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Does Shopping Around For Mortgage Rates Really Lower My Payment?

When it comes to making a major purchase it is always a good idea to shop around. Whether you are looking at getting a new car, taking a vacation, or buying a house the amount of money you pay is probably a major part of your decision making process. This is where negotiation and shopping around helps save you money. Car dealers often compete for buyers’ dollars by offering financing incentives and other sales, and travel sites can be a good place to compare hotel and flight packages. When it comes to a house, you already know it is common to go back and forth with the seller on a reasonable price, but did you also know you might be able to get a lower payment simply by how you pick your lender?

Shopping around for an interest rate for your mortgage can get you a lower payment, if you are able to find a lender who offers a low rate. Most times rates are lower if:

  • You have a good credit score, with minimal debt and a record of on time payments.
  • Agree to set up automatic electronic payments.
  • Get a loan from a local bank or credit union rather than a large lending institution. Locally owned banks and credit unions typically have more flexibility than larger banks and if you are member you may enjoy perks not offered by traditional lenders.

Once you have checked your options, go with a lender that offers the best rate for your loan. Other factors that might play into your decision include the repayment term length, whether you can prepay the loan without penalty, and the date on which your payments are due each month. Getting the best rate and repayment schedule will allow you to make your house payments on time, but even with the best planning it is possible to fall behind. If you have taken a financial hit and need help getting your finances back in order, consider filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will eliminate some of your debts, or at least reduce them so you can pay what remains. There are two types of bankruptcies, and the type of case you are eligible to file depends on your personal financial situation. Your secured debt to income ratio will be examined, and depending on how much disposable income you have each month you will be placed in either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help you make choices about your money that are right for you, and that will give you the financial freedom you deserve.

 

 

Four Things To Know About Mortgage Modifications

A mortgage modification is a way for homeowners to lower their house payment, and free up disposable income each month. The way it works is that the current home loan lender rewrites the loan, lowering the interest rate and giving you a lower payment. But the process can be complicated, and many homeowners become frustrated along the way and allow their lender to delay or stop the process short of doing a full modification. These possibilities make it critical to seek help when trying to modify your mortgage, so you are not taken advantage of and so that you can get to the end result you envisioned when starting to go through the procedure.

Four things to know about how mortgage modifications work and what you can expect when filling out an application are:

  • Your lender will ask for proof of income, and proof of financial hardship. Be prepared to provide these documents and also be prepared to keep copies and track delivery of what you have sent to your lender. It is always a good idea to send things by certified or overnight mail so you have proof of delivery.
  • Tracking delivery of documents you send your lender becomes necessary because many lenders ask for resubmission of things that have been previously provided. When you are able to prove delivery, you will be able to avoid spinning your wheels.
  • Temporary modifications are common, which require you to make a set number of payments under the proposed modification before the lender will make a final modification. The reasoning behind a trial modification period is so the lender is provided assurances you are capable of making the new payment.
  • Having an attorney present your application and negotiate on your behalf may get you faster results, and allow you to avoid the run around.

If a mortgage modification does not offer you the relief you need, you should also give filing bankruptcy a thought. Bankruptcy will either eliminate or reduce your debts, including both secured and unsecured obligations. So, if you need more relief than can be obtained by lowering our house payment, bankruptcy will give you that relief.

For more information about how to get out of debt by modifying your mortgage, filing bankruptcy, or a combination, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.

 

 

Three Ways To Stay Out Of Debt

Getting into debt is pretty easy, and once you get out of debt it is important to stay out of debt if you want to have any form of financial freedom. But staying out of debt can also present significant obstacles, and most people fall in and out of varying degrees of debt throughout their lifetimes. Knowing what to look for and how to avoid pitfalls will help you remain debt free once you obtain that status, and following a few golden rules will also help your bottom line stay healthy.

Three ways to stay out of debt are:

  • Stick to a budget: it is not enough to make a budget, you also have to stick to it and track your spending. Those that are successful with budgeting report that keeping track of the expenses in the budget is the best way to avoid overspending. There are many ways to track what you spend, and check it against your budget. You can download a free program, use a spreadsheet, or even do it the old fashioned way by writing down all of your purchases.
  • Research large purchases: we all have times in life where a new car or house need to be bought, but before heading to the dealership or calling a realtor, do a little homework to research certain products. When you have a good idea what a car or home is valued at, you will be able to negotiate on price so you do not overpay for an item.
  • Pay cash for things: avoiding using credit is one of the best ways to stay out of debt. If you have worked hard to pay off debt, wait a day or two before making a purchase with a credit card. Doing this often times results in avoiding the purchase all together because once people leave a store without buying, the chances of going back to spend money decrease.

Another way to get out of debt is to file bankruptcy. The key with this option is to abide by some or all of the above rules or others that work for you because once you file a bankruptcy case to eliminate debt; the last thing you may want is to diver right back in to taking on financial obligations you are unable to pay. But if you do, you should know that you can refile a case under certain circumstances to help with debt that arises after a case is over. There are specific rules on subsequent filings, and if you have filed before and need to file again, we can help.

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

Four Tips For Getting Out Of Debt

Becoming debt free is usually the first resolution made at the start of a new year, right after resolving to lose weight and exercise more. But even with a month or so of the New Year gone, the time is still right to make a plan to become debt free. Getting out of debt creates a positive cash flow and also gives families an emotional lift from the pressure burdensome debt places on their shoulders. Living debt free sounds good to nearly everyone, but is something that can be hard to accomplish unless a solid plan is put in place.

Four tips for getting out of debt that most people find relatively easy to implement are:

  • Cut back on luxury expenses: in order to do this it is important to make a list of things that are necessary, and identify which expenses are true luxury items. Common luxuries that can be cut from a monthly budget with little fanfare include things like making a morning coffee run and swapping eating lunch out for brown bagging it over the noon hour. It might seem hard to give up a specialty coffee in favor of an at home brew at first, but when bank balances grow from making this minor adjustment, the change is hardly noticeable.
  • Coming up with a budget: this might not be the easiest debt management tool to stick to, but once a budget is developed and put on paper it is more likely to be followed. And most people are surprised at where their money goes each month, seeing it in writing helps keep expenses in check.
  • Cutting up credit cards: unless credit card balances are paid in full each month the balances balloon quickly. If you are not able to pay your cards off each billing cycle, stop using them and focus on getting to a zero balance. Once one card is paid off, use the money from the payment to put towards another debt. Pretty soon this snowball effect will get you out of debt.
  • Starting an emergency fund: when you do need to make an emergency purchase or have an unexpected expense, it is best to do so with emergency funds; that way credit card balances do not have a chance to spiral out of control. Start your emergency fund by putting aside $10 or $20 per paycheck, after a short time you will have accumulated enough to cover a car repair without using credit or taking out a loan.

We understand that even with these tips debt is still going to happen. If you have tried to get out of debt by implementing the above, or other, methods but still find yourself in over your head, bankruptcy could be the solution you need. Call us to find out if bankruptcy is your best bet, or if you have other options that will help you keep your head above water.

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

 

 

What Happens To My Assets In Bankruptcy?

Most people are afraid to file bankruptcy because they do not understand the process. There are a lot of myths out there about what you can and cannot do during bankruptcy, and unless these myths are debunked it can be difficult to make a decision. One of the most common misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy has to do with your property. Many people are led to believe they can keep their stuff without having to pay for it if they file bankruptcy, but that is not the case. So if you are thinking about turning to bankruptcy for financial relief, a quick lesson in what to expect is in order.

It is true that you are able to hang on to your property if you file bankruptcy, but in order to do so you have to maintain payments. In a bankruptcy, here is what you can expect to happen to your assets:

  • If you decide to keep your house, or your car, you can do so by continuing to make the payments. This is generally done by signing a reaffirmation agreement, which is like a new contract for repayment of the debt. When you sign a reaffirmation agreement you agree to be legally and financially bound to the bank until the loan is repaid in full. If you fail to pay, the lender can repossess the collateral.
  • Your personal property is exempt from bankruptcy, up to certain amounts. This means the value of things like your furniture and jewelry are protected up to a certain dollar figure. A more thorough explanation is given when you sit down with your attorney to prepare your case, so no surprises will be forthcoming.
  • Investment and retirement accounts are typically safe in a bankruptcy, as long as certain parameters are met. Much like exempt property, the specifics depend upon the facts unique to your case and will be discussed prior to filing a case.

The bottom line is that you are able to hang on to your assets if you file a bankruptcy case, but every case is treated individually according to the distinct facts of the case. Our job is to go over all of the information about your case, and give you an explanation of how the law applies in your situation. Once you have heard the answers, you are in a good position to decide what is best for you.

For help with your questions about how your assets are handled in a bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that help get you back on your feet.

Is Bankruptcy My Only Answer?

The idea of filing bankruptcy can be off-putting to many people. For years there was a certain negative association with filing bankruptcy, but that stigma no longer exists in today’s society. Many celebrities have filed bankruptcy, and even the President has used this legal remedy for business purposes. Still yet, there are plenty of people who are hesitant to file a bankruptcy case and prefer to find other solutions to their money problems. Fortunately, there are other ways to handle burdensome debt and if one works for you, you may be able to deal with your growing debt load outside the four walls of the Bankruptcy Courthouse.

Alternatives to filing bankruptcy when you are struggling to pay all of your bills include:

  • Refinancing your mortgage: this tool allows you to find a new lender to write your mortgage loan, using the new loan to pay off the existing one. In this scheme it is ideal to find a new lender that will make you a loan at a lower rate, so your new house payment is lower than what you currently pay.
  • Debt consolidation: reputable debt consolidation companies will negotiate with your current creditors for more favorable repayment terms. This may include a reduction in interest rate, or allowing you to pay off the loan in one lump sum that is much lower than the current balance. In either scenario, you enjoy a substantial savings and can put your money to use elsewhere.
  • Modification of your mortgage: a mortgage modification is a plan whereby your current mortgage holder rewrites your current note, to a lower rate and lower payment. The benefit here is that you do not have to find a new lender, and the paperwork can be less cumbersome than when you apply for a loan with a new bank.

In any of these situations the guidance of an experienced legal professional is advisable. Banks tend to throw out confusing terms, or exercise delay in replying. But when you enlist the services of a reputable attorney, you can rest easy knowing the hard part is in someone else’s hands. You can also be assured that no viable option will be overlooked, and that you will not be taken advantage of by an unscrupulous lender. For help managing your debt, call our office today.

For answers to your questions about debt, contact us at  www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

 

 

Three Places To Turn For Help With Debt

Having more debt than can possibly be paid is no way to start a new year, so now is the time to get the help you need to secure your financial future. But figuring out what to do with overwhelming debt, or identifying ways to cut back on expenses is no easy task. It takes a lot of research, and a lot of discipline to become debt free. And it takes even more discipline to stay debt free once you have been given a fresh start. However, with the right financial tools and help by your side, you can get out of debt and remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Three places to turn for help when you need to know what to do to get out of debt, and to stay out of debt, are:

  • Professional financial counselors: these people will analyze your current financial situation and pinpoint areas where you can save, determine an order of priority for debt repayment, and give you advice on the best places to invest your money
  • Debt consolidation companies: these companies work with your current lenders to arrange repayment that fits your budget. One downside to using a debt consolidation company is that your lenders are not necessarily required to go along with a proposal, so if you are significantly behind on payments you may not get the relief you need.
  • Legal professionals: legal debt management attorneys know how to negotiate with your creditors when you fall behind, and can also file bankruptcy for you if you prefer to skip the negotiations and eliminate debt from the start. The type of case you are eligible to file will depend on your particular financial situation, and a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney can let you know your options.

If your financial picture is bleak, filing for bankruptcy could be your best choice. Bankruptcy allows you to decide what pieces of property to keep, and which ones to return to the bank. When you decide to hold on to a piece of collateral, you do still have to pay for it even in bankruptcy, but this is made possible by elimination of other debts. Bankruptcy gives many debtors the chance to start over every year, and may be right for you too!

For more information about how bankruptcy 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 Spots To Put Short Term Savings

Short terms savings are funds you set aside for use in the near future. The account is meant to be used for things like emergency home repairs or unexpected medical bills. The benefit to having a short term savings is that in a few short years you can accumulate enough money to take care of your present day needs, while still putting money aside for certain long term goals like retirement. But because short term savings are drawn upon much earlier than long term savings, you want to be sure to get the most out of your dollars, so it is important to know where to invest or “stash” your short term funds.

Five good spots to put short term savings are:

  • An online account, where you can easily deposit funds but are less likely to withdraw due to geographic or other restrictions.
  • Short term bonds.
  • An interest bearing checking or savings account, which may be through an online account or where you currently do your banking.
  • Certificates of deposit.
  • Making payments toward high interest rate debt, and then putting the payment into a savings account once the debt is paid. Doing this allows you to not only pay off debt, but also start saving once the debt has been repaid.

Saving for an emergency or taking action to start a savings account is always a good idea. When life throws a curveball, having money set aside for the unexpected will help you from going into debt to cover surprise costs. It is always best to allow your money to work for you whenever possible, which may be through a short term investment or might be by putting as much as possible into an employer backed retirement account. If you are not able to establish an emergency fund and still encounter expenses you were not anticipating, you do have options to help control the debt that accumulates. You can try to negotiate lower interest rates for loans when necessary, seek to modify your mortgage so your payment drops, or even file for bankruptcy when your debt load becomes too much to bear. If you need help finding a way out of debt, call us today.

For help eliminating debt and for tips on how you can start an emergency or short term savings fund, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com.

 

 

How To End The New Year Out Of Debt

If you started 2018 in debt, chances are you want to end the year without any debt. It might seem impossible, but with a little planning it is not unthinkable that you can end the year out of debt. There are a lot of things you can do now to make sure your year ends on a high note financially, and that will set you up for starting 2019 with more money in the bank for the things you need. Because the truth is expenses have a way of coming up out of nowhere, and when you lack the funds to cover an unexpected expense you can feel overwhelmed and frustrated.

Here are some things you can do now to help you end the year without any debt, or at least with a much lower amount of debt than you had when 2017 turned the page to 2018:

  • Develop a budget for what you spend every day, every month, and every quarter. When you put down your expenses on paper it is easier to see where you can cut back, or eliminate certain things from your spending habits. When you break down spending into time blocks, such as days or months, you can focus your attention on short term goals that will have long term impact.
  • Start a savings account, so you have money for expenses that come up out of the blue. Even putting aside $5.00 a week will grow if left untouched, and as you are able to add more to the account, doing so will only grow the funds faster.
  • Come up with a plan for debt repayment, whether you decide to focus on paying off smaller balances first or want to tackle debt with the highest interest rate first, when you have a repayment plan that makes sense you will see results faster. Most of us find it less difficult to stray from a plan when results are quick in coming, and this is especially true with debt elimination.

If your debt load is such that you are not able to pay all of it, then you will find it difficult to implement any of the above tactics. If that is the case, you should think about starting fresh by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will eliminate or significantly reduce unsecured debt, and that is the debt most people struggle to pay. When high rate credit cards are no longer due, you have more money to put towards other debts and living expenses. And when you are able to pay other things and meet your daily needs without difficulty, you are better able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and plan for a debt free future.

For more information about bankruptcy, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help you make choices about your money that are right for you, and that will give you the financial freedom you deserve.

 

 

Ten Tips For Setting Money Goals For 2018

Setting goals is a normal thing to do when the New Year starts. Most people decide to eat healthier and go to the gym more frequently, and some people resolve to spend less money and put more into savings. Other goals include refocusing on work tasks so promotions are not out of reach, or spending more time with family. Whatever the goal, professionals agree the best way to have success with goal setting is to take certain steps to achieve those goals. The first step is usually to make a list of what you want to accomplish, and then implement a plan to reach your goals. But there are also many steps along the way, and there are also bound to be missteps. In order to get to the end of the year with more success than failure with your intentions it is beneficial to have a guide.

Ten tips for setting money goals for 2018 include:

  • Identify the reason behind your goal, with money it may be that you want to save for a car or down payment on a house, or to get out of debt. Knowing the why behind the goal will help you remember what you are reaching for.
  • Come up with a system to get organized. You can create spreadsheets, use notebooks, or handwrite all expenses down on a legal pad. The key is to find what works for you and put that method to use.
  • Look at your budget frequently. Once you have organized where your money is going, you need to look at what you’ve organized in order to keep on track with a budget. When you write things down but don’t refer back to them, they become less important.
  • Look for ways to save money on every day needs, by changing out a restaurant dinner for one cooked at home to clipping coupons.
  • Make adjustments to your spending when you notice excess, or identify opportunities for savings.
  • Pay off debt as you become able to do so.
  • Stay on top of your credit score. With so many data breaches lately it is critical to know what is on your credit report, and to notify credit reporting agencies of any errors.
  • Start a savings account.
  • Put more into your 401(k).
  • Take stock of what you have spent at the end of every day, or monthly, to make sure you have not gotten off track.

When you have clear goals for your money, it is easier to reach those goals. If you are unsure of where to start, or believe you do not have the funds needed to make it from paycheck to paycheck, a good place to start is by filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will give you a fresh start, so you can set goals that are attainable.

For more information about how to get out of debt and save for the future, contact us at www.DsouzaLegalGroup.com. We will help by coming up with solutions that work for you.