans:

• If you file a Chapter 13 case you will have to submit a repayment plan that fits your budget. If you have large travel expenses in your plan, the Trustee may question you about your motives for filing bankruptcy.
• You are not allowed to incur an expense in anticipation of filing bankruptcy. What this means is that you are not allowed to charge up a lot of debt with the intent to never repay it, and instead file bankruptcy to avoid repayment. This can be a tough standard for a creditor to prove, but it is not worth taking the chance.
• If you do take a trip during or just before a bankruptcy case, try to avoid splashing it all over your social media. Social media posts have been used as evidence against people in other types of cases, like DUI or divorce matters, and it is not too far of a stretch to think those uses may extend to bankruptcy cases as well.

We know how important it is for you to continue living your life, even during a bankruptcy. In fact, one of the goals of bankruptcy is to get a fresh start so you no longer struggle. Call us to find out more, and learn some of the dos and don’ts of filing a bankruptcy case.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

Four Things Budgets Do Besides Track Expenses

Having a budget is a sure fire way to keep track of what you make, and what you spend. But it only works if you stick to it, and keep records of how much money comes in each month and how much you spend during that same month. For many of us, the thought of having to come up with a budget is overwhelming. And this is especially true if you make less than you spend. But if you want to have a solid financial future, creating and sticking to a budget is one of the best ways to reach your money goals. Perhaps this is because when worked properly, a budget does more for you than just tell you what you spend.

Four things budgets can do for you besides tracking what you are spending, and that will help strengthen your overall financial picture, are:

• Help you to keep track of your account balances, so you can see the progress you have made towards debt repayment. When you see progress being made, you are more likely to stick to the plan.
• Show you where you can cut back or eliminate unnecessary spending. Most people are surprised to see what they spend each morning on coffee, or on eating out lunch every day. When you see these how these expenses affect your monthly cash outflow, it becomes easier to cut back.
• Give you more control over where and when you spend your money. When you see where you money is going, you are more likely to control your spending.
• Provide you a sense of accomplishment, which will encourage you to avoid overspending or making an impulse purchase.

We understand that coming up with a budget takes time, and a lot of work. But if you look at it as part of your routine, much like running the dishwasher or folding laundry, it can become second nature. However, even with the best budget in place, there may come a time when you need help getting back on track. One thing to think about if you are having a hard time managing your money is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can help you get out of debt, and the debtor education requirement can give you the budgeting tools you need for your future financial success.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

Can I Modify My Mortgage In Bankruptcy?

The single most expensive payment most families have each month is their house payment. A good rule of thumb is to spend no more than 25% of your take home pay on your mortgage payment, but many Americans exceed this limit. This may be because most people take into consideration other home related expenses when reporting what they pay for their house each month. For instance, taxes and insurance costs are frequently factored into total house cost, as is the costs of repairs and everyday maintenance. When all of this is added together, it is not surprising to learn that close to half of your take home pay can go towards your home. With the number so high, you might be wondering if you can change your payment by filing bankruptcy. It depends, and what you are allowed to do with your mortgage could depend on what type of bankruptcy case you file.

There are two types of bankruptcy cases filed by consumers; Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Here is what you can expect with regard to your mortgage in each type of case:

• In a Chapter 7 your mortgage lender will want you to either reaffirm the debt, or surrender the home. A reaffirmation is like a new contract, which will obligate you for the debt even after the bankruptcy case is over. Most reaffirmation agreements are a recitation of the same terms of your original loan, but in some circumstances you can negotiate some differences. With your mortgage, one difference you should be interested in making is the interest rate. If your lender is agreeable, you might be able to reaffirm at a lower rate and thus lower your payments. There is no guarantee your mortgage holder will agree to this, but it is worth asking.
• In a Chapter 13 case you get to pay back your past due payments over the course of several months, rather than pay them all up front. While you are paying the arrearage, you will also be allowed to pay the regular payment. This might not sound like it helps, but keep in mind you have more money at your disposal because you are no longer paying unsecured debts in full.

The same is true in a Chapter 7, as far as your unsecured debts are concerned. If you are worried your lender won’t reduce your rate, and that your payment will stay the same and out of reach, you can rest easy knowing that even if that is true you will be in a better position to make the house payment because your unsecured debts are wiped out entirely in a Chapter 7. When you have more take home pay in your pocket, you are able to make your money last longer. This helps you to make your house payment more easily, and save your home for going back to the lender. While these solutions may not be a true mortgage modification in the traditional sense, they do give you the relief you need.

For more information about how to manage debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

How To Have A Good Bankruptcy Case

If your finances are to the point where you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you will want to be sure that your case goes smoothly. Having financial difficulty is hard, there is no reason to make it harder by filing a bankruptcy case that doesn’t get you the results you need. In order to make sure you get out of your case what you are hoping for, you can take part in the process and do some things to ensure your case’s success.

Here are some things you can do to help have a good bankruptcy case:

• Give all of your debt and asset information to your attorney before your case is filed. If you have more debt than you can keep track of, one way to be certain you don’t overlook a creditor is to get a free copy of your credit report before you file your case.
• Show up to your 341 meeting a little bit early, so you can familiarize yourself with the setting and get comfortable. This is also a good time to ask your attorney any last minute questions you have, in order to calm any anxiety you may be experiencing.
• Organize your documents by category, so all of your income is readily at hand as is a list of all your debts.

Whether you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, your involvement in your case is key. A Chapter 7 will allow you to eliminate all of your unsecured debts, so you will want to take special care to list all of your unsecured creditors in your case. In a Chapter 13, you get to pay back the value of some of your debts and only a portion of your unsecured obligations. To have a successful Chapter 13 case you need to stay on track with your budget and make your plan payments to the Trustee on time. If you miss a payment, the Trustee might ask the Court to dismiss your case. In either type of case, you are able to get the financial relief you need. But in order to do so, you need to be prepared and organized. We will help you get a handle on what comes next, after you case is filed, so you know what to do during your case. Our success is tied to yours, so we go the extra mile to help you reach your financial goals.

For more information about how to handle overwhelming debt, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.