“The American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes,” Obama said yesterday. This bill is in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The so-called “FinReg” measure will establish an oversight council to monitor risk, set up liquidation powers for large firms and restrict leverage and proprietary trading. It is easily the strictest regulation of the financial sector since the 1930’s.*

To read many, many opinions and digest different perspectives, simply Google, “Financial Regulation Bill”.

May I offer my thoughts about the general direction of the government oversight as a small, independent mortgage broker? Capitol Hill seems to want to help the American people. I applaud that. However, I’m not so sure our politicians understand what’s really happening in our financial institutions. I will say that as a Broker, my industry has self-corrected, and I’m very proud to be a part of that change. We now have to be nationally licensed, and provide full disclosure with our fees. For example, if I disclose to a client that I could make up to 2.5% on a loan, I disclose the maximum amount of my earnings. Say your loan amount is $250,000. I could potentially make a total of $6,250.00. Once a loan is locked, it is then that my compensation is set. If my compensation rate increases by .125% or $312.50, I have to re-disclose to my client. Not to mention, once a settlement statement (HUD) is prepared, my initial estimate to my client is compared to the actual numbers on the HUD. If my estimate is off by more than 10%, I am responsible for those overages. The consumer is finally protected in the broker community!

I’m excited to be a part of this movement to increase awareness to my clients, and wish more than anything, I could do a loan for Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd. I also wish all mortgage originators/loan officers/planners would go to a flat fee system, like Realtors (typically Realtors receive 2.8% in Colorado for residential transactions) – wouldn’t that be simpler?

I would love to hear what you think about this new bill and any other thoughts you have about what our country has and is experiencing regarding our economy.

*Sourced USA Today, Reuters, NY Times

Megan McDonald, Licensed Mortgage Planner
Excel Home Lending, Manager
383 Inverness Parkway, Suite 130
Englewood, CO  80112
Cell: 303-717-9995
Off: 303-790-2022
Fax: 303-468-6133

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(My guest blogger for this issue is Judy Larkins, Executive Director for Colorado Mediators & Arbitrators LLC)

Divorce is costly, both emotionally and financially.  Dividing joint obligations and marital assets, calculating child support, maintenance payments when warranted, his-and-her matching attorney fees…  If you are anticipating an empty pocketbook after the divorce is finalized, take heart! 

A financially savvy mediator may be tremendously helpful in providing sound guidance through an otherwise confusing process.   Mediation of all divorce agreements generally costs one to two thousand dollars, as opposed to each spouse hiring attorneys with initial retainers of five to ten thousand dollars each.

Mediation is a creative process that, when successful, culminates in workable agreements for a particular family’s situation, as opposed to what the letter of the law may dictate via a court order if the couple cannot agree.   

The mediation process may assist couples in identifying individual financial priorities: 

  • real estate (primary residence, second homes, and rental investments)
  • retirement funds
  • stock options
  • cars and recreational vehicles
  • collections, antiques, artwork, etc.

One spouse may value real estate ownership while the other spouse places greater significance on retirement funds.  A financially savvy mediator will assist the couple to evenly divide assets taking all factors into consideration.  This can be more involved than it appears on its face.  One common mistake is overlooking the tax ramifications in dividing assets by making dollar-for-dollar offsets rather than addressing the pre-tax versus non-taxable assets (retirement funds are usually pre-tax; equity gains for a primary residence are tax exempt up to $250,000 / $500,000 for certain joint returns) .*  For example, paying a marital settlement from a 401k withdrawal could cost a 10% penalty, tax on the withdrawal, and put the taxpayer in a higher taxable bracket for all income in the year that the withdrawal is made.  It may be more beneficial to use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, where the assets are transferred “in kind” – from a pre-tax retirement account into the spouse’s own pre-tax retirement account.

Another decision-making challenge may be the family home; the housing market currently favors buyers.  The marital home is one of the largest investments a couple makes during a marriage.  Evaluating whether to keep the house until the market rebounds is an important consideration.   If it makes sense to keep the home, a financially savvy mediator will assist the couple in negotiating written agreements that address who will live in the home (a renter or one of the spouses), who gets the mortgage interest tax deduction, when a spouse has the right to demand the house be refinanced or placed on the market for sale, who will pay for the repairs along the way, how the equity will be divided when the house is eventually sold or refinanced, and other necessary agreements. 

When interviewing a mediator to assist in your divorce or post-divorce issues, ask questions to determine whether the mediator has expertise in the areas that are important to you.  An incomplete or bad agreement can be costly, and like all professions, there is a wide variance of financial and business experience between mediators.

*http://www.irs.gov/faqs/faq/0,,id=199598,00.html

Judy Larkins
Denver Divorce Services
4600 S Syracuse St. Suite 900
Denver CO 80237
Phone 303-864-9675
Email Hope@DenverDivorce.org
www.DenverDivorce.org

Judy Larkins has been in full-time practice since 2003.  A large part of her personal caseload has focused on divorce and family matters.  Judy specializes in high conflict cases and is very successful in bringing contentious matters to satisfactory conclusion.  She is a preferred provider for the  CLC Employee Assistance Program for domestic matters, and a panel arbitrator for FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Agency).  Judy is the Executive Director for Colorado Mediators & Arbitrators LLC dba CoMA.

(My guest blogger for this issue is Chad Rogers, of CMR Consulting.)

Anyone faced with the threat of foreclosure may decide to look into a short sale as an alternative. As a credit coach I am often asked “How does this affect my credit?” and the answer is, it will hurt either way. Chances are that someone that who is facing the threat of foreclosure has already started damaging their credit score by being in default, that is, behind on their payments. People have reported FICO score drops from 50 – 130 points from a short sale and 200 – 400 points after a foreclosure, but rarely, if ever, are there isolated changes in a credit report that make any point difference traceable. Others have reported no significant difference in credit score drops between the two. Either way, both are unhealthy behaviors for a credit score, no matter how you look at it.

Credit score aside, a short sale should be looked into for other reasons. The primary reason a short sale is better than a foreclosure is the waiting period before you will qualify for another home loan. You should always check with a reputable mortgage professional for their unique lender programs, but typically, you can get another FHA home loan in three years. If you are in arrears and a short sale is still granted by your lender, you may qualify to buy another home with a Fannie Mae backed mortgage within two years, regardless of whether the home is your primary residence. With a foreclosure, you may be eligible to buy another home in five years if the home was your primary residence, but the wait time can be as much as seven years. An investor typically must wait the full seven years with a Fannie Mae insured loan.

A loan application does not ask if you have had a short sale, but you are required to answer the question of whether you have ever had a property foreclosed upon in the last seven years. Even if you are fortunate enough to get it removed from your credit report, you still must disclose this information or you risk committing mortgage fraud, which is subject to investigation by the FBI.

Be aware that the homeowner may still owe the difference between the mortgage balance and what the discounted sale price was, resulting in a “deficiency judgment.” If granted, this judgment will affect a credit report as much as any other judgment. To avoid this, in negotiations, the bank needs to accept the payment in full without pursuit of any deficiency judgments. However, the homeowner would then need to declare that difference between the balance owed and the short sale by means of a 1099 tax form. A lender cannot do both! Another negotiating point can be how the bank will report the short sale to the credit bureaus, so use that to your advantage if possible.

To summarize, both short sales and foreclosures are harmful to your credit. However, with time (generally less time with a short sale), honest reporting, and informed negotiations with the bank handling the sale, the average person will be able to move on to a brighter future after the experience.

*Always obtain legal and tax advice before making a decision between a short sale or foreclosure.

Chad Rogers, CMR ConsultingChad M. Rogers
Credit Coach & Professional Networker
CMR Consulting
crogers@cmrconsulting.biz
http://www.cmoreresults.com
Phone: 303-725-7385
FAX: 1-888-422-1804

Chad M. Rogers, a loving husband, father, and real estate professional for over 8 years, decided to pursue a career path in credit coaching because he genuinely loves helping people obtain the goal of home ownership. He is passionate about helping along the success of others, hence his favorite quote by Alexandre Dumas – “Nothing Succeeds Like Success.” After years of success as a top-performing title representative, Chad opened CMR Consulting, which focused on bringing products and services to the real estate community. He soon recognized the need for a trustworthy credit coaching partner and therefore expanded CMR Consulting to include these much needed credit coaching services. CMR Consulting is now the premier coaching company dedicated to educating consumers on credit and debt resolution. The goal is to only work with the very best real estate professionals helping fill the void in service to the public. CMR Consulting continues to help companies, families, and individuals improve their bottom line and services.

With so many out of work or struggling to make ends meet in their current positions, more and more people are turning to vocational schooling as a way to transition into a new field and pad the all-important, but often lacking, Education section of their resumes. Many of these industry-specific programs offer accelerated, highly technical programs promising students the keys to a bigger paycheck and a better life. When considering these options, however, it is important to weigh the pros and cons.

On the bright side, vocational training typically takes less time than traditional college and graduates come out knowing exactly what job they now qualify for; but that kind of intense, focused curriculum generally comes at a price. Although there are moderately-priced trade schools out there, many vocational institutions match, and often exceed, the tuition of major universities. Student aid is available, in many of the same forms as conventional colleges – federal student loans, Pell Grants, bank loans, and scholarships, including many industry-specific offerings.

However, it is vitally important for prospective students to consider that the jobs they will most likely get upon graduation will be entry-level as they transition into their new field and gain real-world experience. As such, they need to evaluate whether the initial incremental increase in pay will enable them to deal with their new financial burden of student loan debt. Sadly, many vocational schools overpromise prospective recruits, quoting salaries and positions more appropriate to mid-career, or even management-level jobs. Students are often also talked into taking on loans far beyond their ability to repay.

With that understanding, however, a wise student, dedicated to their new field can find success and fulfillment. Education is certainly an important first step towards that “bigger paycheck and better life,” but the cost should not be such that any benefit (financial or emotional) is swallowed up by overwhelming debt repayment. According to the New York Times, The current administration is toughening rules which curb for-profit schools, which receive the bulk of their revenue from federal loans and grants, “from paying their admissions recruiters on the basis of enrollment numbers.” The Department of Education is working to bar programs “from loading students with more debt than justified by the likely salaries of the jobs they would pursue.”

(My guest blogger for this issue is Kurt Schlaefer of Centennial Leasing and Sales)

Recently, I’ve had many questions about used car pricing. Most people assume that, because it’s a bad economy, dealers should be selling their used vehicles really cheap. Just the opposite is happening because of very low supply. In the last twenty years, your vehicle’s value has dropped each year due to increased mileage and age. However, last year your current vehicle may have actually increased despite it being a year older with higher miles. It may be a great time to trade it in, if you’ve a mind to move into something new (or at least newer), or different.

I keep my old National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) books for one year to verify what I see going on in the car market, based on supply and demand. To give you a mini-snapshot of what’s happened in the used car market in Denver over the last year, I’ve taken four sample 2008 vehicles and compared book values from January 2009 to January 2010, below:

1. ASIAN SAMPLE –
2008 Toyota Highlander Sport V6 4×4 w/Pwr Seat/3rd Row Seat/Rear Air (Warranty-3 yr/36k)
(7 Japanese Mfgs – 40% of the new 2009 USA Mkt)

  JAN 2009 JAN 2010
MSRP – $33,573.00 (1 yr old -12.5k miles) (2 yrs old – 25k miles)
NADA Clean Trade-In Value – $24,100 $25,300
NADA Retail Value – $27,250 $28,725

2. ASIAN SAMPLE –
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe SE V6 AWD no Pwr Seat/3rd Row Seat/Rear Air (Warranty-5 yr/60k)

(1 Korean Mfg – 7% of the new 2009 USA Mkt)

  JAN 2009 JAN 2010
MSRP – $28,555 (1 yr old -12.5k miles) (2 yrs old – 25k miles)
NADA Clean Trade-In Value – $20,450 $19,725
NADA Retail Value – $23,650 $23,525

3. AMERICAN SAMPLE –
2008 Ford Explorer V6 XLT 4×4 w/Pwr Seat/3rd Row Seat/Rear Air (Warranty-3 yr/36k)
(3 Mfgs – 44% of the new 2009 USA Mkt)

  JAN 2009 JAN 2010
MSRP – $32,320.00 (1 yr old -12.5k miles) (2 yrs old – 25k miles)
NADA Clean Trade-In Value – $17,475 $18,500
NADA Retail Value – $20,350 $22,250

4. EUROPEAN SAMPLE –
2008 Volvo XC90 3.2L AWD w/Pwr Seat – no third row seat (Warranty-4 yr/50k)
(7 Mfgs – 9% of the new 2009 USA Mkt)

  JAN 2009 JAN 2010
MSRP – $38,805 (1 yr old -12.5k miles) (2 yrs old – 25k miles)
NADA Clean Trade-In Value – $25,550 $26,050
NADA Retail Value – $29,125 $30,125

Traditionally, all of these vehicles would have dropped at least several thousand dollars in value during their second year. However, most of these actually increased in value. Demand for these vehicles has somewhat increased, but the primary cause is that supply has plummeted.

Call me at 720.271.8277 if you have any questions, or if you think you’d like to look at vehicle changes sometime this year.

Kurt Schlaefer
Centennial Leasing and Sales
67 Inverness Drive East, #100
Englewood, CO 80112
(720) 271-8277 – cell
kschlaefer@centleasing.com

Kurt Schlaefer graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1970 and married Joan under the sabers the very next day. He left the Air Force in 1983 to better take care of his family and young children. “We’ve owned several businesses and worked together since then to raise a family. We’ve enjoyed helping individuals and commercial clients and their referrals find new and used quality vehicles to lease or own since 1990. We find “CARS FOR PEOPLE” not people for cars”. Competence and Integrity are paramount. 

Stella’s Story – Part II
(I finally found a local loan modification expert!)

Remember Stella? She’s my friend who has been doing EVERYTHING asked of her to get a loan modification, only to hit roadblock after roadblock. Therefore, I was so excited when I heard her loan mod was finally going through with her lender, (this is only because a HUD counselor stepped in). Unfortunately, I then learned that she’s still struggling with getting it done. I’ve been digging and digging to find a licensed loan officer who specializes in loan modification, and who also happens to be local. After a lot of searching, I finally found one. Stella and Bridget Raab are working together now, so stay tuned.
 
As far as loan modification statistics go, I heard on NPR yesterday that the number of loan modifications that have taken place through HARP (Home Affordability Refinance Program) is 110,000. This program is set to continue through 2012. I’ve also heard that HUD and Treasury officials say they are showing they mean business about pushing for more loan modifications by sending personnel to lenders’ offices to monitor the process.
 
The program allows lenders to set up three-month trials under which qualified, at-risk homeowners can pay a lowered monthly payment.
 
December numbers released Jan. 19 show more than 1.1 million homeowners have been offered trial modifications since the program began. More than 854,000 of the 900,000 homeowners in trial modifications have received monthly payment reductions of at least $500 under this program.
 
If you know anyone who is struggling with their house payments, and needs a loan modification, here is Bridget’s information:

Colorado Loan Modifications
Bridget Raab
303-520-6049
braab@hrc-corp.com

GREAT NEWS FOR PEOPLE NEEDING MORTGAGE HELP!

Anyone who is facing missed or reduced mortgage payments, and/or foreclosure should immediately get on the phone with their current lender and try to re-structure their loan. Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard this before and maybe have heard of lenders not being quite so helpful. This blog installment covers some important steps you can take to protect your home and your credit. But WAIT…THERE’S MORE!!!! Read on to find out about an effective, free resource available to struggling homeowners. I just learned about it and I can’t wait to share the good news with others. Be sure to read through the factual info to “Stella’s Story – Part 1”, below.

1. Reality check, please!

Most lenders won’t help you re-structure/modify unless you prove hardship. You have to have a job. This comes in the form of a missed payment or two, OR a process in which the homeowner has to show the lender all of their bills to prove they can’t pay. Either way, it’s a tedious process and one that will require follow through. The biggest obstacle is the homeowners themselves because often, they get so discouraged and frustrated that they give up. This is the most important piece – they must never give up. Take notes, write down who you talked to (i.e. numbers, dates, times etc.). Ask for supervisors; call every day. It’s worth the time and aggravation to try and save your home, not to mention your credit.

Once a homeowner is 90 days late, the foreclosure process will be started. From there, there is a certain amount of time (75 days or period of redemption), where a homeowner can pay the default payments and potentially save their home from foreclosure. Most often, people can’t pay, so they go into default and it’s almost impossible to stop it.

Short sales – this is when someone knows they can’t pay, but before their home goes into foreclosure, they list their property and have the bank agree to the offer.

2. How do these things impact your credit?

Foreclosure will be on your credit for 10 years. Under current guidelines, a conventional lender will not lend to you for 5 years.

Short sales will also be on your credit for 10 years. Under current guidelines, a conventional lender will not lend to you for 4 years.

Late payments – This is ideal and the easiest to repair. Most likely, if you’re late on your mortgage, no one will lend to you for a year, maybe more, but certainly less than 5 years. Hence, this is the reason homeowners need to put their pride and fear aside and tackle their challenge head on with their lender so they can protect their future.

3. Where’s the GREAT news? Read on about Stella:

 

Stella’s Story – Part 1

A close personal friend of mine, “Stella”, is going through a modification right now. She is a smart, beautiful, and successful woman, who has fallen on some hard times due to her industry. This can happen to any one of us. Because of our mutual trust, Stella has allowed me to tell her story in hopes that her experience will help others. Here are the details:

1. Stella called her lender for help BEFORE she was late or missed a payment, but this story applies to anyone who isn’t being foreclosed upon (i.e .has missed payments etc.).

2. Stella’s lender had to analyze her financials and determined that, because Stella was employed, but not making enough to cover all of her bills, they would agree to reduce her mortgage payment temporarily while they were trying to qualify her for a loan modification. Their formula was 31% of her income.

3. Stella did this for two months, but the deal included the following condition, Stella needed to call each time she was going to pay. On the third month, Stella was in for a nasty surprise.

4. Stella was told by her lender that IF Stella could pay the lender $1,800 now, they would continue to consider a loan modification.

5. Stella says, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I DON’T HAVE $1,800, WHICH IS WHY I’M TRYING TO MODIFY MY LOAN!”

6. The lender representative said in response, “You need to stop spending so much money on food.” (Don’t get me started….)

7. At this point, Stella was furious. But she had come this far and was determined to figure this out.

HERE’S THE GREAT NEWS:

Stella found this website: http://makinghomeaffordable.gov. She clicked on: “Find a Counselor” (Tab 4, at the top) She called the 800 number: 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). Stella and the counselor called Stella’s lender on a 3-way call. Magic happened. – After 10 minutes on hold, magically, the lender decided that Stella should be in the loan modification program without paying an additional $1,800.  The counselor is paid by the government. The government has been lending money to banks for this very reason. The counselors are the lenders’ check and balance so USE them. We are all paying for this.

I can’t thank Stella enough for finding out this information. I’m in this business and didn’t know about this resource. I encourage you to please send this information to everyone in your database. Someone you know, or someone they know is in trouble and they may be able to get some real help. As Stella’s story unfolds, I will continue to update you.

If you’re in trouble, or facing it, the best thing you can do is get a modification, and from there, learn how to manage your credit and finances by aligning yourself with a good financial planner, mortgage professional, CPA etc. Please contact me and I will connect you!

Megan McDonald, Licensed Mortgage Planner Excel Home Lending
383 Inverness Parkway, Suite 130
Englewood, CO 80112
Cell: 303-717-9995
Off: 303-790-2022
Fax: 303-468-6133
www.excelhomelending.com
www.mcdonaldlendingservices.com
http://twitter.com/megmcd

Holiday Credit Card Tips

November 6, 2009

Summary:
The jury is out on whether credit cards are good or evil. Some people are choosing to cut up their cards and use cash. I think in some cases and for some people, this is a great choice. For most, the reality is that the USA functions on credit, and you have to have good credit if you want to buy a house, a car, and often to get a job. If you know a bit more about credit cards, you can get ahead and stay in a powerful consumer position – educated and informed. Here are some things to be aware of when considering opening or using a credit card:
1) Department store credit cards don’t offer real savings.

1) Department store credit cards don’t offer real savings.

It’s always tempting to save 10-15% on a purchase at a store like Kohl’s, Target, Home Depot, etc. In some cases, it could be a great idea. Here’s when it’s not: carrying a balance on this type of card will quickly reverse the savings at the cash register and you could end up paying double or triple the original price.

Tip: Unless you’re going to pay the balance in full on your original purchase, and on future purchases (remember – it’s always good to use a credit card once every 6 months), then pass on opening your card.

2) Rewards programs can often cost more than buying the product outright.

Knowing what you’re spending, and when you can pay off your spending, is critical to utilizing a rewards card. Don’t get sucked into rewards deals just because the picture looks pretty. You should not use your rewards card to incur debt that you cannot afford simply to get the miles, points, or cash back benefits. In most cases you could have saved the money for that purchase and paid less than the amount of money you have to charge in order to accumulate the necessary points or miles on your reward program. Again, if you are already using your card for purchases, it makes sense to get the rewards, however you should not use the card just for the rewards.

Tip: www.mint.com. This is budgeting software I utilize, which has helped me paint a picture and create a budget for spending. Rewards come if you are secure in knowing what your spending habits are and you can stick to them

3) Prepaid and secured credit cards can cost you money.

Most often used by people who have bad credit or no credit, credit cards that require a cash deposit for collateral often come with high fees. If you fail to properly research and understand the terms and conditions of these forms of credit you may find up to 50% of your deposit is consumed by various fees. To avoid this, look for cards with low interest rates and minimal fees.

Tip: Go to your bank first and establish a relationship with a banker. They can explain the fees on their credit cards and help you through how to best utilize the card so you’re helping yourself, not hurting yourself.

4) Some credit cards do not report to credit reporting agencies.

Whether you are trying to establish credit or maintain a good credit score, you need to have your credit card activity reported to all three credit bureaus. Without this information, all of your efforts to properly manage your credit card account are for naught. Granted, properly managing your account will keep your finances in good order, but without the activity being reported to the agencies, no one will be the wiser. You don’t want your hard work and responsible behavior to go unnoticed by future lenders.

Tip: Confirm the card you are applying for will report your credit activity.

Sourced from www.creditinfocenter.com

For more helpful tips on ways to help protect and improve your credit score, please visit my website: http://www.mcdonaldlendingservices.com/Credit_Tips.html ; and, as always, please contact me with any questions or comments you may have. 

Megan McDonald, Licensed Mortgage Planner
Excel Home Lending
383 Inverness Parkway, Suite 140
Englewood, CO 80112
Cell: 303-717-9995
Fax: 303-468-6133
www.excelhomelending.com
www.mcdonaldlendingservices.com

(My guest blogger for this issue is Aaron Nieman, owner of Aaron R Nieman Insurance Agency.)

You may have heard how lenders are now requiring that borrowers on townhomes and condos carry an HO6 policy. This is what some people call a Contents Insurance policy. An important question to ask is why do you think this is happening?

Let’s use an example with another insurance coverage that most people have. Imagine getting into a car accident and showing up at the repair shop to find that the insurance company had your vehicle completely repaired, except for the interior. You look inside the car and find no seats, steering wheel, dashboard… etc. Now they need additional money from you to buy and install these items. What would you do?

This is the same situation that banks are in should something happen to the condo or townhome they own, as they are the owner until you pay them off. If there is a fire, flood, or any insurable event, most master policies for homeowner’s associations do not cover the interior. This means that the carpet, cabinets, drywall, fixtures, and doors, to name just a few items in that condo, are not getting repaired. So, banks are now requiring that you carry a policy to cover this important asset.

In my opinion, this is something that was long overdue. This has always been a gap in coverage that leads to a lot of problems. In most cases, an HO6 policy can be as inexpensive as $12 a month, depending on how much coverage you need. However, with most insurance companies, adding this coverage will qualify you for a home auto discount on your auto policy, which will lower your auto insurance payment, bringing your net cost down.

While this may give you a brief overview of this issue, there is more to consider when looking at an HO6 policy. Some more important things to ask yourself and the insurance professional that you work with are:

— What is the amount that my interior needs to covered at?
— How much would I need to replace all of belongings?
— How does the deductible I choose for this policy effect the rate?
— Will this policy cover injury on property due to negligence (i.e. liability coverage)?
— What amount of liability coverage is appropriate for me?

Feel free to contact me anytime should you have any questions. Don’t just get a policy, understand why need it and make sure the coverage is appropriate for your situation.

Aaron_Nieman

Aaron_Nieman

Aaron R Nieman
Aaron R Nieman Insurance Agency
9785 South Maroon Circle Suite 312
Englewood, CO 80112
Office   303-645-8036
Cell      720-422-8190
Fax      303-645-8039

[Aaron Nieman is the owner and operator of the multi-award-winning Aaron R. Nieman Agency of American Family Insurance. The agency has been around for more than five years. J.D. Power & Associates awarded Aaron with the prestigious Award of Excellence for being in the top 20% for agent customer service in the field of insurance. Additionally, the agency has won multiple company awards. Aaron and his agency’s promise to his clients is that you will not receive better service with the right amount of coverage for a lower amount of premium.]

(My guest blogger for this issue is Jose Luna, managing broker of HomTur Realty.)

Should Getting Out Of Debt Be Your Number 1 Priority?

I was surfing the internet researching articles about real estate. The articles I came across talked about a possible second wave of foreclosures that are looming. Lots of details and statistics about delinquency rates and the number of people in option ARM loans that are causing themselves harm by paying the minimum amount on their mortgages.

I recommend that getting out of debt be your number one priority for two reasons. First, you will find yourself in a crunch you didn’t predict and become a part of a statistic , and second, you can take advantage of some of the tremendous opportunities that will be available. If you believe that the best opportunities appear when there is chaos, then prepare now. Will you be ready the next time opportunities present themselves? Or will you be saying once again, “Darn, I don’t have the money to jump on this opportunity.”

Here’s what one article reads…

“All signs point to a new flood of real estate foreclosures that no amount of government sandbagging will prevent. Sources of trouble:

— A record 7.58 percent of U.S. homeowners with mortgages were at least 30 days late on payments, says Equifax. Delinquencies are not only rising from month to month, but rising at a faster pace. More than 41 percent of subprime mortgages are delinquent.
— About 1.2 million loans out there are in limbo: The borrower is in serious default yet the bank has not started the foreclosure process. Another 1.5 million are in early stages of the foreclosure process but the bank hasn’t yet taken possession of the home. Counting these and loans that are highly likely to end up in default, one analyst estimates three million to four million foreclosed homes will come on the market over the next few years.

To read more, click on the below link:
http://reason.com/blog/2009/09/23/corpse-of-a-thousand-houses

Now let’s take a look at some data that reflects the consumer debt in America:

— Here are some interesting statistics from an article titled, “Don’t Get Clobbered By Credit Cards”, by author and journalist, Gary Weiss:

— The average American household’s credit card debt in 1990 was $2,966. In 2007 it was $9,840.

— 60% of U.S. consumers always (or usually) pay off their bills in full each month. The 40% who don’t pay off their bills each month are called “revolvers”. In 2007, revolvers paid $18.1 billion in penalty fees to credit card companies. This figure is up more than 50% since 2003 and accounts for approximately half of the industry’s $40.7 billion in profits. For the full article, please click here. 
(SOURCE: http://www.parade.com and garyweiss.blogspot.com)

 
So, credit card debt has more than tripled in less than 20 years and “revolvers” paid $18.1 billion in penalty fees! That is astounding!

There are many resources available to help get you reduce and eliminate your debt. Make sure you do your homework because some may be causing damage to your credit along the way.

Here are some that I heard are worth looking into:
www.cashflowobjectives.com
www.mortgageaccelerator101.com

Do you know any others that you would recommend?

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Jose Luna
HomTur Video Realty
1720 Wazee St Unit 1-B
Denver, CO.  80202
(303) 815-1515
www.JoeMoonSellsColorado.com 

[Jose Luna is the managing broker of HomTur Realty, and manager of ColoradoNewHomes.com. Jose is also a member of the Denver Board of Realtors. He specializes in residential and investment properties. He is an investor, landlord, and has managed his properties for over nine years. Jose is a University of Colorado alumnus where he earned his Mechanical Engineering Degree. Jose is committed to living his by his life’s mission statement: “To use my passion and enthusiasm to inspire and empower others to create powerful lives.”]