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Bankruptcy Doesn't Need To Be Stressful
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Grayslake Real Estate And Bankruptcy Law Blog

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.

Do your home sale by the book

Grayslake and the surrounding lake county communities have a number of peculiarities when it comes to real estate transactions. Apart from various municipalities' zoning laws and condominium association rules, there are Illinois and federal laws that you would likely want to follow to the letter. At the Law Office of Paul R. Idlas, we make it our top priority to ensure a swift and final transaction for each home sale our clients make.

Of course, there are other people involved in nearly every home sale we handle. A team of agents, appraisers, inspectors and various other professionals comes together to make sure everything happens by the book.

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.

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