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By Allan Erps | Agent in Nanuet, NY

    Posted Under: Financing in Nanuet, How To... in Nanuet, Credit Score in Nanuet  |  August 5, 2013 4:53 AM  |  3,273 views  |  No comments

    Credit Counseling

    Debt - it doesn't take much to get in over your head. The question is, what should you do when the bills keep piling up and you need help? The answer may be a consumer credit counseling agency.
    Consumer credit counseling agencies help people get their finances under control. They work as a mediator between you and the people you owe. The goal of the agency is to reach a debt-payment plan you can handle before unpleasant legal or collection action is taken. In some states these services are free, but some areas require a fee, which is generally reasonable.
    The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) advises that if you have been unable to resolve your finances on your own, consider working with an NFCC certified credit counselor. A reliable and reputable counselor will work with you to create a plan you can live with, one that helps you budget your money and repay your debt. To contact an NFCC member agency near you, call (800) 388-2227, or log onto


    Posted Under: Financing in Rockland County, Agent2Agent in Rockland County, Credit Score in Rockland County  |  March 29, 2012 6:54 AM  |  1,127 views  |  No comments

    Smart Advice About Your Credit

    Posted: 29 Mar 2012  KCM Blog

    Credit Thief

    Quick Tip Today:

    Be aware that companies you do business with may sell your credit information. Now, many of the people buying the names and addresses of people who have given their credit information are legitimate marketing companies who are searching for a particular target audience. But lately, there is a rise of not-so-legitimate people who are buying your credit information to actually steal your credit profile.

    We’ve all heard about identity theft, but how does it happen. Historically, it has usually been a case of the bad guys either rummaging through your garbage for old bank and credit card statements; or hacking a website where you entered info (like a credit card); or there have even been cases where bank databases where compromised. But, the sale of your information seems to be the most scary of them all. For between $40 and $80, would be thieves can really mess up your credit and life.

    True, most identity theft can be fixed, but it can take months – even when you hire an expert. Especially when you are looking to buy a home or even refinance it, months can be fatal.


    Posted Under: Financing in Rockland County, Agent2Agent in Rockland County, Credit Score in Rockland County  |  March 8, 2012 12:46 PM  |  1,342 views  |  No comments


    Produced by Inman News

    March 8, 2012

    Sponsored by Lowe's

    10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

    Real Estate Tax Talk    

    By Stephen Fishman

    Over the past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales. It's important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

    Here are 10 things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt forgiveness:

    1. Normally, when a lender forgives a debt -- that is, relieves the borrower from having to pay it back -- the amount of the debt is taxable income to the borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

    Fortunately, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don't have to pay income tax on the forgiven debt.

    2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

    3. You may exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

    4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

    5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence -- that is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

    6. Second or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement -- for example, to pay off credit card debt -- do not qualify for the exclusion.

    7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness , and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the debt was forgiven.

    8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax-relief provisions -- such as bankruptcy -- may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

    9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

    10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

    The IRS has created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

    For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. You can get it from the IRS website at irs.gov.

    Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including "Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors, Freelancers and Consultants," "Deduct It," "Working as an Independent Contractor," and "Working with Independent


    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, How To... in New York, Credit Score in New York  |  August 7, 2011 4:00 PM  |  1,702 views  |  2 comments

    5 Tips to Raise Your Credit Score

    By Scott J. Wilson   

    RISMEDIA, August 6, 2011  —  The higher your credit scores, the better shot you have of getting a loan or credit card application approved. Improving your credit scores takes time, but it can be done. Start by getting free copies of your three major credit reports at the government-authorized site annualcreditreport.com.

    1. Check your reports for accuracy. Financial columnist Liz Weston, author of “Your Credit Score,” says to look for credit cards or other accounts that aren’t yours, negative entries that are more than seven years old, duplicate past-due items and incorrect Social Security number or date of birth.

    2. Dispute errors. Credit bureaus are required by law to investigate mistakes you bring to their attention and report back to you. Typically, they ask the creditor that reported the past-due information to check its records. If the creditor can’t verify the info or doesn’t respond, the item should be deleted.

    3. Pay your bills on time. Payment history makes up more than one-third of the typical credit score determination, Weston says, so paying bills on time all the time is essential to maintaining good scores. If you’re forgetful, consider setting up automatic payments through your bank.

    4. Pay down your debts. Lenders look at how much of your available credit on cards and credit lines you are using. If you are maxed out or close to it, lenders could assume you’re on the financial edge and not lend you money.

    5. Keep credit cards and other revolving accounts open. You may be tempted to close old accounts you’re not using, but that won’t help your credit scores and may actually hurt them. It reduces the amount of your available credit, which can lead to lower scores.


    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, How To... in New York, Credit Score in New York  |  July 7, 2011 4:15 AM  |  1,631 views  |  No comments



    Posted Under: Home Buying in Rockland County, Financing in Rockland County, Credit Score in Rockland County  |  July 5, 2011 5:13 AM  |  1,584 views  |  No comments

    Recession Helping to Raise Awareness of Credit Scores and Leading to Start of Good Money Habits


    RISMEDIA, July 1, 2011—Consumer money resource Bills.com recently released results from its biannual Consumer Money Survey for the first half of 2011. This regular survey gauges consumer money attitudes and behaviors across a wide range of financial topics, including credit, debt, budgeting, and retirement by posing questions to site visitors using the Bills IQ tool.

    “The Consumer Money Survey provides a direct view into the real money behaviors and issues affecting everyday Americans,” says Brad Stroh, CEO of Bills.com. “Over the last six months, it found that even as many consumers are still struggling to emerge from the recession, they are also working hard to adopt positive money management strategies and healthier financial habits. It is reassuring to see that while in the past we were collectively more likely to hide from money problems, today more families are confronting their issues head-on.”

    The Bills.com Consumer Money Survey consists of 28 detailed questions that help define a respondent’s knowledge of a particular financial topic category or a specific financial behavior. The results are compiled and reported every six months. The most compelling questions and answers from the first half of 2011 include:

    Budgeting and Cash Flow:

    • 25 percent of users have been late at least once on their monthly bills in the last year;
    • Of those who said they were behind on their bills, 28 percent are concerned they will never catch up;
    • Of those respondents with children, 64 percent did not currently make any contributions to an education fund;
    • Less than half (48 percent) of those surveyed keep a budget to track monthly expenses and cash flow. This is down from 52 percent in 2010.

    Credit Scores and Cards:

    • 18 percent of respondents have maxed out at least one of their credit cards, down from 22 percent in 2010;
    • 31 percent pay off their balances in full every month. This is down from 36 percent in 2010;
    • When surveyed about the amount of credit card debt they are carrying, respondents with current debt stated:
    -Less than $5,000: 27 percent
    -Between $5,000-10,000: 16 percent
    -More than $10,000 in debt: 20 percent
    • Only 6 percent of users did not know their credit score.


    • 39 percent of survey takers are scared or uneasy about their prospects for retirement;
    • Nearly half of respondents said they plan to retire between 60-65, while 16 percent said they don’t ever see being able to retire;

    A complete list of questions and percentage answers from the Bills.com Consumer Money Survey for the first half of 2011 is available by contacting Bills.com. The current edition of the survey polled a representative sample set of more than 500 users with an average age of 35 years old.


    Posted Under: Home Buying in Rockland County, How To... in Rockland County, Credit Score in Rockland County  |  May 19, 2011 5:05 AM  |  1,652 views  |  No comments

    6 tips for a higher credit score

    Fast track to mortgage approval

    By Jack Guttentag


    Editor's note: This is the last of a three-part series.

    Your credit score, calculated from information in your credit report, is a measure of how good a risk you are to a credit grantor. A large proportion of borrowers who can't qualify for a mortgage would qualify if their credit score was higher.

    The theme of this set of articles, that many borrowers can repair their own qualification credentials, applies as much or more to credit score than to down payment or income.

    Any lender to whom you apply will obtain your score and provide it to you. As noted below, however, inquiries by lenders may have a negative effect on your score, whereas inquiries by you do not. Hence, it is a good idea to find your score before you apply, so you can make an informed decision on whether you want to apply at that time.

    You can obtain your score from many firms in the business, including www.equifax.com, www.transunion.com, www.experian.com and www.myfico.com.

    At some point, I expect to have a program on my website that indicates how particular applicants can improve their credit score using data from their credit reports. The suggestions below, however, are necessarily general in nature.

    Pay on time: The core rule is to meet your debt obligations on-time, every time. If you have had payment lapses in the past but your habits have improved, time is on your side. The credit scoring rules weight recent experience more heavily than older experience.

    Correct mistakes in your credit report: Your score should not be reduced by reporting mistakes, which are all too common. I have an article on my website on How to Correct Mistakes in Your Credit Report.

    Detach yourself from the "wrong vendors": Because finance companies lend to relatively poor risks, the credit score of any borrower owing money to a finance company is lower than it would be if the creditor was a bank. By the same logic, borrowers who have credit cards of department stores are penalized, relative to what their score would be if they had cards issued by banks.

    Reduce balances on revolving credits to less than 50 percent of the maximums: A high utilization ratio is read as a sign of weakness and potential trouble, reducing your score. Credit cards are the most important type of revolving credits, but HELOCs belong in this category as well. A HELOC used to purchase a house or to refinance a mortgage, where the initial utilization ratio is 100 percent, will jolt your credit score.

    Note that utilization ratios can be reduced by getting the maximums raised, as well as by paying down the balances. In many cases, credit card issuers are willing to raise the maximum at the borrower's request.

    Minimize the number of "hard inquiries": Hard inquiries are requests to a credit agency for your credit score from a credit grantor, insurance company or other entity to which you have applied and to which you have entrusted your Social Security number. "Soft inquiries" made by you or by firms looking to sell you something for which you have not applied don't require your permission and don't impact your credit score.

    The credit-scoring systems may or may not penalize borrowers who shop multiple credit grantors within a short period -- unfortunately, you can't be sure.

    The credit agencies tell you that multiple inquiries within a 15-day period count only as a single inquiry, but in fact inquiries for mortgage, auto and student loans would probably count as three inquiries, and even three mortgage inquiries could count as three inquiries, depending on how the credit grantors are identified to the credit scorer. I will have an article abut this in the near future.

    The bottom line is that in applying for credit, find your own score that you can deliver to the vendors you are shopping who need the score to set the price. The vendor you select will verify the score through his own inquiry, but it will be only a single inquiry.

    Pay off collection accounts: This may actually reduce your score in the short-run by converting the account from an older entry with a low weight to a new one with a higher weight. However, you can't get a loan with a collection account on your record, so you must pay it off -- the sooner the better.

    The writer is professor of finance emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Comments and questions can be left at www.mtgprofessor.com.

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