New Analysis of 2009-2011 Census Data: For Wealthiest 7%, Assets Increased 28%, but for Remaining 93%, Assets Decreased 4%

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager at ForeclosureHelp

A new analysis of Census Data by the Pew Research Center reveals that the wealth gap in the United States continues to grow, and that the “economic recovery” is mostly benefiting wealthy people.

For example, the mean net worth of the eight million households in the upper 7% increased by an estimated 28%, from $2.4 million in 2009 to $3.1 million in 2011.  In comparison, people in the lower 93% (111 million households) saw their mean net worth decrease 4%, from $139,896 in 2009 down to $133,817 in 2011.

This large difference is due mostly to the differences in assets.  For example, for households with a net worth of more than $500,000, 65% of their wealth is from financial holdings like stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts, while only 17% of their wealth is based on their home value.

In contrast, for household with a net worth of less than $500,000, half of their net worth is from their home, and only 33% is from financial holdings like retirement accounts.

The analysis also examined the time period from 2005 to 2009 (when the housing market crashed), and found that mean net worth declined by 12% for “households as a whole but remained unchanged for households with a net worth of $500,000 and over.”   For the over $500,000 group, they had a mean net worth of $1,590,075 in 2005; $1,585,441 in 2009, and $1,920,956 in 2011.

This data was interesting in light of the work we do at ForeclosureHelp- for many homeowners who live here in San Jose and Sunnyvale and who contact our program, they have already attempted at least once to ask their bank to modify their mortgages.  Unfortunately, modification requests don’t always go smoothly the first time (paperwork gets lost, etc), and many homeowners cite a list of reasons they don’t want to apply again (it’s been referred to as “modification fatigue”).

However, the analysis above clearly demonstrates that a house is the largest asset for most Americans, and that’s why we encourage homeowners to meet with one of our housing counselors who is certified in foreclosure prevention counseling.

The counselors know the programs like HAMP, HARP, or Keep Your Home California, and can work with you to understand your eligibility for these programs and to submit a modification request- even if you’ve asked for a modification before and were unsuccessful.

For more reasons working with a housing counselor makes sense, visit our earlier blog post:  Five Reasons Working With A Housing Counselor is Better Than “Going Alone”

En Espanol: ¿Por Qué Trabajar Con Un Consejero de Casa?

This post has also been popular with our blog visitors: Helpful Resources if You’re Facing Foreclosure By Foreclosure Help SCC

To read the full Pew analysis, visit: A Rise in Wealth for the Wealthy; Declines for the Lower 93%

Foreclosure Help is a program funded by the city of San Jose through a HUD Community Development Block Grant and the city of Sunnyvale, and we can directly assist homeowners  and tenants in San Jose and Sunnyvale who are facing foreclosure.  However, we are unable to assist homeowners/former homeowners in other cities and states.  If you need housing counseling, we suggest using the interactive map on HUD’s website.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose through a HUD Community Development Block Grant and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit us: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

Our housing counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.Nuestros consejeros puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nếu bạn là một sinh hoạt chủ sở hữu nhà ở San Jose hoặc Sunnyvale và đang đấu tranh với nợ nhà, xin vui lòng liên ForeclosureHelpSCC, một chương trình được tài trợ bởi thành phố San Jose và thành phố của Sunnyvale ở (408) -293-6000 hoặc truy cập trang web của chúng tôi: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nhân viên tư vấn của chúng tôi đã được HUD chấp thuận có thể giúp bạn đánh giá các lựa chọn của bạn, tìm hiểu thêm về các chương trình của liên bang và tiểu bang có thể giúp bạn với các vấn đề thế chấp của bạn, và sẽ giúp bạn tạo ra một kế hoạch phía trước.Xin lưu ý: Tất cả các nội dung trên Blog ForeclosureHelpSCC được cung cấp thông tin duy nhất và không nên coi là hợp pháp hoặc tư vấn thuế. Nếu bạn có bất cứ câu hỏi , xin vui lòng liên hệ với chúng tôi qua đường dây nóng: (408) -293-6000, hoặc truy cập vào trang của chúng tôi: http://www.foreclosurehelpscc.org hoặc gửi email cho chúng tôi:help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

fair_housing_logo

FAIR HOUSING AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION POLICY

It is the policy of ForeclosureHelp not to discriminate against any person because of that person’s race, color, religious creed, sex (gender), sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status (households with children under the age of 18), source of income, disability, medical condition or age. Color or “ethnic group identification” means the possession of the racial, cultural or linguistic characteristics common to a racial, cultural or ethnic group, or the country or ethnic group from which a person or his or her forebears originated. As required by law, we agree to take the affirmative steps needed to further fair housing.

ForeclosureHelp will consider any and all requests for reasonable accommodation in the application of its rules, policies, practices, and services, and in the use of its physical structures, in accordance with the requirements of state and federal laws. You can ask ForeclosureHelp to consider any reasonable accommodation you may have. Please consult with the Program Manager to request this accommodation.

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Six Things I wish I would have done differently: How to Avoid Foreclosure in San Jose and Sunnyvale

Foreclosure Regrets in San Jose and Sunnyvale

By Sean Coffey, Program Manger, Foreclosure Help

Unfortunately, some of the homeowners who call Foreclosure Help have already lost their house to foreclosure or are so close to a trustee sale that their only option to delay a trustee sale is to file bankruptcy.  Based on these conversations, we are providing a few points that might be helpful for people who are starting this process.  This is not legal advice/financial advice, and if you have questions, call us.

1) Deal with the problem earlier.   Meeting with a housing counselor can be one of the first steps to dealing with the problem.  Is the housing counselor going to have 100% good news?  Not necessarily, but they will provide you with a clear, unbiased,  analysis of your situation and what state programs (like Keep Your Home California) and federal programs (like the Making Home Affordable Program) could be helpful with your situation.  For example, if you were recently laid off, the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance program, part of Keep Your Home California, could pay your mortgage for up to nine months while you secure a new job.   If keeping the home isn’t an option, counselors can discuss things you need to know about a short sale, and also discuss transition assistance programs, like Keep Your Home California’s Transition Assistance Program.

2) Made this process a priority.  There’s an old saying: “Nobody cares about your home like you do.”  If you are trying to address the situation, you’ll need to 100% engage in the process and “be in the driver’s seat” to make sure that the process continues moving forward.  You should not rely solely on your bank or your housing counselor to handle the problem for you. They are part of the process, but you need to be the driving force, making follow-up phone calls, checking in with your bank or servicer, and making sure that you spending sufficient time with the process, and that you are the “squeaky wheel that gets the grease.” 

 3)  Worked with a housing counselor from the beginning.  Our society has become very specialized- think about the number of specialized services that you rely on in a given week.  You have your car fixed by a mechanic because they know what they’re doing.  In working with a counselor from a HUD-approved agency, you are getting specialized services from a trained professional, who is bringing the skills, training, and contacts that can make the difference in getting your loan modified, getting honest advice about your situation, and escalating your case at the bank when necessary.   Housing counseling agencies are paid for through government and private grants, and this means they don’t have an incentive to “sell” you on a particular option.   Instead, they’ll give you an honest evaluation of your options and empower you to decide what you want to with your home.

 4) Got all of my paperwork together.   You are essentially asking the bank or servicer to re-write an IOU.  To do this, they are going to need all of your documents they requested, and you have a much higher chance of success if you get all of the documents together, send them all in at the same time, and have confirmation from the bank or servicer that they received the paperwork.   Are you going to send this paperwork in more than once?  Probably.   If you want the modification process to move forward, you need to get all of your paperwork together, organized, and into the bank or servicer, and getting it in a few days ahead of the deadline will give you a “buffer” in case the paperwork gets lost along the way.   Don’t forget to call 2-3 days after you mail in your paperwork, and confirm that they received all of the paperwork and that there is nothing else they need.

5) Not believed the “too good to be true” scam artist who promised to modify my loan.   It seems unbelievable that there are still scam artists going after homeowners in desperate situations.  And yet, we still see examples of these letters every week from homeowners who received them in the mail, with offers to modify loans or provide other “assistance.”   Phone calls, house visits, and even word-of-mouth referrals are another way that scam artists will contact you.

Reasons you should view all offers of “help” critically:

  • It is illegal in California to charge an upfront fee to modify a mortgage.
  • The foreclosure process doesn’t stop just because you hired a scam artist.   If you hire a scam company, and it takes you three months to figure out that they took your money and didn’t do anything, you are now 3 months into the foreclosure process, with fewer options, and more pressure from the bank.
  • If you’re spending money paying a scam artist, that’s less money that you have to pay your mortgage.
  • They will say whatever you want to hear, regardless of whether or not it’s true.  It would be great if 100% of people were going to get their loans modified, but the reality is that there are a number of other variables (like the NPV test, your income, who the investor is, whether or not your bank is participating in government programs, the size of your mortgage, etc) that will determine if and to what extent your loan is modified.  For these reasons, anybody who promises a loan modification is telling you a lie in order to get your business- and you should run away from them (and report them to the District Attorney).
  • There are FREE housing counselor services available that are paid for through a government grant. These skilled, experienced, counselors are from agencies certified by the federal government (HUD), and will provide you an unbiased analysis of your situation and options.

6)  Made a contact at the bank or servicer.  Think about all the jobs you’ve had.  Were there ever situations where your authority or discretion could help or hurt a customer?  Or, where you could share information with a customer that would help them better understand a process, product, or timeline?  Think of the waitress who tells you “No, you don’t want that meal, this other meal is our most popular.”  Now, apply that to your experience with the customer service person at the servicer or bank. If you can make “friends” with the person, they may be willing to share tips or strategies with you that can help you in this process.

While the new California Homeowner Bill of Rights  (Spanish: La Declaración de Derechos de los Propietarios de Vivienda en California and Vietnamese: Luật Dân Quyền cho Chủ Nhà ở trong Tiểu Bang) California mandates a single point of contact (and you should remind your bank or servicer about this), it’s also a good policy for you to try and develop a single point of contact at the bank who knows your story and who will be there throughout the process.

If you have questions, please contact your housing counselor directly, or call Foreclosure Help at 408-293-6000 or email us: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.  You can also visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org

If you are struggling with foreclosure in San Jose or Sunnyvale, please give us a call. The sooner you pick up the phone, the sooner we can help, and the earlier you start in the process, the more options you will have to create a plan forward.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit us: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nếu bạn là một sinh hoạt chủ sở hữu nhà ở San Jose hoặc Sunnyvale và đang đấu tranh với nợ nhà, xin vui lòng liên ForeclosureHelpSCC, một chương trình được tài trợ bởi thành phố San Jose và thành phố của Sunnyvale ở (408) -293-6000 hoặc truy cập trang web của chúng tôi: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Nhân viên tư vấn của chúng tôi đã được HUD chấp thuận có thể giúp bạn đánh giá các lựa chọn của bạn, tìm hiểu thêm về các chương trình của liên bang và tiểu bang có thể giúp bạn với các vấn đề thế chấp của bạn, và sẽ giúp bạn tạo ra một kế hoạch phía trước.

Xin lưu ý: Tất cả các nội dung trên Blog ForeclosureHelpSCC được cung cấp thông tin duy nhất và không nên coi là hợp pháp hoặc tư vấn thuế. Nếu bạn có bất cứ câu hỏi , xin vui lòng liên hệ với chúng tôi qua đường dây nóng: (408) -293-6000, hoặc truy cập vào trang của chúng tôi: http://www.foreclosurehelpscc.org hoặc gửi email cho chúng tôi:help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

101 Banks and Servicers are now participating in Keep Your Home California. Learn more about how these 4 programs can help:

1) Catch up your late mortgage payments;
2) Pay your mortgage while you’re unemployed;
3) Have your principal reduced;
4) Receive money to help with your transition out of your home:

http://keepyourhomecalifornia.org/

Keep Your Home California

Keep Your Home California has reached the century mark, well, actually, the 101 mark.ID-10075420

Keep Your Home California now has 101 mortgage servicers participating in the federally funded, state-run program.

The big-name banks – Bank of America, Chase Home Finance, CitiMortgage, GMAC and Wells Fargo – are on board. So are many midsize and small banks as well as credit unions. These mortgage servicers handle more than 90% of the mortgages in the state.

The participation of servicers – the companies that handle your mortgage – is critical to helping homeowners with their payments and to the success of the $2 billion Keep Your Home California program. Basically, we need all servicers to participate in the program, since they have to be participating so we can help homeowners with their mortgages. (You can check the complete list of servicers at www.KeepYourHomeCalifornia.org/participating.htm.)

Keep Your Home California has four programs –…

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Five Important Policy Updates For California Homeowners and Tenants in 2013 Related to Foreclosures, Short Sales, and the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights

New Laws in 2013 for California Homeowners

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager of ForeclosureHelpSCC

1) Independent Foreclosure Review: The New York Times broke the news on December 31 that the Independent Foreclosure Review may be replaced.  The article explains that regulators and banking officials have been meeting in hopes of designing a less cumbersome, less expensive way of compensating homeowners who were improperly foreclosed on by their banks or servicers.  During the few weeks leading up to the December 31st deadline for the Independent Foreclosure Review, we received an increase in phone calls and google searches which went to our blog pages explaining how to apply for the Independent Foreclosure Review.

However, we were also very concerned about the many shortcomings of the review (read our compilation of media reports at a previous blog posting: “7 Reasons to Postpone the Independent Foreclosure Review”), and so we created a petition on Change.org asking regulators to postpone the deadline until after they had released the results of at least 215,000 cases.   The regulators in charge of the program have not yet released any information about their plans, and we suggest that homeowners and former homeowners continue watching the news, checking our blog, and checking the website for the Independent Foreclosure Review for any updates.

2) Mortgage Debt Forgiveness: Housing Wire reports that the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act was extended for another year.  This is an important policy win for homeowners who are struggling with their mortgages because without this extension, debt forgiveness from a modification, short sale, or foreclosure would have been taxed in 2013. For more information, visit our previous blog: Foreclosures in San Jose and Sunnyvale: Three Reasons Time is Not on Your Side

3) Unemployment benefits were also extended as part of the Fiscal Cliff negotiations.  Homeowners in California who are struggling to pay their mortgage should consider applying for the Keep Your Home California Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program.  More information at our previous blog here: “Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, Part of Keep Your Home California: How Does It Work?”

4) The California Foreclosure Refund deadline is fast approaching- it’s January 18, 2013.  As part of the Attorney General Settlement, there is a foreclosure refund for homeowners who were improperly foreclosed on by one of the large five banks (Ally/GMAC (800-766-4622), Bank of America/Countrywide (877-488-7814), Citibank (866-272-4749), JPMorgan Chase (866-372-6901) and Wells Fargo/Wachovia (800-288-3212).  For more information, see our previous blog: “California Foreclosure Refund Program, Part of the Attorney General Settlement”

5) Homeowner’s Bill of Rights:  This set of laws went into effect on January 1, 2013, and are designed to address the many loan servicing abuses that homeowners have experienced since the foreclosure crisis began.  These include “dual-tracking” (processing a foreclosure while a modification request is also being considered), having to speak with multiple people at their bank or servicer (banks and servicers are now supposed to provide a single point of contact), and other provisions.  In addition, when a person purchases a foreclosed home in California, if there are existing tenants, the new owner must give them a 90 day eviction notice.  This is an additional 30 days more than the previous 60 day requirement.  For more information, visit the Attorney General’s website: California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

I wrote my master’s thesis on similar legislation enacted in North Carolina, and one of the big “take-aways” from my research is that these types of laws are only effective to the extent that homeowners know about their rights under the law, and have the knowledge to complain to regulators when the law isn’t being followed or the ability to hire an attorney and sue their bank or servicer.  So, ForeclosureHelp will be making strong efforts to educate homeowners about their rights under this new legislation.

California Homeowners should also know that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also proposing mortgage servicing regulations, nicknamed the “no run-around” rules.  Homeowners can also file a RESPA request if they are seeking information from their bank or servicer, or if there is a dispute about payments being credited, etc.  For more information, see our previous post: “New Mortgage Servicing Rules Proposed- What Does it Mean for You? Part 2 of 2”

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Helpful Resources if You’re Facing Foreclosure By Foreclosure Help SCC

By Sean Coffey, MPA, Program Manager of ForeclosureHelpSCC

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s worth taking a quick snap-shot of the past year.  Pete Carey wrote earlier this week in the San Jose Mercury News about the reduction in foreclosures during the month of November, and we hope that this trend continues.

We also want to highlight a few blog postings written for homeowners by the certified housing counselors who staff the ForeclosureHelpSCC program:

Time Sensitive issues for homeowners:

Independent Foreclosure Review:  The deadline for this program is December 31, 2012.  To learn more about this program (eligible homeowners could receive $500 to $125,000 plus lost equity), visit our earlier blog postings:

California Foreclosure Refund:  Also designed for homeowners who dealt with an improper foreclosure, but this program is limited to the big five banks.  The deadline for this program is January 18, 2013.  For more information, read our blog on it: California Foreclosure Refund Program, Part of the Attorney General Settlement

Keep Your Home California: Unemployment Assistance Program.  Aurora Olivares, one of the housing counselors who staffs the Foreclosure Help program, wrote an excellent overview of this program: “Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program, Part of Keep Your Home California: How Does It Work?”  With recent estimates that 400,000 Californians could lose their unemployment benefits unless Congress extends them, it is particularly important for homeowners who are unemployed to get their applications in NOW while they are still receiving unemployment.  A homeowner WILL NOT qualify for Keep Your Home California Unemployment Assistance program unless they are receiving or are approved for unemployment benefits.

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act: This has not yet been extended, but we are hopeful that it will be tied into the current negotiations about the fiscal cliff.  For more information about why this is so important, visit: “Foreclosures in San Jose and Sunnyvale: Three Reasons Time is Not on Your Side”

General Resources for Homeowners from our blog this year (A big THANK YOU to the certified housing counselors from Asian Inc, Neighborhood Housing Services of Silicon Valley, Project Sentinel, and SurePath Financial Solutions for writing these posts).

1) Credit Repair, Credit Issues, Rebuilding Your Credit, Pulling Your Credit Report:

2) How to work with your bank when you are seeking a modification:

3. Advantages of Working with a certified housing counselor from a HUD-approved agency:

4) Renting after a foreclosure or short sale:   Help with rental assistance after a foreclosure – What’s out there?

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio:www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

What is a Credit Report and Why is it Important to You?

Why is a credit report important?Editor’s note: If you haven’t applied for the Independent Foreclosure Review yet, there is still time, but the deadline is December 31, 2012.  For more information, visit our blog: Independent Foreclosure Review Deadline is December 31, 2012. Learn How to Apply Here.  Spanish: La fecha límite para La Revisión Independiente de la Ejecución Hipotecaria es el 31 de diciembre 2012. Aprender a aplicar aquí!  Or visit the website: www.independentforeclosurereview.com, or call the program: 1-888-952-9105

By JoAnn Parrott, Housing Counselor at Project Sentinel, one of the members of ForeclosureHelpSCC.

A credit report is more than a collection of financial information and statistics. A credit report displays and represents your financial picture.   A credit report is an accounting of how you have handled your past finances and debt and is a gauge of how you will continue to do so in the future. The credit report determines if you are credit worthy or may be a credit risk to those who offer credit (also known as creditors).  The credit report helps creditors decide who gets credit or who does not.

If you have been financially responsible in the past and have good credit, you probably don’t think twice about credit.  It is just there for you whenever needed.    However, if you have no credit or poor credit, managing your daily financial life may be difficult.

WHAT IS IN A CREDIT REPORT?

If you have never applied for personal credit, you probably don’t have a credit report history.  But, if you have applied for and used credit in the past, a basic credit report consists of your name, current and recent addresses, Social Security Number, date of birth and current and previous employers.  The report also displays each credit account registered in your name,  the date the account was opened, the credit limit on a credit card or loan, the payment terms, the balance owed, the monthly payment amount, and a record of your payment history (i.e., how many times you paid on time or were late).  This information is contained in your credit report even if you personally have not applied for credit but have agreed to be a co-signer or authorized user on someone else’s credit account.

TIP:   If you are a co-signer on a credit card or loan account, you are responsible for the debt if the other party fails to keep the monthly payments current.  If you are an authorized user, you are not responsible for the monthly payments or the balance due if the account is not kept current.  So, be VERY careful about agreeing to be a co-signer on an application for credit.

A credit report also lists each time you have applied for credit – these are known as ‘inquiries.’  By viewing the ‘inquiries’, creditors can determine if you have applied for too much credit or have been recently approved for additional credit. If the number of applications or approvals is too high, creditors may deny you if it appears you are trying to acquire too much credit too quickly.

TIP:  This can happen to new homeowners or young adults when they want to decorate a new home or apartment.  If you apply for and are denied credit, this may have a negative impact on your credit report and credit score.

WHAT IS NOT IN A CREDIT REPORT?

Information NOT contained in a credit report consists of checking and saving account balances, bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old, charged-off debts or debts placed for collection that are more than seven years old, gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, medical history or criminal records.  Judgments generally remain on a credit report for 7 years from the date filed, whether the debt was paid or not.  If paid, the judgment entry changes from UNSATISFIED to SATISFIED but still remains for the required length of time.  Unpaid tax liens remain indefinitely.

NO CREDIT?  WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

In the everyday world of credit, there are two types of credit cards and loans – Secured and Unsecured.

SECURED CREDIT CARD If you have poor credit or no credit and know you will have a need, you may want to apply for a secured credit card.   A secured credit card is an account in which you deposit your own money (generally a minimum amount) to be used for future credit transactions.   A secured credit card gives you the ability to use the money (up to a certain amount) as a credit card – i.e. charge movie tickets or order a pizza – until you can apply for a less restrictive unsecured credit card.  Most secured credit cards do not allow the total amount of money deposited into the account to be consumed by charge transactions.

The creditor retains a portion of the money as a ‘cushion’ to cover unexpected events, such as non-payment.  If your charges exceed the allowed amount, there can be substantial fees and penalties applied.  If you don’t keep the account in good standing, the creditor can deny future credit transactions you attempt to do.  Not a happy thought if you want to treat a friend to lunch and your card is denied!  In some cases, if the past due amount becomes too high; the account may be closed or suspended.  The account will continue to accrue interest charges, fees and may even be subject to collection action.  Most secured credit cards also carry annual expense fees.

TIP:   Secured credit cards physically look the same as unsecured credit cards.  There is no way of telling that your card is a secured card.  After a period of time if you have established a positive payment history and adhered to the secured credit card terms, you may apply for an unsecured credit card or loan.  There is no specific time period to do this.  Just be cautious about applying for too many cards.

SECURED CREDIT LOAN: This type of loan is used for high dollar purchases that cannot be paid in full each month – i.e. the purchase of a car or house.  This type of loan is for a specific dollar amount and time period.  If the loan payments are not kept current, the owner of the loan can repossess or take back the item – i.e. the car.  In this case, the car is security for the debt.   Generally without exception, a mortgage loan is secured by the property.  If the mortgage payments are not made, the mortgage holder will take the property in a foreclosure sale.

UNSECURED CREDIT CARD:   An unsecured credit card is a line of credit that is available to you with no restrictions (up to the credit limit), as long as the account is in good standing.   For example, if you charge the purchase of clothing on your unsecured credit card and you don’t pay the full or minimum amount by the Due Date,  the creditor will not repossess or take back the clothes.  However, the account could still be assessed fees and penalties and may be closed or suspended if the matter is not resolved.  Any past due payments will be recorded on your credit report.

UNSECURED CREDIT LOAN:    This type of loan can be for any amount and time period, but is generally not a standard product offered by creditors for large loan amounts.   Creditors want their loans secured by an item of value if there is a default on the account.  The best use of this loan type would be for personal loans among family members or friends where, if payments are not made, no property is attached to the loan and therefore there is no repossession.

TIP:  For most secure and unsecured credit card accounts, it is recommended that the full amount charged be paid in full each month to avoid interest charges and to assist in building a good credit history.  Keeping  any loan in good standing is a good idea.

HOW TO GET A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT?

On November 22, 2003, through the Fair and Accurate Transaction (FACT) Act, consumers were given the right to obtain a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 major credit bureaus.  These credit bureaus collect and analyze credit transactions for their clients (AKA creditors) i.e., banks, credit unions, and retail establishments for example.    The 3 major bureaus are:  Experian (www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742), TransUnion (www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800), and Equifax (www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111).

To obtain a copy of your credit report or reports, you can contact the credit bureaus directly, visit their websites, or use the website:  www.annualcreditreport.com .  This website provides access to each credit bureau report.  A consumer can apply online for a single report or for all 3 reports at the same time.  There are companies who will help you track the contact and accuracy of your credit report for a fee.

TIP:  It is recommended that a consumer stagger their credit report requests every 4 months between each bureau.  In most cases, the same credit information is on each bureau’s report, but sometimes in a slightly different format.  By staggering the reports, a consumer can track activity over the time period as well as the contact of each report.

TIP:  Each time YOU look at your own credit report, there is no ‘inquiry’ activity recorded. However, each time you apply for credit through a third party, there is an ‘inquiry’ recorded.  So, if you apply for too much credit, the next third party you apply to will see the ‘inquiry’ activity and possibly may deny the application for credit due to excessive applications.  Also, there is a chance that the volume of applications may affect your FICO score.  BE CREDIT SMART!

WHAT IS A FICO CREDIT SCORE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Attached to each report is a credit score known as a FICO (Fair Issac Corporation) score.  The FICO score can range from 300 to 850, but the majority of scores usually fall within the 600s and 700s.  Your goal is to have the highest number possible based on your use of credit and the history contained in your credit report.  Each one of the credit bureaus has their own FICO score criteria.  A FICO score may differ between the 3 credit bureaus because not all creditors submit to each bureau.

A FICO score is a combination of many credit associated items.  Based on the type of credit, a FICO score is made up of the following percentages:

  • 35% for history;
  • 15% for length of credit;
  • 10% for newly acquired credit;
  • 10% for types of credit; and
  • 30% for amount of debt owned on credit cards and loans.   A few examples of what can lower a FICO score are:  late payments, too high of credit used against credit limit, past due payments, too many credit cards, judgments, collections, or too many applications for credit.

It is possible to obtain your FICO score by contacting each credit bureau for their process or at the www.annualcreditreportcom website, but there is a fee.  However, if you pay a credit reporting and tracking agency, you may be able to obtain the FICO score free of charge.

If you discover errors within your credit report, you should contact the providing bureau directly.  If they don’t correct the errors, you can contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at 1-855-411-2372 or TTY/TDD 1-855-729-2372 and/or file a complaint with the CFPB at  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/headline-now-accepting-credit-reporting-complaints/ ; or send a letter to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P. O. Box 4503, Iowa City, Iowa 52244.

If you are a homeowner living in San Jose or Sunnyvale and are struggling with your mortgage, please contact ForeclosureHelpSCC, a program funded by the City of San Jose and the City of Sunnyvale at (408)-293-6000 or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org.   Our HUD-approved counselors can help you evaluate your options, learn more about federal and state programs that may help you with your mortgage issues, and will help you create a plan forward.

Please note: All content included in the ForeclosureHelpSCC blog is provided for information only and should NOT be considered legal or tax advice. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on our hotline: (408)-293-6000, or visit our website: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org or send us an email: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293- 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) -293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

¿Por Qué Trabajar Con Un Consejero de Casa?

Consejero En el programa de Foreclosure Help frecuentementenos pregunta por qué un propietario debe reunirse con un consejero de casa.  Usted puede ver una entrevista (en español) en Univisión sobre el programa ForeclosureHelp aquí.

Aquí están nuestras 5 razones principales para trabajar con un consejero de vivienda en una agencia aprobada por HUD:


1. Consejos Honesto: Un consejero de casa le ayudará a evaluar su situación. Vamos a hablar con usted acerca de lo bueno y lo malo con una opinión imparcial. También tenemos el conocimientos básicos de las mejores prácticas y los estándares de la industria nacional para la consejería para los propietario de vivienda. Además, hemos trabajado con muchos propietarios de viviendas, bancos y administradores, y esta experiencia significa que sabemos cómo mantener el proceso en marcha, y sabemos que los programas que pueden ayudar a su situación.

2. Explicación de la correspondencia de su prestamista: Un consejero de casa certificado puede ayudarle a entender la terminología utilizada en la correspondencia de su prestamista y en la documentación que se usa durante el proceso para modificación el préstamo. Mientras su prestamista le puede decir que su préstamo se va “ir a la ejecución hipotecaria”, nosotros le podemos ayudar a entender lo que el tiempo real es de la ejecución hipotecaria y la forma de estar al tanto para cosas importantes como una Notificación de Incumplimiento.

3. Su presupuesto: Si usted está solicitando una modificación de préstamo, el banco va a pedir su presupuesto. Un consejero trabajará con usted para revisar su presupuesto. Los consejeros puede darle consejería acerca de su presupuesto y calcular sus relación de deuda de la vivienda-al-ingreso familiar para que entienda su capacidad de pagar su hipoteca y explicar cómo esas mismas relaciones podría afectar su elegibilidad para recibir asistencia. Por ejemplo, un consejero puede revisar sus ingresos contra a los gastos de su vivienda y le explicará cómo afectará su elegibilidad para Making Home Affordable.

4. La comunicación con su banco o Prestamista: ¿Ha presentado documentación a su banco o prestamista múltiples veces, o llama su representante designado, pero no pudieron hablar con ellos? Este tipo de problemas no se pueden eliminar por completo, un consejero certificado puede tener un contacto fiable con su prestamista o tener un método eficaz de presentar los documentos que pueden ayudar a solucionar algunos de los obstáculos en el camino durante la revisión del prestamista.

5. Recursos: Debido a que trabajamos en esta industria, sabemos cuáles son los programas, los recursos y las opciones que están disponibles para ayudarle en su situación. También sabemos si un banco o prestamista no está siguiendo las pautas del programa y puede ayudar a resolver ese problema. Somos locales, al igual que usted, y podemos decir acerca de los programas locales y estatales que pueden ser útiles.

La oficina Foreclosure Help está compuesto por los consejeros de Asian Inc; Neighborhood Housing Services of Silicon Valley; Project Sentinel; and SurePath Financial Solutions.  Las cuatro agencias son aprobados por HUD.

Si usted es dueño de una casa en San José o en Sunnyvale y están luchando con su hipoteca, por favor póngase en contacto con ForeclosureHelpSCC, un programa financiado por la ciudad de San José y la ciudad de Sunnyvale, al (408) -293 a 6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org. Nuestros consejeros aprobados por HUD puede ayudarle a evaluar sus opciones, aprender más acerca de los programas federales y estatales que pueden ayudarle con sus problemas de hipoteca, y le ayudará a crear un plan para seguir.

Por favor, tenga en cuenta: Todos los contenidos incluidos en el blog ForeclosureHelpSCC se proporciona únicamente a título informativo y no debe ser considerada como consejo legal o fiscal. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta, por favor no dude en contactarnos a nuestra línea directa: (408) 293-6000, o visite nuestro sitio: www.foreclosurehelpscc.org o envíenos un correo electrónico: help@foreclosurehelpscc.org.

Para hacer una cita con un consejero casa, llámenos: (408) 293-6000