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How Is Eviction Different From Foreclosure?

Investing in a home is an important life step to take, and it is not one that everyone takes during their lifetime. Whether for financial reasons or because of personal choice, some people choose to rent an apartment or house instead of agreeing to a thirty year mortgage payment. But a lease agreement is similar to a mortgage in that if the payments are not made you can find yourself out of a place to live. The difference is that in a rental situation the landlord does not file a foreclosure case, but instead will initiate eviction proceedings against you.

An eviction is governed by the Landlord and Tenant Act and it is different from a foreclosure in these ways:

  • The resident does not have an ownership interest in the property in an eviction, but does in a foreclosure.
  • The controlling document in an eviction is the lease, but in a foreclosure the controlling documents are the promissory note and mortgage.

An eviction case is also a much faster action than is a foreclosure. Many of the defenses that area available in a foreclosure, such as challenging the lender’s ability to foreclosure by claiming the lender is not the note holder, is not also available in an eviction case. The most popular defense in an eviction case is to claim that the rent has been paid, but if you raise this defense you have to be prepared to provide proof of payment. You might also fight an eviction by claiming the landlord has breached the terms of the lease and that the nature of the breach is such that rent  need not be paid. Common examples are the landlord’s failure to maintain the property which results in the tenant spending money to make repairs. In that instance proof of the breach of lease will be required and you will also have to show that the actions you took were needed. In order to determine if you have a valid defense to an eviction, contact a knowledgeable debt management attorney. Call us today to learn more.

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

 

 

Five Foreclosure Facts You Need To Know Now

Your home is your largest investment, and it is where you go to relax and unwind from a long day, or to host parties with friends and family. Your home is also your biggest expense and for most people on tight budgets, staying in their home is priority number one when financial trouble hits. Knowing what to do in the event of a foreclosure will help you to keep your home, and will also help you learn how to communicate with your mortgage lender on their level.

With the rise in foreclosures in recent years, knowing what defense strategies work best will help you to keep your home. It might seem fruitless to take on the big banks but several homeowners have done just that, and won! NBC news reported on the issue at a time that was right in the middle of the foreclosure crisis, and the lessons learned then still apply today. Five things about foreclosures that you need to know now are:

  • In order to maintain a foreclosure matter the lender must have standing. Standing is a legal concept that means a party initiating an action must have the ability to do so. In the case of a foreclosure this starts by requiring the lender to show they actually hold your note.
  • The lender must submit documents to the Court properly and accurately. You are within your rights to question bank representative signatures and other information. If the documents are not authentic, the foreclosure case must stop.
  • You are entitled to a pay history, and should ask for one to be sure all the payments you have made are showing as credited to your account.
  • Some lenders will agree to a modification of your loan, but you have to ask. If you qualify, your payments can be reduced and perhaps the past due amount rolled back in to the modified loan so you are considered current.
  • If you are active duty military, the lender has to obtain special permission to enter a judgment against you. If the lender fails to take into account your military status you can fight the foreclosure.

If you are facing foreclosure, call us for help. We will help you identify a strategy that works for you and pursue remedies that keep you in your home.

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

Five Ways To Avoid Going Into More Debt If You Get Laid Off

Losing a job is never easy, it disrupts your daily routine and causes your budget to stretch even farther. If  your finances are already tight, being laid off can make it hard to make ends meet. It might be tempting to resort to credit, or to take out another mortgage on your home, but these steps can cause you more harm than good. With a little creativity, you can avoid going into a lot of debt in the event you find yourself unemployed.

The best thing you can do to avoid going into debt if you laid off if to have an emergency fund to fall back on, but this is not something that everyone is able to accomplish while they are working. In most cases paychecks are barely covering expenses, so it is hard to put money into a savings account to be there for an emergency like losing a job. This means you will have to come up with other solutions to avoid falling too far behind if you become unemployed. Five things you can do include:

  • Advise your credit cards you are no longer authorizing certain automatic drafts. If your car insurance or another recurring expense comes through a credit card (even on you pay off monthly), now is the time to stop using that card for this expense. Doing so will help save you interest and other fees that may accrue if you are no longer able to make payments on the card.
  • Reevaluate your budget and cut out what you can, even if it is just a temporary cut.
  • Pay only the minimum payment when possible, putting more into savings than to your existing debt. This may seem counterintuitive, but you can resume a payoff plan once you find a new job while ensuring you have enough money for your necessary expenses.
  • Call or write your creditors and ask for a deferment or a reduced interest rate so you can manage your payments.
  • Cancel vacations and other prepaid events, if you can get a refund.

You should also shop around for better rates on phone service and other monthly expenses that can be adjusted. Clipping coupons and shopping for generic brands will also save you money. If you are lucky enough to find a new job before you hit your financial bottom you will be able to start saving and repaying debt. But if you are not able to do so you do have options. Call us to find out if bankruptcy is right for you, or if negotiating settlements with your lenders will work.

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

 

 

Three Reasons To Keep Track Of Your Credit Score

Americans are not unfamiliar with being labeled or referred to by a number. When you are born you are given a social security number, and this number will follow you for the rest of your life and be used on things like filing taxes and applying for loans. As you get older there are other numbers that become associated with your identity, such as a driver’s license number, student ID, or employee badge number. One of the most important numbers that impacts your life as far as your finances are concerned is your credit score. Your credit score is looked at when you apply for credit and can dictate what type of loan terms you are offered.

Your credit report contains information about what debts you have, your payment patterns, whether you have filed for bankruptcy, and whether you have any money judgments against you. Depending on these, and some other things, your credit report comes down to a final credit score. Three reasons it is a good idea to keep track of your score are:

  • The better score you have the lower interest rates you will be offered when applying for loans.
  • Your auto insurance rates depend in part on your credit score. For drivers with higher scores, lower insurance rates are available.
  • Renting an apartment or car may come down to your credit score. A lower score is an indication you are a risk, and a landlord may not feel comfortable taking the chance the rent will go unpaid.

You work hard for your money, so you should also work hard to make sure your credit is in good standing. If you believe there is an error on your credit report you can ask to have that error removed. We have experience disputing notations on credit reports, and helping our clients to clean up their credit. Callus today if you have questions about your credit and how it impacts your daily finances.

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

 

 

Avoid Overspending With This Top Ten List

Even the best plans can go astray, and if you have a budget that has been working there may come a time when you “fall off the wagon”. Perhaps you needed to help bail out a friend or family member from a bad investment, or have received a traffic ticket or increase in homeowner’s insurance. Whatever event has come up that has caused your budget to go out of whack, you can take comfort in knowing there are things you can do to get back on track. One solution is to consolidate debt, or to file bankruptcy. Still yet you may be able to avoid overspending altogether with a little planning.

Ten tips to avoid how to overspend, so you can stay on track and on budget, include:

  • Plan your expenses, and then stick to your plan. Before you go shopping, even for necessities, make a list of what is needed. Clip coupons for items on your list and do not deviate from your plan.
  • Plan how much you will pay for an item, and make sure the expense is in line with your budget. If you cannot find what you need at the price point you are comfortable paying, wait. Many times you can find the same thing a week or two later on sale.
  • Shop around for the best price. This goes for everything from groceries, to clothes, to loan rates.
  • Avoid using credit when possible.
  • Put a portion of your paycheck in savings every month.
  • Do not make purchases when you are in an emotionally charged state, whether that state is one of happiness or depression. Severe mood swings can alter your ability to make rational choices about expenses.
  • Do not shop out of boredom. Find another activity to fill your time, and you will probably forget all about a purchase you wanted to make.
  • Buy only what you need
  • Find ways to fill your time with people and experiences rather than with things. You might be surprised how much fun you and your friends have taking on a DIY project instead of going out to the movies or dinner, you will save money and make memories all at the same time.
  • Ask for discounts when buying items, especially if the items is a floor model, slightly irregular, or the last one in stock.

If you are in financial trouble, call us for help. We will look at your circumstances and offer solutions. Sometimes the best answer may be bankruptcy, and other times it might be to negotiate with your lenders for more favorable terms.

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

 

 

Three Keys To Coming Up With A Budget That Works

Sitting down and making up a budget is just about as much fun as doing your taxes. But having a budget and finding ways to stick to it, are necessary parts of life if you want to have a healthy financial bottom line. Many times when a task seems too hard, it becomes easier with a little research and after you get started you may wonder why you ever put it off initially. This is true of writing that term paper you didn’t want to write while in school, preparing for a presentation at work, and even developing a financial plan that fits your income and financial goals.

Luckily, we have done some of the research for you and this should make getting down to business about a budget a little easier. Three keys to coming up with a budget that works for you include:

  • Identify the amount of money you make every month, and how much of it you have to spend on living expenses. At first the best idea is to write down all of your expenses, even the ones you think you can do without. Once you see, on paper, where you money goes every month you will be able to start making adjustments.
  • Don’t forget to include unexpected expenses such as car repair and maintenance, and the monthly cost of any semi-annual or annual insurance policies.
  • Include a part in your budget that allows you to save for emergencies. This is sometimes referred to as creating an emergency fund and it is important that when used the event is an actual emergency. Going on a vacation or buying something new does not constitute an emergency.

You should also remember to take into account any amount you tithe each month or give to charity as well as the expenses associated with extracurricular activities. It is also a good idea to have a catchall category of “miscellaneous”. This gives you a little breathing room so you are not tempted to spend outside of your budget. You also need to be realistic and look for expenses you can eliminate. For many this means brown bagging it a few days a week, or renting a movie rather than going to the theater. Whatever works for you, find it and do your best not to deviate from your plan. If you do find yourself in dire straits and in need of financial help with your bills, do remember that you have choices. Call us to find out what to do if your budget has gotten off track and you need help finding a fresh financial start.

For more information about money, debt management, and budgets, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you, which could include bankruptcy or other workout plans with your creditors.

 

 

How Much Debt Is Too Much?

Everyone seems to have that one friend or family member who always seems to be struggling financially. Whether it is from student loans, credit card debt, or making investment missteps; it is easy to fall into financial traps that are hard to get out of if you do not have a plan. But the amount of debt one person carries without worry may not be the same for the next person. The way finances are handled on a daily basis is a personal issue, but if you are not able to pay all o of your bills then it is safe to say you have too much debt. If this is your situation, there are ways out from under the overwhelming burden of owing more money to creditors than you can repay.

The most popular way to eliminate debt is to file for bankruptcy. Consumers have two choices when seeking the protection of bankruptcy, as follows:

  • Chapter 7: this type of bankruptcy filing is like a liquidation of unsecured debt. Your credit card debt will be eliminated in its entirety during a Chapter 7 case, which gives you some freedom and flexibility in your budget. When you no longer have to make monthly payments on credit card balances that seem to go nowhere, you can take that money and save it or put it towards secured debt like your house or car.
  • Chapter 13: this type of bankruptcy filing is like a debt consolidation. In a Chapter 13 you will have to repay at least a portion of your unsecured debt, and still pay on your secured loans if you wish to keep the collateral. A Chapter 13 can last for up to 5 years, and during that time you will make a plan payment to the Chapter 13 trustee and he or she will distribute payment to your creditors.

There is no real number than can be identified as “too much debt”, the answer is personal. The bottom line is if you are not able to make ends meet every month, you need relief. We can help, call us today to find out how.

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

 

 

Two Problems With Forgetting To Save For The Future

We understand it can be hard enough to pay your bills as they become due, much less put some money aside for retirement. But if you fail to save for the future you might be setting yourself up for working longer than your health allows, or you could find yourself having to go back to work after having retired. Many employers offer a retirement plan, and this makes it easy to save for the day when you can stop punching a time clock. But if your company does not offer a 401(k) or other plan, you should take matters into your own hands and start putting some money aside today, for tomorrow.

US News and World Report highlights some of the reasons why saving for retirement is so important. Among the reasons cited are the facts that social security is dwindling, personal savings accounts are not earning at a fast enough rate to cover the gap between what you have in a retirement account and what you will need to retire with comfort, and the rate of inflation means you can expect to pay more for things when you retire than you pay now. If you are not able to put enough away for your future, you can face several problems when retirement times arrives. Two of these problems include:

  • Sacrificing on basic needs such as health care, housing, and food. Without enough money saved for your future you will find that you have to be frugal at a time when your focus should be on other things.
  • Moving in with your grown children in order to pay all of your bills and meet your financial needs as you age.

These possibilities should be motivation enough to find ways now to have a comfortable retirement. If you are having a hard time paying all of your bills as they become due, take steps now so your financial future can be bright. We can help, by offering solutions to your financial crises and looking for ways to help you budget your money. Call us today to learn more.

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

 

 

Three Tips To Help Make Ends Meet

Chances are, even if you have recently been given an increase in your hourly rate or base salary, you are still having a hard time making ends meet. This is because the economy is not at its best right now, and there are too many to count who have either lost their job or been forced to take a position that pays less than their full earning capacity. It can be stressful to see more money going out the door every month than is coming in, and when that happens you have to find ways to stretch your dollar. It can be hard, but if you are able to come up with a budget that works you will find that not only are you able to meet your obligations but you may even be able to put some money aside for a rainy day.

One way to free up some extra cash and focus on paying the debts that matter most, like your secured loans for your house and car, is to seek the protection offered by bankruptcy. You have choices when it comes to filing bankruptcy, and can opt for either a liquidation type of case or a debt consolidation. There are requirements that must first be met, and if you are not happy with the option that fits the facts of your case after having your circumstances reviewed, you can start to look for ways to cut back and save. Three tips for coming up with a budget that makes your ends meet include:

  • Negotiating lower interest rates on high rate credit cards. Many credit card lenders will work with you to lower your interest rate, which means a lower monthly payment. If your lender is unwilling to talk to you about a lower rate, you should eek the assistance of debt management attorney. A qualified attorney will work with your lenders for you and work towards results that mean lower payments for you and a chance to clean up your credit.
  • Cutting out extras, or at least scaling back on items considered luxuries. Taking your lunch to work rather than buying every day (or even just every other day) will help you to save on your monthly expenses.
  • Shopping around for the best rates and fees on things like auto insurance and cell phone service.

If you have exhausted your options to get creative with your budget, you do still have options. Call our office today to find out what will work for you.

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

How The Upcoming Election Will Impact Your Finances

The upcoming presidential election is drawing a lot of attention, most of that attention is focused here at home but the entire world is waiting and watching to see who takes his or her seat in the Oval Office this fall. The candidates for both parties are taking extra special care to make their positions known, as well as making sure we all know what their opponents’ plans include. This type of politicking can lead to confusion for the voters, never knowing who to trust or what to believe. And with so many issues up for debate that will have an impact on your daily life, it is important to know where those in the hunt stand. For many Americans the most important issues include homeland security, immigration, and the economy. Of these topics it is a safe bet to say that the economy takes first place among what matters most to the voters. But what does all of this mean for you personally, and for your bottom line financially?

A business magazine has this information to offer about what you can expect for your finances, depending on who is elected:

  • Programs to handle the growing student loan debt in the country are being proposed. If you owe student loans you might want to consider taking a look at each candidate’s position on this issue.
  • Your income tax rate is subject to change depending on who is elected, and with this type of change can come a different dollar amount on your weekly paycheck. Some plans will increase what you currently pay to Uncle Sam while others offer some relief.
  • Small business owners will also feel a financial impact depending on who moves into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

These important issues will be decided come November, and regardless of your political affiliation it is critical you exercise your right to vote. If you have strong feelings about certain issues you should do your research and vote in a way that makes sense for you. If you have questions about finances and need help with a budget or working out payments with creditors, we can help. Call us today to find out more.

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.