Credit Repair Companies. Good or Bad Idea?

Credit Repair Companies. Good or Bad Idea?

St Paul, MN: There are a lot of credit repair firms and credit counselors that have not acted in the best interest of their clients and this has certainly given the business a bad name. But that does not mean that the basic concept is not good. As a matter of fact–improving credit scores is even more important in today’s market. With the current credit crunch, expect a much harder time getting mortgage loan approval with weak credit.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae has implemented interest rate adjustments for anyone under 740 credit score. The mortgage insurance companies are adjusting their rates and refusing to supply mortgage insurance to anyone with a score lower than around 660. FHA, technically says they will allow a score as low as 580, you’ll have a very difficult time finding a mortgage loan approval with less than a 640 credit score.

The national average credit score is around 680. Approximately 10 million people may get a new mortgage this year, but 80 million others have credit problems and can’t get a mortgage that will help them achieve their dreams.

Self Help May Be Best

You see the advertisements in newspapers, on TV, and on the Internet. You hear them on the radio. You get fliers in the mail. You may even get calls from telemarketers offering credit repair services. They all make the same claims:

1) “Credit problems? No problem!”

2) “We can erase your bad credit – 100% guaranteed.”

3) “Create a new credit identity – legally.”

4) “We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever!”

Do yourself a favor and save some money, too. Don’t believe these statements. Only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan will improve your credit report.

The Scam

Everyday, companies nationwide appeal to consumers with poor credit histories. They promise, for a fee, to clean up your credit report so you can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, or even a job. The truth is, they usually can’t deliver. After you pay them hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees, these companies do nothing to improve your credit report; most simply vanish with your money.

The Warning Signs

If you decide to respond to a credit repair offer, look for these tell-tale signs of a scam:

1) companies that want you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services.

2) companies that do not tell you your legal rights and what you can do for yourself for free.

3) companies that recommend that you not contact a credit reporting company directly.

4) companies that suggest that you try to invent a “new” credit identity – and then, a new credit report – by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number.

5) companies that advise you to dispute all information in your credit report or take any action that seems illegal, like creating a new credit identity. If you follow illegal advice and commit fraud, you may be subject to prosecution.

You could be charged and prosecuted for mail or wire fraud if you use the mail or telephone to apply for credit and provide false information. It’s a federal crime to lie on a loan or credit application, to misrepresent your Social Security number, and to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service under false pretenses.

Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require you to pay until they have completed the services they have promised.

The Truth

No one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report. The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA):

1) You’re entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, like denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft.

2) Each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – is required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The three companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.

To order, click on annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can print the form from ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/ .

Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. For more information, see Your Access to Free Credit Reports at ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/credit/ .

Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge you up to $9.50 for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.

3) You can dispute mistakes or outdated items for free. Under the FCRA, both the consumer reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a consumer reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To take advantage of all your rights under this law, contact the consumer reporting company and the information provider.

Reliable Companies?

Do they exist? You bet… there are many good companies to choose from. As with just about anything else, be sure to do your homework before selecting a company. Check them out with the Better Business Bureau, make sure the give you their Client Bill of Rights for your review, and make sure they offer a free, no obligation, confidential credit and debt analysis WITH NO PRESSURE before handing over a penny of your hard earned money!


Are No Doc loans still available?

“NO DOC” loans had been around for years, and served a niche market for the self-employed, commission, and tipped income home owners. Because of their additional risk, they came with higher interest rates, bigger down payments, and generally were only available to self-employed people with a minimum of 2-years provable self-employment history and trouble documenting their true income.

As the home loan markets changed through the early 2000’s, these loans grew in popularity, especially once Wall Street introduced new no doc, stated income, stated assets, no job, and other ridiculous variations with underwriting guidelines so silly almost anyone could qualify for a home loan.

These new variations turned a small niche program into what became commonly known as liar loans. This was because because both customers and Loan Officers were easily allowed to misrepresent the borrowers true circumstances.  They were highly abused by consumers, and bad loan officers everywhere, as people realized they could easily get a loan they either should not be getting at all, or more commonly, to get a bigger loan than they normally would have received.

These liar loans were one of the first casualties of the mortgage market meltdown as many of these customers were some of the very first people to end up in foreclosure. Lenders everywhere quickly pulled them from their product lines, and many states now have laws on the books banning them completely.

Unfortunately, the self-employed, commissions, and tipped income people who truly need and benefited from stated income, no documentation (NINA, NIVA, NISA, SISA) type loans are now without loan options. The old saying, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch… In this case, it was a whole bunch of bad apples that spoiled it for the one who really needs it.

If you are looking for a respectable No Documentation loan, you are pretty much out of luck, unless you are:

  1. In a state that still allows them
  2. Have excellent credit
  3. Are in need of under 65% loan-to-value
  4. Are willing to pay huge up-front costs and very high interest rates to “hard money lenders

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Looking for a “no doc” loan in MN and WI?, Can you still get financing? Maybe, but not without fully documenting your ability to repay your loan.

But, don’t give up just yet. Let a licensed professional loan officer review a full application.


MORTGAGES for SELF-EMPLOYED, and COMMISSIONED INCOME Clients

MORTGAGES FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED,   COMMISSIONED, or TIPPED INCOME Clients

Self employed individuals often ask … Why is it so difficult to qualify for mortgage financing?

Minneapolis, MN:  Self-employed borrowers, those who work on commission, or those who receive tipped income present one of the most challenging areas of mortgage underwriting. Qualifying self-employed people often requires significant extra time, energy, and patience. A fair and honest pre-qualification requires a special set of Loan Officer skills and expertise.

Long gone are the days when any Loan Officer could give a low doc, no doc, or stated income loan to a self-employed borrower, commission, or tipped income client without any training or special consideration.

Generally speaking, it’s tougher for the self-employed buyer to qualify for a mortgage because it is hard to answer the question: “What is your income?”

What did you earn, what did you write off? Taking advantage of tax laws to reduce income is great for reducing tax liability, but also shows you make less money, making a potential home mortgage loan approval difficult.

Next lenders are looking to see a income history. Is income increasing, decreasing, or stable? This all comes into play for self-employed, commissions, and tipped income home buyers and those same type clients interested in a refinance of their existing home loan.

Today, lenders are back to the old way of providing mortgage loans, and the vast majority of Mortgage Companies, and especially Mortgage Loan Officers are either afraid to work on a self-employed persons home loan, or simply lack the extra knowledge and skill required to get self-employed people a home loan.

Reading, understanding, and qualifying a buyer off of tax returns is not for the weak of heart, or unlicensed bank reps working at a call center.


Self-Employed and Commissioned DOCUMENTS REQUIRED:

Be prepared to send us the following documents. We will be unable to assist you or evaluate you mortgage loan qualifications without them:

  • Last two years personal tax returns (all pages, All schedules)
  • Last two years business returns if employed through a corporation (all pages, all schedules)
  • Current Year-to-Date P&L (Profit and Loss Statement) and Balance Sheet

We will also require the traditional standard home loan approval documents:

OTHER INCOME

  • Copy of most recent two (2) years W-2 statements (for you and any co-borrowers)
  • Copy of pay stubs covering the last (30) thirty days (for you and any co-borrowers)

ASSETS

  • Copy of most recent monthly bank statements (ALL PAGES. If it says “page 1 of 3”, I need all 3 pages no matter what is on them.
  • Copy of most recent statements on 401K, IRA, or Mutual Fund Accounts
  • Copy of most recent brokerage statement for any stocks, bonds or certificates of deposits (or copies of actual certificate)

LESS THAN 2-YEARS SELF-EMPLOYED? YES, it is possible… But it is an exception and NOT easy to get approved. You will need to have worked in the exact same field, with a similar income, and have at least 1-yr of self employed Federal Tax Returns