I DO and Bad Credit

birmingham red bride100dpiIt’s been so exciting planning the Special Day!  You had a beautiful wedding, the guest celebrated with you, the cake was eaten, the limo whisk you off for the beginning of a relaxing honeymoon, but wait…what about your credit!

After the honeymoon the real fun begins-starting your life together. From a financial standpoint, that involves exciting stuff like buying a home and trading in your sports car for a minivan (okay, maybe not everyone thinks minivans are exciting).

Your FICO scores are a big part of many of your financial decisions now that you are a couple.  Here are a few important facts regarding your FICO scores.

  • You both have individual FICO scores.  You do not have a joint score.
  • When applying for a loan and stating both incomes, the lender will only look at your individual scores when evaluating your loan application.
  • Joint accounts, such as  credit cards or auto loans will affect both of your scores

pink-house-hi When applying for a home loan lenders look at the three FICO scores from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and your middle score is the score that your approval is based on.

Let’s say that Bob and Sue are married.

  • Bob has poor credit and Sue has good credit.
  • Bob makes more money than Sue.
  • Sue’s income qualifies for a 100K home and Bob’s income qualifies for 300K home, but they want to purchase a home for 375K.
  • Bob would not qualify for a loan because of his low scores.
  • Sue’s credit would qualify her for any home providing that her income is sufficient, but all that she can purchase is a 100K home.
  • Sue can NOT use his just his credit and just her scores.
  • Bob can not use just her credit and just his income.

So what can Bob and Sue do so that they can purchase the home of their dreams?

Call reScore Solutions!  We can evaluate Bob’s credit reports at no charge and identify the accounts, collections and overall credit to be repaired, deleted or paid.  We can save you money using our techniques in getting your credit scores lender-ready.

Watch video by clicking link below and see how Bob get’s started on getting his credit back on track.

http://www.kirkpatrickassoc.com/Services.html

Marriage and credit score myths.

  1. Our credit reports will merge together when we get married.   NO
  2. Marriage will lower my credit scores.  NO
  3. When I change my last name my credit history will be erased or deleted.  NO
  4. My spouses poor credit will hurt my credit scores.  NO
  5. I will automatically become a joint user or authorized user of my spouse’s accounts. NO
  6. You will be responsible for your spouse’s previous debt.  NO
  7. Being unemployed while raising children will damage my credit score.  NO
  8. Having a good job improves my credit score.
  9. My spouse filed Bankruptcy and now my credit will be ruined too.  NO
  10. Since we are married, any loans or accounts that we get must be a joint account.  NO
  11. Whew!!  I don’t have to worry about my spouse’s credit.  NO.  This will affect you when you want to purchase a home or other large purchase that both incomes will be needed to qualify.  If you are a co-signor on any accounts or loans with your spouse, you are equally responsible for those obligations as your significant other. Any mishaps, such as a missed payment, will reflect poorly on both of your credit reports.  

So while you were reading the credit score myths, Bob’s credit was repaired and his credit scores are improved.

Being that Bob’s credit is repaired they can now buy the home that they need.  Bob and Sue are now happy and recommend reScore Solutions to their friends and lived happily ever after.happy couple glad their credit is repaired

 

7 Ways To Deal With Bad Credit When Renting

house for rent bham al
Renting a home with bad credit

Bad credit can trigger all sorts of issues when trying to get a mortgage, purchase a car or get a credit card.  But even if you’re just looking for an apartment or house to rent, your credit history can pose problems.

Most landlords check credit reports of potential renters to determine the probability of receiving the rent payments.  This can pose a problem when you may have a repossession, charge-offs, foreclosure, late payments or a Bankruptcy listed on your credit report.  When your credit is damaged, you may have a tough time qualifying for that home or apartment that you and your family need.

At reScore Solutions, we understand that many people have fallen on hard times due to job loss, health problems, or having to close a business.  Bad credit can happen even when we do our best to pay our bills on time.

Call us so for a free no-obligation credit report evaluation.  While you are trying to get your life back on track, we can get your credit scores back up and running.

We specialize in getting your credit reports lender-ready so that you will be approved for a home.   Understanding the ins and outs of lending we know what it takes to get your credit reports repaired and credit scores to the specification of your lender.

credit_report
Raise your credit scores to qualify for loans and credit cards.

What should you do if your credit history is less-than-stellar? Here are seven ways you can overcome your bad credit and still get that rental you’re looking for:

     1.  Be honest and show that you  have been making progress.  

Sometimes bad credit isn’t a reflection of poor money management.  Be upfront with a potential landlord before your credit is pulled.  Don’t make excuses and blame others. Landlords have heard all of the blame games.  If you are able to show a valid reason why your bills were not paid on time, such as divorce, health, job loss; but also show that it was a temporary situation and show how you have been able to get back on your financial feet, you may have a better chance of getting approved.

     2.  Find a guarantor or co-signer     

Ask a trusted friend or relative with good credit to co-sign the rental application with you.  While you may be the only one living in the home or apartment, your co-signer will be financially responsible if you do not pay your rent.  This may give the potential landlord the extra security that he needs to feel comfortable with renting to you.

Of course, you really don’t want your co-signer having to pay your rent, so be sure that you not over obligate yourself to a rent amount that you can’t comfortably afford.

rental agreement
Co-signer for rental agreement

     3.  Pay in advance or increase your security deposit

Bad credit and especially a consistent bad credit history makes a landlord nervous because it indicates that your actions in the past may be repeated, such as defaulting on the rent payments or not paying on time.  By paying a month or more in advance or offering a two-month security deposit, you can possibly alleviate their concerns. Not only does this show your commitment, it also provides them with extra cash that can cover some of the losses and damages, should you skip out on the rent. (Which, of course, you won’t.)

     4.  Get a roommate

Willing to share your space such as kitchen, living room?  If so, a roommate may be a great solution.  If the landlord will allow just one person to sign the lease, see if your roommate is willing to sign it solo. (Alternately, try to move-in with a roommate who’s mid-lease.) This way, the person on the lease is the one with more solid credit.

The other benefit to having a roommate is sharing the utilities.  Saving money will help you to pay down your debts and helping to repair your credit.

     5.  Show solid income and offer to pay via direct deposit

Even if your credit is a little weak, your landlord may feel better if you can show that you have history with a full-time job with good pay.

When applying for an apartment, have proof of income ready, such as recent pay stubs, tax returns and a letter from your employer verifying your employment status and income. Offering to have your rent automatically deducted from your bank account can also help.

     6.  Be willing to pay a little more

Some landlords, even if you are renting from a property management company may charge additional “risk” fees for shaky credit and poor credit scores.  You may want to step up and pay more if you really love the home or have to move in a hurry.

If you are dealing with an individual, you may want to negotiate to pay a higher amount so that your application is not denied.

pay more for renting with bad credit.jpg
Lower credit scores mean higher interest and rental payments.

     7.  Letters of recommendation

Just as your would provide a letter of recommendation for a job, provide one for a potential landlord too.  Ask for letters from current and previous employers, current and previous landlords, and even past roommates who can vouch for your character. Even if your previous landlords were only for short-term arrangements, their endorsement can hold weight.

Children, Chores & Allowance

We love our children, and of course we want them to have all that they need…and much that they really don’t need.  Do you find yourself at the crossroads of another meltdown with your child at the checkout because of something that they have eyed and can’t live without?  Of course you have!  We all have!  But there may be help in teaching them to curb these emotional attachments for things that they won’t remember five minutes after they arrive home.

Teach children money management.
Children and money.

Get creative and help your children earn money and teach good money management, which in return will help them to make wiser purchases.

Help make earning money fun.  The following Here is a list of chores your young child can accomplish with minimal help:

  • Picking up toys
  • Feeding the family pet
  • Collecting household garbage/ recycling to be taken out by adult
  • Setting the dinner table
  • Sweeping
  • Cleaning toilets
  • Tidying their bedroom

Pitfalls when it comes to chores.

  • Don’t insist on perfection.
    • Your child is not in the military.  They are children and still learning.  Challenge children to excel, but don’t scold.
  • Don’t delay.
    • You may think that your child is too young. They may be more capable than you think.
  • Don’t be stingy with praise.
    • Get that praise going right away! Don’t wait until the chore is done. Praise and encourage the child while the chore is in progress. You want to build positive momentum, especially with young kids.
  • Don’t be inconsistent.
    • Be regular and don’t allow for putting off for another day.

HAVE A PAY CHART

Have a chart posted where your child can visible see it so that they see how much they earn with each job.  Pay weekly and help your child to spend the money on items that they have made a list of.  This will assist in keeping them focused instead of spending on impulsive items.

 

Tweens Teens and Credit Cards

Is your teen ready for a credit or debit card?  Financial education should begin as a very young age.  Don’t wait for your child to go away to college to learn about money management, credit and budgeting.  He or she should have a good concept about this before they pack their bags.  By all means, don’t arm your children with credit cards and no idea on how to handle it.  Understanding how credit works will help them avoid the trap of revolving credit.  Credit card companies are in the business of making money and keeping you in debt.

What to teach your teen:

  • What is a credit score.
  • How does credit affect me.
  • How do I keep tabs on my credit.
  • How do I protect my credit.
  • How to stay out of debt.
  • Don’t charge for items that you don’t have the money to pay for.
  • Don’t buy what you don’t need.  Credit means debt.  Debt means money that you will have to pay someone until you pay it off.
  • Help your child learn to save for what they want.  This is important to start at a very early age.
  • Teach and assist your child to set a standard for automatic saving.  Like 1/3 allowance and 1/2 of all birthday gifts.
Teaching your tween and teen responsible credit and budgeting.
Teaching your tween and teen responsible credit and budgeting.

As our children are growing up it is imperative that we teach them to be responsible with their finances.  Your teenager is more mobile and you may find that it’s important that they have access to funds in case of emergency or otherwise.  There are  options and a parent needs to consider if their child is responsible enough to be in control of a credit or debit card.  Let’s look over some of the different options to help in making a decision.

 

 

1.  Prepaid cards are a hybrid breed.  Just because it is called a prepaid credit card and works like a credit card does not make it a credit card.  These are cards that are reloadable and works like a debit card.  You choose the amount that you want to load on the card, use it like a debit card and it deducts the amount from your balance.  You can then reload and continue to use.  Being that these cards are associated with major credit card networks, American Express, Visa, Mastercard, these prepaid cards can be used anywhere the major credit cards can be used, whether it’s to purchase groceries, shopping at the mall, paying bills, or online shopping.  This card is ideal for tweens and teens.  No worry for over-drafting checking accounts or being accessed over-the-limit fees with credit cards.  Prepaid cards are an alternative to banks.  There are millions of people that do not want to use banks or traditional credit.  Although these cards are not connected to a checking account, it still allows you to things that require a credit card, such as rent a car or book a hotel room.  With many teens with a part-time job, cards even come with a checking and routing number so that a teen could have their check directly deposited onto the card.  Many prepaid cards offer features to be able to access funds at an ATM.  You also have the option of loading their allowance on the card.  Prepaid fees.  Be prepared to be charged with fees with a prepaid card. Each prepaid card comes with it’s own fee structure. Be sure and find a card that best fits your needs.  You are protected.  Prepaid cards offer the same theft and loss protection that major credit cards offer.  Which makes this a pretty safe bet.

Children and credit cards.  How to stay out of debt.
Children and credit cards. How to stay out of debt.

2.  Store card / major credit card.  While credit cards have a credit limit and you are able to use the card until the limit is exhausted.  Credit card companies may extend additional credit at a cost of an over-the-limit fee.  Eve with a credit card, it is important to keep tabs on your spending.  With interest rates charges it may become very difficult to get out of debt.  No one wants to head off to college in credit card debt and parents should not be left to clean up their teens out of control spending.  Choosing between a store card or credit card may be a challenge when trusting your tween or teen to spend sensible and not send you soaring into uneeded debt.  If you feel that your teen has not shown financial responsibility with their money and allowance, then you may want to rethink handing them a card to carry on a full-time basis.  You may choose to allow them to use the major credit card on a temporary basis and for particular purposes and allowing the to view the invoices and pay the payments.  Also educated them to understand the reality of charging and paying with money they earn from their job or allowance.  Although there are fees for reloadable prepaid cards, there are over-the-limit fees for many credit cards.  Just being charged one $39 over-the-limit fee is a large amount compared to prepaid card fees.

Teens learn from their parents money management.  By gradually graduating their freedom to using your credit cards you will be able to build good spending habits and trust.

So while there are differences in choosing a card, education and holding your teen responsible for their spending is the answer.   

 

 

Thinking of filing BANKRUPTCY?

There may be a different option than filing Bankruptcy.  We offer free, no obligation credit evaluations to determine if there is an option to avoid Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  You may have already filed Bankruptcy in the last 10 years and find that this option is not available to you.

You may find yourself dreading to answer the phone and even opening the mailbox.  We at reScore Solutions (a Kirkpatrick & Associates company) are educated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  These laws are set up to protect consumers, but consumers often times are not aware of them and thus do not know how to use them.  We can help.

debt collectors
Debt collectors calling? Make sure that you owe the debt collection company.

The following is important information that you need to know if you plan to file 7 or 13.  Remember, this will have a great impact on your credit and credit scores for many years.

If you have already filed Bankruptcy, and have been discharged, we can help you rebuild your credit.  Tired of renting and want to purchase a home.  We can assist in rebuilding your credit and make this possible.

Bankruptcy іs а legal status оf а person оr оthеr entity thаt саnnоt repay thе debts іt owes tо creditors.  The bankruptcy laws are intended to provide an honest, but unfortunate debtor an opportunity for a “fresh start.” However bankruptcy is not a free ride.

Personal bankruptcy іs а legal wау tо gіvе people wіth overwhelming debt а fresh financial start. Маnу people dо nоt realize thаt thеrе аrе fіvе types оf bankruptcy options аvаіlаblе undеr thе U.Ѕ. Bankruptcy Code.  Most consumers don’t realize thеrе аrе rеаllу оnlу twо viable options; Chapter 7 аnd Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Іn а nutshell, mоst individuals аnd married couples hаvе twо types оf bankruptcy undеr thе Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 7 оr Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. While you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7, there are various differences in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Federal Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

While Bankruptcy may seem to be the answer to overwhelming debt, medical bills and phone calls from debt collectors, we at Kirkpatrick & Associates may be able to help you avoid this.  There is never a charge to find out if we can help you.  Our credit report evaluations are absolutely free and regardless of the outcome, there is no obligation. 

To help you understand  the difference in Bankruptcy we will explain:

Chapter 7

Basics: Will discharge most types of unsecured debt.  The trustee will sell any significant nonexempt property in order to repay your creditors.

Time Frame:  Takes three to four months to complete.

Property:  Keep all or most of your property. Petitioners with significant equity or assists that are not exempt by law could lose them to satisfy some debts.  Meeting with a Bankruptcy attorney. Regina Rose Hudson. is a great way to get a better understanding of how this will affect your assets.

Your income:  If you are in a high income bracket you may not be eligible for Chapter 7.

Homeowners / Foreclosures:  Chapter 7 can temporarily stop foreclosure.  Unless you can get current on your mortgage, the foreclosure will eventually continue.

Eligibility:  Chapter 7 is available to those with income less than the median of their state, or if you can pas the means test.

Filing Complexity:  Filing Chapter 7 involves preparing a large set of forms and navigating some tricky legal issues.  Simple cases can be done pro se.  (PRO SE – without hiring an attorney)

For a free consultation call Regina Rose Hudson at www.bhambankruptcy.com.

Chapter 13

Basics:  You repay your creditors, some in full and some in part through a repayment plan set up through the court.

Time Frame: Payment plan lasts three or five years, depending on your income.  Many of your unsecured debts will be discharged at the end.

Property:  No property is liquidated under Chapter 13.

Your Income:  Chapter 13,  a regular income is required for making monthly payments.

Homeowners / Foreclosures:  This can stop a foreclosure and you can make up past due mortgage payments through your repayment plan.

Eligibilty:  Has no income requirement.  Unsecured debt has to be below $383,175 and secured debt below $1,149,525.

Filing Complexity:  Involves submitting a repayment plan to the court. Will almost always require an attorney to complete successfully.

Know Your Rights When Shopping for Credit

Ready to purchase a car or mortgage?  Shopping around for a great rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan, not to mention that some banks charge application fees where credit unions usually to never charge extra fees.  Credit unions can be a great source of lower interest rates and easier qualifications for getting the loan.

When shopping for great rates and services ask as many questions as possible before having your credit reports pulled.  These are considered “hard” pulls and will lower your FICO scores.

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act protects you when dealing with obtaining new credit with anyone who regularly offers credit.  This includes banks, finance companies, stores, credit card companies and credit unions.  When you apply for new credit, a creditor may NOT:

Credit rights
Applying for credit?  Know your rights.

1.  Ask about your marital status or your spouse, unless you are applying for a joint account or relying on your spouse’s income, or you live in a community property state.  ( Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin)

2.  Ask you if you plan to have children or if you plan to raise children.

3.  Ask about or consider your race, sex, religion or national origin.

4.  Refuse to consider public assistance income or regularly received alimony or  child support as income.

5.  Refuse to consider income because of our sex or marital status or because it is from part-time work or retirement benefits.

You have the right to:
1.  Have credit in your first name, birth name,and your spouse/ partner’s last name, or your first name and a combined last name.

2.  If a co-signer is necessary, it can be someone other than your spouse.

3.  After you change your name you can keep your own accounts or marital status or retire, unless the creditor has evidence you are unable or unwilling to pay.

4.  Know why a credit application was rejected.  The creditor must give you the specific reasons or tell you where and how you can get them if you ask within 60 days.  Once you receive the letter from the creditor, the letter usually will inform you of your FICO credit score and give you reasons why you were turned down.  The letter will also state which credit reporting agency the creditor requested your credit reports.  You have the right to contact that credit reporting agency and request a copy of your complete credit report so that you can review it for any inaccuracies.

5.  You have the right to have accounts shared with your spouse reported in both your names.

6.  You have the right to know how much it will cost to borrow money.

7.  YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO A FREE ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT .   You can request these once every 12 months.  When denied credit you are entitled to an additional, free, credit report from the credit reporting agency that the creditor requested your credit report.

To learn more of our services on how we can help you with your credit issues, go to our website at www.kirkpatrickassoc.com .

Call us if you have questions about your credit.  205-352-3448.  Monday – Friday 8:30 to 5:30.