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Grayslake Real Estate And Bankruptcy Law Blog

What is the Chapter 7 means test?

If you are facing mounting bills and the constant threat of creditor action, personal bankruptcy may offer you the best pathway to stopping you from sliding deeper into debt and instead re-establishing yourself financially in Grayslake. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers the benefit of having certain debts discharged, freeing up additional resources to help you in settling others. Yet this is a benefit that is not extended to all; you must first qualify via the Chapter 7 means test. 

The first step in the means test is determining your current monthly income. If yours falls below the average for your particular demographic in your state, you do not need to go any further; you automatically qualify to file under Chapter 7. If, however, your income is above the state average, then the second stage of the means test is applied. 

Know the facts about short sales

When Illinois residents sell their homes, they may envision receiving more money than they paid for the house. In some situations, though, this may not be possible, and some homeowners may find that a short sale is their best option.

When people hear about short sales, they may think this is the same thing as a foreclosure. Realtor.com says there are important differences between short sales and foreclosures. If a house goes through foreclosure, this means that the lender has repossessed the property. With a short sale, though, the homeowners are the ones selling their house, not the bank. However, people typically do not receive a high offer on their home. A short sale means that the price a homeowner receives is less than he or she owes on the mortgage. Most of the time, people sell their home through a short sale because they are unable to make their mortgage payments.

4 signs you should consider filing for bankruptcy

Dealing with the burden of debt is overwhelming, and you may not know what to do to get out. Many options are available to you, each with its pros and cons. Which solution is right for you depends on your circumstances.

A common choice is bankruptcy, but despite its numerous benefits, it is not always the best answer in every situation. How can you tell that filing for bankruptcy is the right thing to do?

Three proactive ways to help sell your home faster

Illinois is a fantastic place to live, and every day people discover the beauty that the state has to offer. This is a benefit for anyone looking to sell or rent out a property in the state. While the process may seem daunting, FindLaw lists real estate laws in Illinois that are designed to handle things such as homestead protection, landlord-tenant relations and the rental market. These things become important once the home is sold and the transfer is in process, but homeowners can proactively prepare their homes for sale in three specific ways.

1. Seek out an inspection

How does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy work?

If you are like a lot of people in Illinois, you might not know that there are multiple types of consumer bankruptcy plans. When most consumers think about bankruptcy, they automatically think about losing assets. This can happen with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, called a liquidation bankruptcy as assets may be seized in order to repay creditors. However, this does not happen with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called the wage earner's plan. As explained by the United States Courts, this type of plan is essentially a type of structured repayment plan. Instead of dismissing all debts immediately as in a Chapter 7 plan, debts are consolidated and a trustee negotiates repayment terms with each creditor. The debtor then sends in monthly payments to the trustee and the trustee distributes money to each creditor per the agreements made.

Should you reaffirm your car loan during bankruptcy?

During a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can discharge most debt and emerge from the pile of overwhelming expenses with a clean financial slate. After listing all your credit card debt, medical expenses and loans, you can essentially wipe them free of your account and begin again. Yet, while filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may decide to keep paying on a loan, even after the case is discharged.

Car loans are most commonly reaffirmed during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as debtors may wish to keep their vehicles and not lose them to the bank. The financial institution that is in charge of the loan may choose to reaffirm the loan in an attempt to minimize the loss it would experience if you discharge the loan in the bankruptcy. For example, if the car loan is discharged, the financial institution will reclaim the property, but may lose any money tied up in the vehicle. If the bank reaffirms the loan, however, it may still get reimbursed for most of the loan’s amount.

What is an automatic stay?

If you are one of the many Americans who are overwhelmed with debt, you may receive a host of calls from creditors and collection agencies who are trying to collect past due amounts on your financial obligations. These calls can become quite harassing, as collectors may start calling at all hours of the day and night in an attempt to get you to make a payment. Once you file your bankruptcy papers with the court, an automatic stay is placed on your name and creditors are no longer able to contact you regarding your debt. In fact, when the automatic stay is in place, collection agencies and creditors must stop any wage garnishments, and cannot pursue any lawsuits that may have been initiated on your case.  This includes all actions and methods that are used to collect a debt.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits certain actions from creditors and collection agencies, including the use of unfair, abusive and deceptive practices. These entities are not able to threaten legal action, misrepresent how much money you owe or threaten to harm your family or property if the debt is not paid. Creditor harassment should be reported and is illegal under the act.

Will you lose your home if you file for bankruptcy?

As someone considering filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to get your finances under better control, you may study up on the process and try to separate fact from fiction along the way. Regrettably, a lot of misinformation exists when it comes to the bankruptcy process, and many Americans struggle to understand exactly what the process involves and how it can impact their lives.

Often, one of the first questions people ask when considering filing for bankruptcy is whether they will lose their home after filing. Unfortunately, there is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer to this query, but you can do some things to get a better idea of what you are up against. The first thing that factors in when determining whether you can keep your house after bankruptcy is whether you pursue a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 filing.

Experts share their tips for strategically selling real estate

Buying and selling real estate in Illinois can be a tricky business, undoubtedly. Newcomers have every right to feel a bit uneasy at the thought of preparing their home to sell and may question their ability to get as high of an offer as possible before agreeing to turn the title over to a new owner. However, with the right guidance and some strategy on the part of the seller, people can successfully sell their real estate and be 100 percent satisfied with the outcome. 

A panel of experts shared their insight into what can be done for sellers who are interested in putting their home on the market. One of the strategic recommendations they provided was for people to consider updating the rooms in their home that are often the biggest sellers. Examples include bathrooms, the master suite, the family room and the kitchen. However, they also encourage people to consider working with a local agent who can provide insight into what features buyers may be looking for. This extra step can put sellers at an advantage when they are able to include components that buyers are interested in when they are looking at other homes in the area. 

Should you get a credit card after filing for bankruptcy

Credit cards can be a little daunting if you have recently filed for bankruptcy. The chances are high that overwhelming credit card expenses may have contributed to your filing for bankruptcy in the first place. Credit cards can, however, help to rebuild your credit following a bankruptcy, but only if they are used in the right way. There are credit card companies that prey on people with poor credit, so it is essential that you are able to identify companies that are trying to help you rebuild your credit as opposed to those who are trying to destroy it.

Subprime credit cards target consumers who have credit scores that are less than 600. Although they accept applications from those with low credit, they charge a higher interest rate, as well as maintenance fees, annual fees, authorized user fees and processing fees. You may get caught up with these fees that are added on top of your original charges and find it hard to pay down the balance on your credit card.

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