Archive for October, 2014

Can I buy a House if I Have Filed Bankruptcy

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

That is a question that most people wonder about. Refer Bankruptcy Network. You are probably aware that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on buying houseyour credit report for 10 years.

Truth is that many lenders shy away from lending money to people who have recently sought the protection of bankruptcy. But that actually doesn’t last very long. My clients find that after a year to a year and a half, the credit industry is back knocking at their doors with credit card offers, home loan offers, etc.

Recently, a client called 3 months after the bankruptcy filing and before her case was even closed, wanting to know if there was any reason she shouldnt accept the credit card offer she had just received!

Mortgage lenders generally look at three things to determine legibility to get a home loan: FICO score, regular income level, and the percentage of the purchase price you are able to put down. After filing bankruptcy, your FICO score will take a dip. Often that is caused by late payments more than the actual bankruptcy filing. Generally, with no overdue payments anymore, the FICO score comes back pretty quickly  a year or so.

The regular income level is based on your job and how long youve had it. Its easier to get a loan if youve been working in one place for a while on a steady income. The loan committee used to also take a close look at the amount your payments on the house will be in relation to your total income.

Thus, it used to be that you couldn’t get a loan if more than 30% of your income was going to go to the house payment. (Relaxing that standard so loans were given out based on 50 or even 60% on ones income level was one of the contributing factors to the mortgage crisis we are currently facing.)

Finally, the amount you can put down towards the purchase of the house makes a big difference. The higher the percentage of down payment, the more protection for the bank. (Allowing minimal or no down payments and relying on appreciation were also factors that led to our current mortgage crisis.)

So, what does this mean? If you want to buy a house after filing bankruptcy, you can. If may be you will need to wait a year or two until your income and expenses stabilize and until you can sock a few dollars away for a down payment, but that’s probably a sound economic policy anyway.

If you have questions about bankruptcy or foreclosure, consider calling Carolyn Secor. Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

How Does a Judgement Affect a Bankruptcy

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Refer Bankruptcy Network.

A judgment refers to a decision by a court that has been entered into the public record. Before a judgment can be issued, a lawsuit must be filed decreeagainst you. If you do not file an answer to the lawsuit within the time period required by law (usually 20 to 30 days after service of the lawsuit on you), the plaintiff can ask the judge to issue a “default judgment.”

You can also negotiate a “consent judgment” with the plaintiff – in a collection case, a consent judgment usually includes payment terms. You can also file an Answer to the lawsuit and go to trial. The decision by the judge or jury – whether favorable or unfavorable – will be set out in a judgment.

If a judgment has been issued against you in a collection case, your creditor becomes a secured creditor instead of an unsecured creditor. Secured creditors have more rights than unsecured creditors. In most States, a judgment creditor can satisfy its judgment by garnishment against your bank account or your wages, although in some States (such as California), the judgment creditor must take additional steps to have the right to take your property away from you.  A judgment creditor can also place a lien against any real estate that you own in the public record. This lien will encumber your property and will need to be paid before you can sell your real property.

Every State has its own rules about how much a judgment creditor can seize from you at any one time and about the judgment creditor’s rights against real and personal property. In Georgia, where I practice, the process by which a judgment creditor can move against a judgment debtor is relatively fast and not particularly burdensome. In other States, the judgment creditor must expend time and money to secure its judgment. California bankruptcy lawyer Cathy Moran writes that judgment creditors must file additional court paperwork before it can excercise their rights against California judgment debtors.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a judgment creditor has the right to file a secured claim. Typically, secured claims are paid in full in a Chapter 13 and they are paid before unsecured creditors.

In some jurisdictions, debtors routinely file a motion in bankruptcy court to avoid the lien. This procedure varies depending on where you live.

A judgment will also appear on your credit report and can negatively affect your credit score.

I think it is dangerous to have one or more outstanding judgments pending against you. While bankruptcy is not always the best option, I think it would be wise to at least discuss your bankruptcy options and the potential dangers inherent in judgment collection with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.

Whether you have a judgement against you, if you are considering bankruptcy or have credit problems, consider giving Carolyn Secor a call. Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.