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Grayslake Real Estate And Bankruptcy Law Blog

Can I buy a home after I went through a bankruptcy?

When you were considering filing for bankruptcy, you may have had a few people tell you it would be the end of the world, at least in the financial sense, if you went through with it. “You’ll never be able to get a credit card or a loan again,” they may have cautioned you. While it’s true that a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can affect your credit report and result in a few setbacks for a while, there is no real reason to fear that you and other Illinois residents won’t be able to get a credit card or car loan or do the other things that people who have never been through a bankruptcy can do.

Even so, you might still worry about being approved for something major, like a home loan. According to Realtor.com, there is a chance you and others can be approved for a home loan as early as a couple years after your bankruptcy discharge. Generally, those who complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan stand a better chance of getting a home loan sooner than those who file for Chapter 7, although either is possible. After your bankruptcy, you would need to spend some time rebuilding your credit by making timely payments on your monthly bills and making wise financial decisions going forward.

Avoid these 3 mistakes when selling your home

You may find that selling a home for the first time can be emotionally draining and time-consuming. The emotional and financial issues coupled with the inexperience of selling real estate can lead you to make mistakes. Some slip-ups can drive prospective buyers away or cause you to sell your house at a low price.

But with some work and the correct approach, you can avoid mistakes and sell your home effectively. Make sure you do everything you can to avoid the following errors.

What can I do to prevent or address home damage by a renter?

When you rent a vacation or residential home to tenants, there are a great deal of things to worry about, not the least of which is potential damage the tenants may inflict upon your property. Ordinary wear and tear is to be expected in Illinois rentals, but accidental or intentional damage beyond the norm can be costly and have a huge impact on your investment.

According to the American Apartment Owners Association, your tenants should not be held financially responsible for the usual wear and tear that occurs in any home, which includes carpets gradually becoming threadbare in traffic areas, cabinet door hinges wearing out and small scuffs and scratches appearing on walls and baseboards, as well as other forms of minor damage. On the other hand, damage that you may hold your tenant responsible for can include the following:

  • Accidental damage, such as a burn on the carpet when a hot iron fell onto the floor
  • Damage that could have been prevented, as in water damage resulting from a clogged toilet
  • Willful and intentional destruction of your property, such as breaking or stealing fixtures and appliances belonging to the home

The top 5 things to do after your bankruptcy

At the Law Office of Paul R. Idlas in Illinois, we help people like you file bankruptcy so as to get out from under overwhelming debt. But once your bankruptcy period ends, you may think the first thing you should do is reestablish your credit.

While important, getting a new credit card is not the first thing you should do in your post-bankruptcy life. Instead, you should do the following five things to establish and maintain your new financially responsible status.

Even with protective laws, payday loans can be a trap

You may have been tempted before to apply for a payday loan. After all, the ads promise quick, easy money without having to have good credit. However, as we at the Law Office of Paul R. Idlas know, payday loans often lure unsuspecting borrowers in like a spider catches a fly. You and other Illinois residents should understand what these potentially predatory loans entail.

The payday loan concept is a simple one. You walk into one of the welcoming locations or apply online, and in minutes you can have several hundred dollars deposited into your checking account, provided you agree to repay the loan on your next payday. However, there’s a catch. The loan must be repaid in full, and the interest rate is usually astronomical. Since many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of borrowing money from a payday lender every paycheck just to stay out of the red – and keep paying the outrageous fees.

What do you need to know about a short sale before you buy?

When a homeowner in Illinois cannot continue to make payments on the property, and the lender gives permission, he or she may sell the house for less than the amount owed to the mortgage company. In this case, you may be able to purchase the real estate for a very low price. 

However, it is a bad idea to assume that you are getting a good deal just because it appears that the house is selling for far less than fair market value. According to Bankrate, there are several common mistakes people make when they purchase a short sale house. Here is how to avoid them.

Making the most of the holidays during bankruptcy

The holidays can be a time of family and great joy. It can also be a time of great spending. For those in the process of a bankruptcy, this can pose an issue.

Whether you are currently undergoing a bankruptcy or contemplating it, having a plan may help to put your mind at ease. There are a few things you can do that may aid you in making the most of the holidays during the bankruptcy process.

What are you legally required to disclose when selling your home?

As someone who is currently in the process of placing your Illinois home on the market, you may be learning as you go and discovering something new at every turn. If you are like many home sellers who are navigating their way through today’s housing market, you may also have questions about what, exactly, the law requires that you disclose to potential buyers.

According to Forbes, failing to disclose something about your home when the law requires that you do so can come back to bite you in a big way, and it can lead to substantial financial and, potentially, even legal, hardship. Thus, it is critical that you recognize the types of matters and details you have to disclose when selling your home, and you must do so even if the disclosures might make it more difficult to find a buyer.

Will bankruptcy cover my student loans?

Like a vast number of Americans, you might have student loan debt that is crushing you. However, you may have heard that your student loans can’t be discharged through bankruptcy. Is this true, and if so, what can you and other Illinois residents do to relieve this financial burden?

As the U.S. Department of Education explains, you cannot get rid of your federal student loans through bankruptcy. This news can be very discouraging if you have significant student loan debt. However, before you despair, you may want to take note of the following points:

  • In rare cases, federal student loans may be forgiven for those who suffer a catastrophic injury or illness that leaves them unable to work due to a permanent disability.
  • You may gain some relief from your federal student loan debt if you worked as a teacher or in a public service government position for a certain period of time.
  • You may not be able to eliminate your student loan debt through bankruptcy, but a personal bankruptcy could free some of your resources to make your student loan payments easier to bear.

Is your homeowners’ association unreasonable?

As you may know, homeowners’ associations, or HOAs, exist to preserve the image and property value of the homes under the association’s jurisdiction. However, many Illinois homeowners resent their HOAs, saying the organizations exert excessive control, unreasonable demands and outrageous fines and penalties against homeowners.

As Realtor.com explains, HOAs can be useful if they keep your neighbor from letting weeds grow on his property and becoming an unsightly mess, or if they don’t allow outlandish decorations like a giant sports team flag tacked to the garage door or Christmas decorations on the lawn well past the holiday season. On the other hand, some HOA board members take things to the extreme by fining or filing lawsuits against residents or even kicking them out of condos for such trivial offenses as the following:

  • Having a dead lawn during a drought in which water restrictions are in place
  • Installing landscaping or yard decorations without getting approval from the board
  • Parking in one’s own driveway
  • Making improvements on a house or painting before gaining board approval
  • Having a pet that is slightly larger than the size restrictions imposed on pets
  • Imposing restrictions on landscaping or parking but exempting themselves from the same restrictions
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