Archive for the ‘Save Home,Car,Future’ Category

The Importance Of An Attorney Who Tells You Like It Is

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

It is simple. You need an attorney who will tell you like it is because it will save you time, save you money and give you peace and dignify your process. If you want advice on how to find the best bankruptcy lawyer click here. Otherwise, keep reading to learn about what makes different kinds of bankruptcy and debt solution lawyers tick.

All of us, even those in the “not-for-profit” organizations are out here to make money. We all have kids to feed, rent or mortgages to pay and daily expenses to cover. However there is a problem in that some attorneys feel the best way to make money is to tell you what you want to hear, and profit from what you don’t know. The right kind of attorney does the opposite. He wants you to empower you. With the attorney who tells you like it is, you can rest knowing that even if it is a hard truth, even if it means he will make less money, your attorney will tell you the way things stand. You see, the difference between an attorney who tells you like it is, and the ‘other’ type of attorney is the business model.

The attorney who tells you like it is has a unique business model. His business model is based on elevating the consumer, dignifying the client. His business model is as follows: The best way to make a lot of money is to do honest and excellent work. That way there is less stress and clients will like you more. Clients will recommend their friends; they will be your friends. This kind of attorney has clear and understandable information because he has nothing to hide.

The ‘other attorney’, who won’t tell you like it is, operates another way.
His business model is: the best way to make money is to take advantage of the uneducated consumer. He might charge you a low fee just to get your business, and then neglect or mess up your case after you pay. He might overcharge you because you are scared and desperate for relief. His way of doing things is to protect and preserve the myth of the “Smart Attorney” and “Clueless Client”. His retainer agreement is probably hard to understand and has small print. He might not take time to really see how you feel and treat you like a person. That all goes back to his business model; take advantage of the uneducated consumer.

Unfortunately, most businesses think “money first” and not “truth first”. That is why it is so confusing and there is so much misinformation out there. Debt Negotiation and Settlement Companies tell you their way is the best. Credit consolidation companies tell you their way is the best. You hear all kinds of crazy information about bankruptcy including the big 5 myths you can read here.

Waltzer Law Groups Business Model
We have three service goals for all clients.
If any one of the goals is not met, we consider it a failure.

  1. provide an efficient, errorless, low-stress bankruptcy
  2. do everything possible to dignify the client in his or her difficult time
  3. make the client love us as a firm. Satisfaction is not enough; we want love.

When you come into my office, I will only have one thing in mind: what is the best solution for you. I strongly believe that by prioritizing and elevating my client, I will elevate myself and make more money. It seems to work because I have helped thousands of people and I get referrals and wonderful testimonials every day.

In order to work for Waltzer Law Group, all staff must share this value. We do everything from Debt Negotiation to Counseling to Bankruptcy. But we don’t pick the solution that is best for us; we only pick the solution that is best for you.

Loan Modification and Reaffirming Debts After Bankruptcy

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Reaffirmation
Loan Modification

Reaffirmation

Reaffirmation is when after filing bankruptcy, you sign a document putting yourself back on the hook for the debt. Though sometimes clients have to do it in order to keep a car, I generally discourage reaffirming debt for the following reason.

If you reaffirm, you give up your bargaining position AND your right to walk away from the house or car. If you reaffirm and a year from now cant afford the mortgages or car payments and lose the house or car, YOU WILL BE ON THE HOOK for the balance of the mortgages. Remember, you can not file bankruptcy again for 8 years. By reaffirming, you put yourself at risk of having creditor calls and all other forms of collection (law suits, bank freezes, garnishments) from your mortgage company in the event that you cant make the mortgage payments.

It is true that reaffirming can help your credit a little. Also, sometimes you just have to reaffirm or lose what you have. Speak with your bankruptcy attorney to see if reaffirmation is the best thing for you.

Loan Modification

Waltzer Law Group can handle your loan modification. However, what is most important is that we will not take your money or waste your time by telling you we can get you results if we cant. This doesn’t mean that all of our loan modifications get approved, but we will only take Loan Modification clients we think have a chance at success.

This information is taken from the HUD site. You can see the page directly by clicking on this link. http://www.nls.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/nsc/faqlm.cfm

A Loan Modification is a permanent change in one or more of the terms of a mortgagor’s loan, allows the loan to be reinstated, and results in a payment the mortgagor can afford.

Question 1: In utilizing the Loan Modification option to bring an asset current, can the mortgagee include all fees and corporate advances?

Answer: Mortgagee Letter 2008-21 states in part: Legal fees and related foreclosure costs for work actually completed and applicable to the current default episode may be capitalized into the modified principal balance.

Question 2: May a mortgagee perform an interior inspection of the property if they have concerns about property condition?

Answer: Yes, per Mortgagee Letter 2000-05, page 20, the mortgagee may conduct any review it deems necessary to verify that the property has no physical conditions which adversely impact the mortgagor’s continued ability to support the modified mortgage payment.

Question 3: Can a mortgagee include late charges in the Loan Modification?

Answer: Mortgagee Letter 2008-21 states that accrued late charges should be waived by the mortgagee at the time of the Loan Modification.

Question 4: When utilizing a Loan Modification option, can a mortgagee capitalize an escrow advance for Homeowner’s Association fees?

Answer: HUD Handbook 4330.1 REV-5, Paragraph 2-1, Section B, Escrow Obligations states: Mortgagees must also escrow funds for those items which, if not paid, would create liens on the property positioned ahead of the FHA-insured mortgage.

Question 5: Is there a new basis interest rate which mortgagees may assess when completing a Loan Modification?

Answer: Yes, Mortgagee Letter 2008-21 states that the new basis interest rate is 200 points above the monthly average yield on U.S. Treasury Securities, adjusted to a constant maturity of 10 years.

Question 6: Will HUD subordinate a Partial Claim, should a mortgagor subsequently default and qualify for a Loan Modification?

Answer: If a mortgagor subsequently defaults and qualifies for a Loan Modification, HUD will subordinate the Partial Claim.

Question 7: Are mortgagees required to perform an escrow analysis when completing a Loan Modification?

Answer: Yes, mortgagees are to perform a retroactive escrow analysis at the time the Loan Modification to ensure that the delinquent payments being capitalized reflect the actual escrow requirements required for those months capitalized.

Question 8: Is the mortgagor eligible for the upfront premium refund at payoff of a modified loan?

Answer: It depends upon when the closing date occurred. For assets closed:

After July 1, 1991 but before January 1, 2001, the 7-year unearned premium refund schedule shown in Mortgagee Letter 1994-1 remains in effect,

On or after January 1, 2001 that are subsequently refinanced, the 5-year refund schedule shown in the attachment of Mortgagee Letter 2000-46 applies, or

On or after December 8, 2004, refunds of upfront MIP are eliminated except, when the mortgagor refinances to another FHA insured mortgage. The refund schedule attached to Mortgagee Letter 2005-03 has been modified to a 3-year period.

Question 9: Can a mortgagee qualify an asset for the Loan Modification option when the mortgagor is unemployed, the spouse is employed, but the spouse name is not on the mortgage?

Answer: Based upon this scenario, the mortgagee should conduct a financial review of the household income and expenses to determine if surplus income is sufficient to meet the new modified mortgage payment, but insufficient to pay back the arrearage. Once this process has been completed the mortgagee should then consult with their legal counsel to determine if the asset is eligible for a Loan Modification since the spouse is not on the original mortgage.

Important Considerations For Parents

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I have been practicing bankruptcy law in New York and New Jersey for many years. There is nothing more painful than seeing parents worry about debt when they have children to feed, nothing except being that parent.

I do absolutely everything I can to help parents, particularly single parents to get a fresh start. If you are a parent in debt, I strongly encourage you to have a hard look at your finances with a trusted advisor or me or another debt solution expert. Every day that you delay is money that you could have saved for your children’s education and betterment. The other issue is the stress of debt. It is impossible to keep stress from impacting your parenting. You owe it to your family to take action now and do whatever you can to prepare for your child’s future.

Below is a variation of a chart that I used to illustrate how bankruptcy can help people achieve home ownership. The chart below however, relates to creating a college savings plan for your child.

Consider two friends: Each has $30,000 in credit card debt. Until today, both friends have been making minimum payments of $300 per month. Both friends get the money from their family and gifts and overtime that causes a lot of stress in their lives.

Friend One: files bankruptcy today and starts saving her gift money.
Friend Two: does not file bankruptcy and keeps making minimum payments of $300 per month.

Who is going to have a college savings plan for her child?
See the Easy Chart Below To Understand!

Red equals Debt
Green equals Savings

  Today Six Months One Year Two Years Three Years
Bankruptcy (Friend One) zero $1800 $3600 $7200 $10,800
Non-Bankruptcy (Friend Two) $30,000 $30,174 $30,360 $30,153 $29,200

Three years from today:
Friend One who filed bankruptcy has a nice $10,800 saved for her child’s future. More importantly, instead of dealing with debt and being stressed, Friend One had time and peace of mind that made her better able to bond with her child.

Friend Two who did not file bankruptcy still has almost the same debt she started with. Her credit score wont be much better (and possibly will be worse) than Friend One who filed bankruptcy. Her debt is so high that she can never pay it. She just wasted three years and over $10,000. She probably has no savings and the stress of the creditor calls, and payments probably made her less patient with her child.

How Bankruptcy Can IMPROVE your credit score

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Contrary to the bankruptcy myths out there, particularly the total lie that you will have bad credit for 10 years, which is flat out false, for many people, bankruptcy improves your credit score.

In addition to this article there is an article in Wall Street Journal’s “Smart Money” that reaches the same conclusion. Click Here to read the article.

Bankruptcy will not prevent you from getting a really good credit score (even above 700) in less than two years after your discharge. Some clients even get it within 12 months! Can you pay off your debs and get even a 600 credit score in the next 12 months without bankruptcy? Probably not

Without bankruptcy, one or two or even five years from now you will be struggling along with your debt, missing payments and your credit will be terrible.

What most people don’t understand is that there credit score is already terrible.

Consider this chart comparing how the most common debt solutions will impact your credit score over a three year period.

Three Year Credit Score Comparison Chart (Who wins the race to excellent credit?)

  Month1 Month6 Month12 Month24 Month36
Debt Negotiation: good bad terrible terrible so so / good
Debt Consolidation: good bad bad bad so so
Bankruptcy: terrible so so decent good excellent
Doing Nothing: good so so terrible terrible terrible
Repaying on and off: so so so so so so so so so so

After filing bankruptcy you will have the opportunity to get good credit pretty quickly. You have to compare that to how long it would take you to restore good credit without bankruptcy.

Remember, the comparison is not:
‘your imaginary perfect credit score’ vs. ‘bankruptcy credit score’

The comparison is:
‘your CURRENT or PROBABLE credit score’ vs. ‘the post-bankruptcy credit score’

If you are reading this your credit is probably already almost as bad as with bankruptcy, or it soon will be. Bankruptcy will likely have almost no impact on your credit score if you have judgments and old unpaid debts.

If you are going to be late and miss payments, and you otherwise qualify for bankruptcy, there is no question about it. Bankruptcy is your best solution.

Buying A House And Car AFTER Bankruptcy

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Any honest bankruptcy expert or bankruptcy attorney can tell you:
Bankruptcy will not prevent you from getting a house or a car. In fact, it might even be the fastest way for you to be able to buy a house or car!

Usually what people are worried about is a car-loan or a mortgage. To buy a house you need good credit and a down payment. Bankruptcy can get you good credit quickly. Click here to see why.

Consider two friends: Each has $30,000 in credit card debt.

Until today, both friends have been making minimum payments of $300 per month. Both friends get the money from their family and gifts and overtime that causes a lot of stress in their lives.

Friend One: files bankruptcy today and starts saving her gift money. Friend Two: does not file bankruptcy and keeps making minimum payments of $300 per month.

Who is going to afford a house more quickly? See the Easy Chart Below To Understand!

Red equals Debt
Green equals Savings

  Today Six Months One Year Two Years Three Years
Bankruptcy (Friend One) zero $1800 $3600 $7200 $10,800
Non-Bankruptcy (Friend Two) $30,000 $30,174 $30,360 $30,153 $29,200

Three years from today:
Friend One who filed bankruptcy has a nice $10,800 down payment for a house. She has had three years to restore her good credit and her debt to income ratio is great! (she has no debt and only income; this is really good)

Friend Two who did not file bankruptcy still has almost the same debt she started with. Her credit score wont be much better (and possibly will be worse) than Friend One who filed bankruptcy. Her debt is so high that she can never pay it. Getting a good mortgage will be impossible. She just wasted three years and over $10,000.

The same principals that apply to getting a mortgage apply to getting a car loan.
Any honest and knowledgeable bankruptcy expert will tell you that if you need bankruptcy, it is the best option.

A little New York Bankruptcy Lawyer Humor.

A man is at the doctors office and finds out he needs surgery on his hand.
The man looks at his doctor and asks, “doctor, after the surgery will I be able to play the violin?”
The doctor replies, “Sure, after the surgery you will be able to play the violin”
The man smiles and says, “Thanks doc, because I always wanted to be able to play the violin”

Sometimes I feel just like the doctor when people ask me if they can buy a house after bankruptcy. People come into my office, making $30,000 per year with two children. They have $20,000 of debt and are barely able to pay rent. I tell them that they need bankruptcy and they ask me “but will I be able to buy a house afterwards”?

So the first answer is that if you need bankruptcy, than bankruptcy is certainly the fastest path to home ownership. Click the blue links to read about credit scores and how bankruptcy will improve your credit score faster than not filing bankruptcy.

In order to buy a house, you need to have good credit. If you have a huge debt to income ratio, and you can not pay your monthly credit card payments, your credit score is terrible. Before you think about buying a house, you need to get rid of your debt and rebuild your credit. For most people reading this right now, unless they expect a very dramatic increase in income or have a lot of money coming from a settlement or family member, nothing will help restore your credit like bankruptcy. Nothing will help you to purchase a home and car like having good credit.

Saving Your Home With Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Chapter 13 is famous for two things. Saving Homes and Being Complicated.

In the short term, chapter 13 can stop foreclosures and other creditor actions (much like a chapter 7). However, unlike a chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a plan of getting caught up with your creditor, namely your mortgage. The automatic stay that stops foreclosure is great but temporary. What is special about chapter 13 is the long term plan that gives you the room you need to get back on track and keep your home.

Given the complication of chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is really vital that you have not just an ordinary bankruptcy lawyer, but a really good bankruptcy lawyer who is experienced with chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you have had a hardship gotten behind on mortgage payments. Chapter 13 could be the solution for you. You want to keep your home but you need time to catch up with the unpaid back mortgage payments (called mortgage arrears). Sometimes the banks are so aggressive that they make it impossible for people who could otherwise afford their mortgage to stay. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for these situations.

Helpful Example:
Lets say your monthly mortgage payment is $3,000 and you are six months behind on payments ($18,000). Your bank is giving you some impossible catch-up plan where you have to pay $5,000 per month for nine months. You can’t afford it. Chapter 13 is your solution. So long as you can afford the chapter 13 plan payments, you can pay your regular mortgage and pay the $18,000 arrears over a FIVE YEAR PERIOD. That means you pay your mortgage and you pay an extra $300 per month in a chapter 13 plan. You can get caught up and keep your home.

Now imagine you also have $30,000 in credit card debt, but you can only afford to pay $300 per month in your plan. You might ALSO be able to totally eliminate your credit card debt in addition to saving your home!

Get Rid Of Your Second Mortgage
Another way Chapter 13 bankruptcy is great is that it sometimes enables you to strip (remove) a second mortgage. This is very complicated and again requires a real expert. Many chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys don’t even know how to do this! Any of my attorneys in New York or New Jersey will be happy to look at your situation and tell you if this is something that can be done for you.

When You Can Keep Your Car AND House In Bankruptcy

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

The answer to this question is really quite simple for any good bankruptcy lawyer. Where things get complicated is when you go see a New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer and your property is in New York. Luckily, Waltzer Law Group has New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyers, New York Bankruptcy Lawyers, California Bankruptcy Lawyers and lawyers in many states. This way, we can always answer your questions.

Keeping Your Car:

Cars with no equity: you owe more on the car loan than the value of the car) Your car is safe long as you keep making car payments. There are a few exceptions that your bankruptcy lawyer will explain.

Cars with equity: if your car is worth more than what you owe on it, or you own the car free and clear, without loans. IMPORTANT: If your car has equity, you need a bankruptcy attorney to help you protect your car.

Your car might not be safe. Whether it is safe depends on the value of the car, the title of the car AND most importantly, the state where you file bankruptcy.

For instance in New York Bankruptcy Law, the Bankruptcy Exemptions only allow you to have $2400 of equity per debtor on title! The New Jersey Bankruptcy Law has exemptions that protect a lot more equity.

Keeping Your House:

Rule Number One
The number one rule for keeping your house has nothing to do with bankruptcy.

The number one rule is that you can only keep your house if you stay current with your mortgage or modified mortgage. Bankruptcy or no bankruptcy, if you don’t keep up with payments you will lose your house.

There are a lot of scams out there promising people that they can keep their homes without paying for them. Forget it.

Rule Number Two
Never Lie To Your Bankruptcy Attorney About Your House and Who Owns It and Any Transfers or Refinances You Have Done.

Rule Number Three Make sure you have a GREAT bankruptcy attorney who is very thorough. If you don’t have a really thorough bankruptcy attorney, you might lose your house in bankruptcy. If your attorney is great, he or she will NEVER gamble with your house and you he will not file your case unless he can save your house. A good bankruptcy lawyer will always identify and communicate the risks to you.

Bankruptcy Exemptions: If your house has equity, you will have to ask your attorney about exemptions in your state. It would be irresponsible of me to pretend that this could be explained on a website. For something this important, you must have a consultation with an attorney. Waltzer Law Group offers free consultations and we are knowledgeable about all the bankruptcy exemptions including the homestead exemptions in New York, homestead exemptions in New Jersey and Homestead Exemptions in California.