• Foreclosures Pushing Down Home Values, Nearly 250K Underwater

    On Monday, we discussed some of the options available to the thousands of homeowners in the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois needing foreclosure help . This crisis affects entire neighborhoods, as the Chicago Tribune reported on October 2, 2012, that a CoreLogic report said local home prices in the Chicago area declined 2.5 percent from a year ago and slipped 1.7 percent compared to July. This was the second largest decrease in the United States.

    Two days prior, a commentary in the Tribune by urban affairs consultant and teacher John McCarron noted that Chicago has “22,169 dwellings in serious mortgage delinquency headed for default and an additional 9,240 already repossessed by lenders and up for sale.” However, McCarron added that the figure does not include thousands of “bungalows, three-flats, walk-ups” in which “delinquent mortgage-holders have handed the keys to lenders who, in turn, are letting the residences rot without trying to resell.” McCarron wrote that some experts estimate the city now has at least 40,000 vacant dwelling units.

    McCarron added that the Woodstock Institute found that more than a quarter of all mortgaged homes in Cook County were “underwater” going into 2012. That translates to some 245,486 locations in which borrowers owe more than their homes are worth; McCarron points out that the average home price has declined 39 percent since 2006. He also noted that the situation is even worse in the predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods that were “heavily worked-over by subprime lenders,” as values have fallen more dramatically and the underwater rate is “a predictor of future foreclosures.”

    If you are underwater on your mortgage, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy could allow you to remove a second mortgage or home equity line of credit and pay back only the first mortgage if your home is worth less than the balance due on your first mortgage. However, you need to have the income necessary to make a Chapter 13 repayment plan work, and that can be an issue for many homeowners throughout Illinois.

    The good news is that filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy also has its benefits for homeowners facing foreclosure, and we will further discuss that in our next blog post. If you are facing foreclosure and want to know which plan would work better for you, contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 or use the form on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers see which plan would be best.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • New Tool Helps Consumers Manage Credit Card Debt, Save Interest

    Holiday shopping will be here before you know it, which could make some new tools on one website particularly helpful for thousands of families. The New York Times reported on October 1, 2012, that the website CardHub.com introduced calculators that help consumers decide the best option for paying down their credit card debt .

    The website features a “credit card payoff calculator” that lets you enter the amount of debt you aim to pay off, the card’s regular interest rate (plus any introductory rates) and the length of time over which you would like to pay off the debt. The Times reported that the calculator not only tells you how much you will need to pay each month, but how much you will pay in interest as well.

    According to the Times, the tool also recommends other credit cards that could have more favorable terms than your current card. CardHub Chief Executive Odysseas Papadimitriou told the Times that “it might make sense to seek the best deal you can get and pay off your debt in the most cost-effective way,” but cautioned against applying for a new card just save on interest if you expect to apply for significant credit in the near future, such as a mortgage.

    The tool can also be beneficial if you plan to incur some debt and simply want to evaluate the best way to pay it off. According to the Times, “two other versions of the tool let you compare different credit cards, and another takes into account any balance-transfer fees you might pay.”

    Are you overwhelmed with credit card debt? You should know that you may able to discharge your unsecured debt by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy , or you could end up paying back a fraction of what you owe through a Chapter 13 repayment plan. If you wanted to see whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 , contact our firm now at (866) 930-7482 or use the form on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys