• Braxton Un-Breaks The Bank

    Nearly 15 years after she sang about the nights being so unkind, six-time Grammy Award-winner Toni Braxton says bankruptcy has “worked out really great” for her. The Wall Street Journal reported on November 9, 2011, that during the premiere episode of her reality television show’s second season, Braxton flew her sisters out to Los Angeles to see her new home after successfully discharging her from a number of debts in her Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. “So I’m starting over, and starting over can be a great thing,” Braxton said during the episode of “Braxton Family Values.”

    Braxton first filed for bankruptcy in 1998 after a dispute over her recording contract, but it was when the singer found herself in need of foreclosure help with her house in the Century City area of Los Angeles in October 2009 that led to Braxton returning to bankruptcy court again in October 2010. In August 2011, Braxton struck a deal to ensure that she would be able to keep her Grammy Awards as well as her Tiffany jewelry and 1995 Porsche 911.

    While you are more than likely nowhere near the $18.3 million in debts that Braxton claimed when filing for her second bankruptcy, the singer’s case can still serve as a reminder of how completing a bankruptcy means test will never leave you in a worse situation than before you filed. Just as her own attorneys found a way to let Braxton hang on to her six Grammys, our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer will work to help you retain your home, car or other items you fear will be taken by creditors. When you are concerned about losing property, those fears are some of the best reasons to file bankruptcy rather than being reasons not to.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Not Many Positives To Be Found In Latest Reports About Negative Equity, Delinquency Rates

    Delinquency rates rose in the June-to-September period for the first time since the last three months of 2009, the Associated Press reported on November 8, 2011. According to a report from TransUnion, 5.88 percent of homeowners missed two or more payments in the third quarter. That first sign of needing foreclosure help was an increase from 5.82 percent in the second quarter of 2011. The AP noted that the rise surprised TransUnion researchers who previously forecast late payments to fall for the quarter.

    A separate report also showed that 46.2 percent of single-family homeowners in the Chicago metropolitan area in the third quarter had negative equity. According to the AP, a report from Zillow Inc. found an increase from the 32.9 percent of homeowners who owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth a year earlier.

    TransUnion is now forecasting a few quarters of elevated nonpayment rates due to the uncertain economic outlook, although the AP said the company still expects the delinquency rate to resume declining in 2012. The widespread problems that saw an increase in delinquency rates for all but 10 states and the District of Columbia could likely lead to many homeowners considering the benefits of filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy .

    “More and more homeowners are likely to struggle,” Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S. Housing in TransUnion’s financial services business unit, told the AP. “I’m not sure this is a one-quarter blip.” If you are tired of struggling and want the help of an experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyer in filing a bankruptcy means test , contact our office today to set up a free consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Almost Half of Chicago Area Underwater

    The percentage of homes in the Chicago area with negative equity rose 9 percent from the second quarter, as more than 46 percent of all single-family homes with a mortgage in the Chicago area were underwater in the third quarter, the Chicago Tribune reported on November 7, 2011. According to a report from the real estate website Zillow, Chicago’s negative equity percentage far exceeds the national rate of the 28.6 percent of homes with mortgages that were underwater at the end of September. The Tribune also noted that 43.4 percent of all homes sold in the Chicago area in the third quarter sold for a loss, compared to 34.4 percent nationally.

    To many homeowners seeking foreclosure help , the numbers might not be too much of a surprise. The Tribune said the report could be an indicator of the demand possible for the Obama administration’s plan to expand its mortgage refinancing program for homeowners unable to take advantage of low mortgage interest rates because of insufficient equity. The Home Affordable Refinance Program could double from the current 894,000 by loosening the lender guidelines for government-backed mortgages and removing the current maximum cap of a 125 percent loan-to-value ratio, according to the Tribune. For those who have been considering a bankruptcy means test to deal with their mortgage problems, HARP reform may not be the silver bullet.

    “There’s no one single overarching policy that’s going to get us out of it,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, told the Tribune. “The housing economy is not going to get back and operate on all cylinders for four or five years.”

    If the lack of equity in your home is just one of the problems causing you to consider filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer today to see how our firm can help.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney