At one time or another, many families experience serious financial hardships which can lead to foreclosure and ruin your credit.

What is foreclosure?

Foreclosure is the legal process by which the lender takes back your home to sell it because your loan is in default.

How can I prevent foreclosure?

The best way to save your home is to be proactive. Seek help as soon as you think you may fall behind on a payment. Once you have missed one payment it is hard to get back on track with them.

Read more: How to Prevent Foreclosure

A short sale in real estate is not always a pleasant transaction, but if done properly can be beneficial.

There are many ways to lose a home, but signing away ownership in a manner that destroys credit, embarrasses the family and strips an owner of dignity is one of the hardest. For homeowners who can no longer afford to keep mortgage payments current, there are alternatives. One of those options is called a "short sale."

What is a short sale?

A short sale is when the lender is accepting less than the total amount due. Not all lenders will accept short sales or discounted payoffs, especially if it would make more financial sense to foreclose; moreover, not all sellers nor all properties qualify for a short sale.

Read more: Real Estate Short Sales

Are you trying to refinance your home to get into a more affordable and more stable fixed-rate mortgage but are unable to because the value of your home has declined or because your credit history is less than perfect?

If the thought of a lower monthly payment, lower interest rate or fewer years on your mortgage sounds appealing, there has never been a better time to refinance your home. That’s because of a little-known government program that few people are aware of. This special program allows you to refinance your home at low rates, and reduce your mortgage payments.

Read more: A Stimulus Package for Homeowners

Some form of education after high school is necessary for a prosperous future. Some people go to college, others go to trade schools, and others get certificates in specific areas of study. No matter what you choose, getting student loans is usually a necessity. Effectively managing your student loan debt is essential to develop and maintain your credit history and ability to borrow in the future.

What can happen if I don’t pay my loans?

  • Late payments may be reported on your credit report, impacting your ability to borrow in the future, including refinancing your student loans for lower interest rates
  • You may incur additional charges and penalties
  • You may start getting collection calls and letters
  • If you default, it could go to a collection agency, your wages could be garnished, and a judgment may be entered against you
  • If it is a government loan, it may impact your ability to get government benefits and jobs

Read more: Student Loans and Your Credit

When getting a loan, no matter for what, you want to make sure you do it the right way so you can benefit from lower interest rates and more favorable terms, as well as making sure you are able to afford the payment.

  1. Verify your credit - Make sure you pull all three credit bureau reports and review them to make sure all items are accurate. This will allow you to correct anything on your credit that is inaccurate before you apply for financing.
  2. Determine what amount of payment you can afford - Ask yourself- will this payment fit into my overall budget? Remember to include other debts that may change or be incurred when you get the loan. For example, when getting a car you will also need to get insurance.

    The lender will determine the maximum amount of payment you qualify for based on your current income and debt. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is an amount you can afford. Each person’s financial situation is different.
  3. Choose a lending institution - Lenders have different requirements and guidelines. Check with various ones to see which one is the best fit for you based on your needs and situation. It is important though that you don’t let them run your credit when you meet with them as this could bring your score down and affect your lending ability.
  4. Be aware fees and costs - Each lender has different fees and costs associated with getting the loan, as well as down payment requirements.

Read more: 4 Key Steps for Getting Financing

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