Articles Posted in Rebuilding Credit Scores

Published on: recently filed a dispute for one of our clients for student loans that were not accurately reported on her credit reports following our settlement.  What a difference it made — 595 to 749!

I’ve received a letter today from Equifax stating that the 4 disputed XXXX accounts have been “Deleted from the credit file”. I checked my Equifax report through credit karma and they are indeed gone making my score jump from 595 to 749!

One giant leap for studentkind!  Over 150 points in one fell swoop.  If you need help addressing your student debt or debt that is incorrectly being reported on your credit reports, please reach out to us.

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Inflation and interest rates are the two primary culprits.

Bankruptcy can actually be a fix to this problem and is something that everyone should evaluate NOW.  Does it make sense to clear the deck and start fresh?  Especially when that deck is stacked against most Americans who are not otherwise wealthy.  Especially, for anyone who has private student loans, the decision is pretty much a no brainer — bankruptcy can result in a full discharge of many private student loans or a very low payment plan, with very low interest.  Basically, a way out.

High credit card balances, underwater vehicle loans, unpaid rent — bankruptcy can easily fix this.

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Did you know that simply having a mix of accounts is 10% of your overall credit score?!

A mix of accounts can show that you know how to manage all types of credit.  It is good to have a history of repaying an installment loan, such as a car or student loan, but a revolving account, such as a credit card, demonstrates more clearly that you can responsibly manage credit because you have to control how much you charge and pay each month.

It’s easy to ask a creditor to increase your credit line on an account as well – this way the unused balance will be larger which also helps.

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home-buying-tipsMany Floridians have moved beyond the foreclosure crisis and are now in the market to buy a home – we have some credit rebuilding tips in our free e-book “Reboot Your Life After Bankruptcy”  This e-book is not just for those in bankruptcy, but it also may help those who went through a short sale, foreclosure, deed in lieu or simply collection actions and debt settlements.

Until October 31, 2019, Bank of America is offering a new program to price match for interest rates AND will offer ZERO origination points for certain mortgages.  In a study from Lending Tree, 60% of customers pay between $1,000 and $5,000 in origination fees.  In high-priced markets, a lender can charge over $10,000 in origination fees.

We are developing a series of Home Buying Tips to appear on our blog and website.  These will focus on those who have had financial or legal challenges to overcome.  We don’t know what’s the best school district or things like that, but we do know a lot about how to easily qualify for a home purchase within your means – or even to purchase an investment home/duplex/small apartment building.

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fcraMany of our clients are getting their feet back under them now from the bankruptcies and foreclosures of the past few years.  In our efforts to help them improve credit scores, we often will see an old creditor which reports a debt inaccurately after its been sold or transferred to another.  Some of these furnishers/creditors argue that once they sell the debt, they have no further responsibility to ensure accurate reporting for that debt.

This is not true.  The duty to report accurately does not end once ownership of an account transfers or is sold.  Any furnisher must re-investigate upon receipt of a dispute from a Credit Reporting Agency (CRA).  Failure to do so, opens both the furnisher and the CRA up to liability for an FCRA violation.  If the furnisher does not respond to the dispute, then the CRA must delete the tradeline.

Damages under the FCRA can be substantial and can include claims against all three of the CRAs as well as the furnisher if they do not abide by this law.  Statutory and actual damages are available as well as attorney’s fees and costs – which are usually handled on a contingency basis where fees and costs are only due in the event of a successful recovery.  Further information can be found on our website.

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expiredIf a creditor waits too long to sue, the creditor can be barred from ever bringing suit.  The purpose of having a statute of limitations is so that lawsuits are brought when the matter is still fresh:  before documents are destroyed and memories fade.  If they can no longer bring a lawsuit, then there is no way to legally enforce the debt.  Each state has their own laws as to how long the statute of limitations is and it varies tremendously by state and also by the type of action.  In Florida, the statute lasts five years for a written contract and four years for a credit card account.  While this seems simple, it is often amazingly difficult for a lay person to analyze because a contract may provide that a different state law applies, even a state that neither party has anything to do with.  The answer may also vary depending upon whether it is a procedural or substantive question of law or how complete the writing was.  The Florida Statute of Limitations on this is contained in Section 95.11:

Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows:

(2) Within five years.–

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credit rating arrows
Did you ever wonder why certain items appear on your credit report?  The answer lies in a federal statute, 15 U.S.C. 1681c.  A consumer reporting agency may not make a report that includes the following items.  I’ve bolded some of the more pertinent items that affect our Tampa Bay area Florida clients.  Not all creditors report, but when they do, they are supposed to provide an accurate report.  Remember whenever settling debt, there are ways to get the debt removed from your credit.

First if they report, we can ask in the negotiations for a trade line deletion. Then all the late pays and the fact the debt was settled for less than what is owed will not be reported any longer.  Second, if the debt buyer we are trying to settle with does not report, then we can obtain proof of payment/settlement and our client can then dispute the item.  The credit bureaus will return to the original reporting creditor for validation and they will not be able to validate that the debt remains unpaid.  Both options will clear the debt from our client’s credit which can help them qualify for a home or a better interest rate on a car for instance.

“(1) Cases under title 11 or under the Bankruptcy Act that, from the date of entry of the order for relief or the date of adjudication, as the case may be, antedate the report by more than 10 years.

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forclosure-vs_-short-sale~s400x400.jpgTraditionally in Florida, doing a short sale rather than allowing a foreclosure sale to occur is considered much better for your credit. Not so much difference in credit score per se, but mostly for future governmental financing when it is time to buy a home again.

You may think who cares, why would I want to buy another home after this disaster? The thing is, seven years is a long time to wait if you change your mind, get married or see a good deal.

Short sellers can qualify for new conventional loans in as little as two years. The same two year period of time that is required following a bankruptcy. Foreclosures though often require a seven year wait for a new mortgage that complies with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac’s guidelines.

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house shopping cart.jpgIt will take less time than you think to qualify to buy a home after bankruptcy. I generally advise my Florida clients that they will likely qualify within 2-5 years.

Where do these numbers come from exactly? FHA and HUD regulations are readily available online.

If you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, HUD Guideline 4155.1 : 4.C.2.g provides: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not disqualify a borrower from obtaining an FHA-insured mortgage if at least two years have elapsed since the date of the discharge of the bankruptcy.

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Fico 2.bmpFico 1.bmpA lot of our clients in the Tampa Bay area have questions regarding how exactly their credit score will be impacted by a short sale, foreclosure, or a bankruptcy.

A recent article by FICO, Banking Analytics Blog, researched these very questions.

The FICO study focused on three sample consumers with credit scores of 680, 720 and 780. As shown by the charts above, the answer depends a lot on what the existing credit score is. The higher your score is, the longer it appears to fully recover. However, after 18 months of otherwise good credit, this impact may be minimized.

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