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What is a Debt Settlement Company?

A debt settlement company is a company who specializes in helping people with overwhelming debt settle with their creditors. Debt settlement companies can help individuals with debt issues settle with their creditors for less than they owe. Of course, this will give the individual’s credit score a significant dent that stays on public record for seven years, but at least it gets people out from under their crushing debt. A settlement company will attempt to negotiate a settlement deal on your behalf with one or all of your creditors. Continue reading...

Can I settle my debts for less than I owe?

It is possible to get a settlement arrangement that allows you to settle your debts for less than you owe, but there are consequences. An individual can personally seek a settlement with the credit card company or other creditor that they may owe, or they can enlist the help of a debt settlement company. People should only seek to settle when they have no other option, because their credit score will be badly damaged for many years. Continue reading...

Should I consolidate my debt?

This seems to be a better choice than debt settlement, and it may make payments easier. Debt consolidation allows people to pay one bill a month towards their debt obligation, rather than many, and it may also give them a lower interest rate payment. A debt consolidation company or bank can settle the outstanding debts of the individual; this settlement amount plus fees becomes the principal loan amount or a new loan, which will probably be designed to have lower payments than the individual was paying before consolidation. Continue reading...

Who is a Bill Collector?

Collections companies are known as Bill Collectors, and their jobs are to extract as much payment from those who are past-due on payment obligations as they can to settle an account or to bring it current. When people do not pay their credit card companies back within about 150 days, the card company will pass the debt off to a collections company. Other businesses who do their own billing will also sometimes find it necessary to pass off the obligation to the collections company. Continue reading...

What is Credit Counseling?

Credit counselors can negotiate debt management strategies with lenders on behalf of individuals with debt problems, as well as providing behavioral financial habit construction counseling. Debtors seek out credit counselors to find out what their options are to get out of debt and to get some coaching during the process. Credit counselors can be certified through several accredited institutions who are overseen by the Department of Justice in the United States, and they may be part of a non-profit organization, lending institution, or independent financial practice. Continue reading...

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is basically an annuity paid for with home equity. In a reverse mortgage, instead of paying to for your home, you’re getting paid for your home. It is considered a loan, but it does not have to be repaid, except by the proceeds from selling the home. Older Americans who need the income and aren’t concerned about their heirs getting their house might apply for a reverse mortgage. It is also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). Continue reading...

What is an Adjustable Rate Mortgage?

A mortgage whose rate is variably adjusted according to the interest rate environment is known as an ARM. With an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) , the interest rate is lower at the beginning than the fixed-rate alternative, but the customer bears the risk of interest rates going up in the future. The bank or institution creating such a product will usually peg the rate to a specific index or benchmark rate, and will also probably give the customer a cap at which rate hikes would stop. Continue reading...

What is Mortgage Refinancing?

Refinancing a mortgage means to get a new mortgage agreement with a different interest rate. If the prevailing interest rate environment has changed, or if a person’s credit history has strengthened since signing the original mortgage agreement, a homeowner might benefit from refinancing their mortgage with a new arrangement. The bank or lending institution would effectively pay off the first mortgage with the new one, and give the client a different interest rate or mortgage term (length) or monthly payment amount. Continue reading...

Should I sell my house without a real estate broker?

While it is possible to sell your house without a broker, it may prove to be more trouble than it’s worth. If a person can sell their own house or property without a real estate broker, he or she can avoid paying broker’s fees out of the proceeds. A person should realize, however that brokers are well-acquainted with the real estate marketplace, and may possibly already have some potential buyers in their pipeline.They are also ready to spend the time and money to market and show your property. Continue reading...

What is a Student Loan?

Expenses for tuition, room, and board at a secondary education institution can be loaned to a student and paid off over time in the form of a student loan. Tuition and other college expenses have inflated at a much faster rate than the rest of the consumer price index. These institutions can charge more and more as they experience student housing crunches and an ever-growing demand for college education. Continue reading...

What is Appraisal?

Appraisal is a valuation conducted by a certified professional to assess the value of property, especially real estate. Appraisals are an important service in the real estate industry in particular. Where mortgage loans are being taken out from banks, including original mortgages, refinancing, home equity loans and lines of credit, as well as in business and estate valuations, the property appraisal will play an important role. Continue reading...

What is Appraisal Fraud?

Appraisal Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of the value of a home using an appraiser’s statement. Appraisals are necessary for large loans and real estate transactions, and appraisal fraud is common. Fraud can be committed in this manner by the appraiser or by a person falsifying an appraiser’s statement. A common example would be overstating the value of a home so that a borrower can get a larger home equity loan. Continue reading...

What is Assessed Value?

Assessed value is used to determine the property taxes due on real estate. Assessed value is normally lower than the appraised value of a residential property, because it is not looking as much at the value of the home, but rather the value of the property, for property tax assessment. While the assessed value does have to do with the market value of real estate, most calculations only use average home prices the area, found in local real estate listings, as part of the valuation. The “ask” prices are going to be higher than the prices at which they’ll sell. Continue reading...

What is Bad Debt?

Lending companies or other companies with Receivables may characterize certain unpaid accounts as Bad Debt and write off the losses. Bad debt is debt that is on the books and is in default, meaning payment has not been made on it in a long while. Creditors, banks, and companies may periodically get bad debt off of their accounting books by moving it out of Receivables. Most companies have attempted to calculate their exposure to default risk and bad debt, and have allocated amounts into accounts such as Allowance for Doubtful Accounts (ADA). It can be passed off to debt collection agencies, but most of the debt will never be recouped. Continue reading...

What is a Balloon Loan?

A Balloon Loan has lower debt payments than a fully amortized loan up until a lump sum payment at the end of a term. Balloon loans have relatively low monthly payments due over their term and then a large lump sum payment for the remaining balance at the end. This can be advantageous if someone or a business knows they will be paid in a certain way that fits well with this schedule. Other people and businesses may be planning to use a more flexible approach where the lump sum due at the end is rolled into a new financing schedule (such as a two-step mortgage), and this is usually done if there is a reset provision in the contract. Continue reading...

What is a Balloon Payment?

A balloon payment is a lump sum due at the end of a balloon loan term. In a balloon loan arrangement, the payment schedule does not amortize the entire amount of the loan, but instead allows for lower installment payments by holding a lump-sum payment until the end of the term. These terms are usually relatively short, such as 5 years, and often these arrangements are taken by individuals or consumers who plan on refinancing before the balloon payment comes due. Continue reading...

What is Bank-Owned Property?

If a bank forecloses on a home, and it does not sell at auction, it becomes bank-owned-property. Bank-owned property, also known as real estate owned (REO) property, was taken over by a bank because the owners did not pay their mortgage obligations, and it did not sell at auction. After a foreclosure, an auction is announced in the paper, and a company who contracts with the fe to sell the property money and recoup some of the lost to bad debt. If no one buys it at auction, it sits on the bank’s books as REO. Continue reading...

What is Bankruptcy Court?

Bankruptcy court is a special judicial proceeding which determines how a debtor can settle accounts and move on. Bankruptcy courts are always federal, and not state, courts. They were established in the Constitution and given structure by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. They give debtors a means of moving beyond debts that cannot be fully repaid. There are several kinds of bankruptcy filings (found here — ‘chapter 7-15’, some for individuals, some for businesses, some involving foreign entities or persons operating in the US. Some are for absolution and the dissolution of a business entity, and other filings are requests for partial debt forgiveness and reorganization of the entity. Continue reading...

What is a Bankruptcy Trustee?

A bankruptcy trustee is appointed to oversee the liquidation of a debtor’s estate. A bankruptcy trustee has an obligation to do all he or she can to maximize the amount that a bankrupt entity’s estate can pay to the debtor’s unsecured creditors. The trustee must also challenge the claims of a creditor where appropriate. The estate is constituted of all of the bankrupt entity’s nonexempt assets. The trustee will oversee the “341” meeting, in the case of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Continue reading...

Who is an Assessor?

An Assessor is a government employee who finds the value of properties and other assets for tax and insurance purposes. The assessor’s office is responsible for coming up with the assessed value of real estate property in a municipality, for the purpose of assessing property taxes. Assessors may have other roles, but this is the main one. Considering that assessors have to determine a value of every piece of real property in their district, it can certainly be an overwhelming task. Continue reading...

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