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Debt Settlement – The Dos and Don’ts

19 days ago

Falling into the debt trap is easy; but coming out of it isn’t. Life can become difficult when the monthly income is not adequate enough to cover the living expenses as well as the EMIs that need to be paid on the various loans. But there is a way to get things under control and maybe even become debt-free as soon as possible – debt settlement.

Debt settlement is a method of combining all debts and turning them into one single debt. The borrower here would be making one monthly payment instead of multiple ones. Also, this one single payment would be much lower than the sum total of all monthly payments the borrower may have been making till now. 

Debt settlement services are available in plenty. Some may even contact the borrowers directly via debt settlement live transfers leads, so as to enjoy a competitive edge in the market. However, before rushing into things, it is important to understand a few dos and don’ts about debt settlement. 

The Dos

To check with the credit counselor

There are many consumer credit counseling agencies that offer the first session of credit counseling, absolutely free. All that a borrower needs to do, is sit with the counselor for an hour or so and go over his finances. At the end of such a session, the borrower will probably have a fixed budget and a debt management plan (DMP) created by the counselor. The main aim of a DMP is to help the borrower become debt-free. This might take anywhere between three and five years depending upon how much the borrower owes. With the introductory session being free, it makes sense for every borrower (who is interested in debt settlement) to take the advice of the credit counselor. He can later decide whether he wants to go ahead with the counseling or look for another option.

To apply for a new loan with a bank/credit union

This would actually be the best option if a loan is readily available at a low rate of interest. Such a loan can be used to pay off all the creditors and becoming free from multiple debts. The monthly payment to be made would be much lower when compared to what the borrower may be paying till now. This option can save borrowers from getting harassed by the debt collectors. 

To try and settle the debts

With basic negotiating skills a borrower can convince his lenders to settle his debts for 50 or even 60 percent less than what he owes. There are high chances that the lenders might agree if the borrower has defaulted on his payments for six months. This method is not exactly debt settlement; but with the right kind of approach, it can help in getting debts under control and pay them off. 

To hire a debt settlement company

Negotiation is not everyone’s cup of tea. Hiring a debt settlement company would be a wise move to make if a particular borrower is not confident about his negotiation skills or if he doesn’t have the required cash to settle his debts. Debt settlement companies, including the ones that contact borrowers through debt settlement live transfers leads, will have experienced debt counselors who would be experts in negotiating with all kinds of lenders. They will settle all debts and leave the borrower with just one single monthly payment. This option can help a borrower in being debt-free at the earliest. 

The Don’ts

Not to be scammed

There are many scam artists who pose as debt settlement agencies. They end up looting many innocent borrowers who may be in a hurry to become free of their debts. These agencies offer loans, collect payments but do not do anything about settling the debts. By the time borrowers realize this, they would have lost quite a bit of money. With the money paid to the scam artists gone down the drain, the borrowers will be even deeper into debts. Therefore, it is important to check out the credentials before saying ‘Yes’ to any debt settlement agency that might come via debt settlement live transfers leads.

Not to go for a secured debt settlement option

There are secured debt settlement loans where in the borrowers can obtain loans by offering any of their assets as collateral. In most cases it will be their homes that the borrowers need to offer. Not only would such an option put their homes at risk, it would also make them go deeper into debt (since these loans are usually for seven or more years). Getting an unsecured loan would be better here since it will only take about five years or less than that to become debt-free. Also, this would mean the borrower will not have to put his house at risk. 

Not to apply for debt settlement if there is no cash available

Debt settlements may reduce the amount that need to be paid against debts; but they do require some kind of payment. For instance, a $5000 debt may be settled for $2500. Still the borrower will need to have $2500 in cash so as to pay the lender off. So debt settlement is not an option for those borrowers who have no cash to pay back their debts. This goes for even those borrowers who have been six months behind in making their payments. 

Not to fall for the big promises

Many debt settlement companies, who come via debt settlement live transfers leads, tend to make huge promises. Some of these may offer freedom from debts in just a few months upon the payment of some upfront fees. However, no honest debt settlement company would ever charge any such upfront fees. Until the company settles all the debts and presents a debt payment plan, nothing would ever be charged to the borrower. Therefore it becomes very important for borrowers to watch out for such red flags while choosing debt settlement companies. 

Debt settlement is definitely an excellent option for those who want to get rid of their multiple debts in the fastest way. Keeping the above points in mind can help borrowers in taking the right decisions with respect to settling their debts.

What to do when paying your mortgage becomes a struggle

2 months ago

Tough situations in life can reduce your financial ability, making it difficult for you to make your mortgage payments. This article might throw some light on what you can do.

Nothing can be predicted in life. You might lose your job any time; someone dear to you might fall sick all of a sudden; or you might suddenly start facing financial problems due to any other reason. Whatever may be the situation it can make it difficult for you to pay up your mortgage payments.

The main problem with the non-payment of mortgage is the biggest fear associated with it — the fear of losing your home. You may be prepared to any extent to save your home. Here are a few things you can do:

Find out which kind of mortgage you have

If you don’t already know this, you may have to go through the mortgage documents that you received during settlement. If you find it tough to understand them, you can check with your loan servicer. It could be any of the following three types:

· Fixed Rate Mortgages (FRMs): This mortgage comes with a fixed rate of interest. So you would be paying the same amount as your monthly mortgage payment throughout the term of your loan, unless there is a change in your insurance or taxes.

· Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs): The interest rate in this type of mortgage keeps changing through the term of your loan. So you can expect an increase or decrease in the mortgage payment that you make depending on the prevailing mortgage rate in the market.

· Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgages: This is a new type of mortgage where in the rate remains fixed for a couple of initial years and then starts varying.

There are chances that your monthly mortgage payment keeps increasing every now and then if you have taken out an ARM or a hybrid ARM. In such a case if you start facing a problem making those payments, you might want to refinance your mortgage and convert it into an FRM. Before doing so, make sure you go through your contract and check for prepayment penalties if any.

Get current on your payments

Falling behind on your mortgage payments is not exactly a good scene since it might prompt your lender to take action against you. Unless you are ok with losing your home to a foreclosure, it is better to discuss your options with a loan modification counselor. Many such loan modification counselors or firms may get in touch with you directly via loan modification live transfers leads.

Here are a few points that can help you understand whether or not you qualify for loan modification as per the “Making Home Affordable Modification Program” (HAMP):

· Your home has to be your primary residence

· The amount that you owe on your first mortgage should be less than $729,750

· You must have got your mortgage before the first of January 2009.

· The total monthly payment that you make on your first mortgage should exceed 31% of your monthly gross income.

· You must be facing a financial hardship (job loss or illness) due to which you are not able to afford your mortgage payments

Once you know you qualify for a loan modification, you will have to prepare some documentation that will prove your financial hardship. These include:

· Details about your monthly gross income (recent pay stubs)

· The recent income tax return you have filed

· Details about your savings and any other assets you may have

· Monthly mortgage statement

· Details about any HELOC or second mortgage you may have on your home

· Your credit card statements and bank statements that show your account balances

· Details about the monthly payments on any of the other loans you may have taken (car loans or student loans)

· A hardship letter that describes your financial situation clearly, detailing the circumstances that were responsible for the increase in your expenses or the decrease in your income

A loan modification will make your mortgage payments affordable by decreasing the interest rate, increasing the term of your loan, cancelling or forgiving a portion of your debt, or converting your ARM loan into FRM. Your loan modification counselor will negotiate with your lender to accept the modified terms of your loans by convincing him of your inability to make mortgage payments in the current scenario. Your lender is most likely to be convinced if you make good faith efforts to make your payments and reduce your other expenses.

Apart from loan modification, there are also other methods you can try, to avoid defaults or foreclosure:

· Reinstatement: In this method you agree to pay the entire amount that is due from you (including penalties) by a certain date that you might have agreed upon. If your problem is temporary this option might work for you.

· Repayment plan: In this option you would be given a fixed amount of time to get current on your payments. A portion of your past dues would be added to your regular payment for a certain period of time. If the number of payments that you have missed is small and if you can afford paying a little extra, this option might be appropriate for you.

· Forbearance: In this option you will be refrained from making your mortgage payments for a certain period of time. At the end of this time period you can get current on your payments by either making a lump sum payment or through additional partial payments that you make over a couple of months. This could be a good option if you are on a disability leave from your job and expect to join back after a certain period of time.

· Selling your home: If you can get a good price for your home, it can be a good idea to sell it and get the funds that you need to pay back your mortgage in full.

· Bankruptcy: This probably would be your last option if there is no other way to save your home. It is going to stay on your credit report for about 10 years, making it difficult for you to borrow any other loan, get job, or even purchase life insurance during that period. However, it still works as a fresh start for those who are not able to pay back their debts.

Whatever you choose to do to get out of the struggle of making your mortgage payments, it is very important for you to stay away from scams. Make sure you do your homework thoroughly before signing any contract.

Top Ten Ways to Improve Chances of College Admission

3 months ago

Summary: Worried about college admissions? Don’t fret. Here is an article that talks about some of the best ways through which you can improve your chances of gaining college admissions.

Out of 43 educational institutions that were surveyed in Chicago, 67% claimed that they Googled prospective students before accepting their admissions. 86% ended up researching their social media profiles. In fact in most cases, students themselves request the admission officers to check out their social media profiles. 

College recruiters of today are very net savvy and believe in looking up prospective candidates before approving their admission applications. In an attempt to fill in admissions, some may even try contacting prospective candidates through education loan live transfers leads.

While online presence can increase the chances of gaining college admissions, there are certain things that can negatively impact those chances. That said, here are a few tips that can help students improve their chances of college admission.

Putting up a professional profile picture

In most cases looks do matter, which is why it becomes important for students to put up professional profile pictures on all their social media platforms. When they can spend thousands on college admissions, tests and tutoring fees, they can always spend a little more on hiring a professional photographer for good profile pictures.

Making the posts complementary

Adopting a casual attitude while posting things on social media is good; but there are things that are best hidden from college recruiters. The posts need to be complement the personal profiles of the students. It is wise to avoid any suggestions of violence, salacious behavior, or any type of bullying. The rule is just this – “Don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t show to your Grandmother.” 

Updating profiles

Contradictory information on profiles could be one of the top reasons behind the rejection of admission. Therefore it is important for all students to keep their social media profiles updated. All profiles – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should have the same information and should match with that in the resumes and college applications of students. This will enhance credibility.

Un-tagging and Unfollowing when necessary

Getting tagged in questionable pictures or content could lead to rejection of admission. Upsetting a friend could be better than getting rejected from preferred colleges. It is wiser to unfollow or even unfriend people who may be posting questionable pictures or content.

Showcasing interests

Social media provides an excellent platform to showcase interests. Students should focus on posting content that can underscore their interests. They can share some articles that are interesting and relevant to their interests, upload their favorite music or artwork, or share videos or pictures from their performances or sporting events. Whatever they do, they have to make sure it looks absolutely authentic. College recruiters can easily tell genuine profiles from the fake ones. 

Having a website

Owning a website could be the best way to establish an online presence. It is like creating a home base which will have all information about the student who owns the website – his pictures, his expertise, his accomplishments, and links to his social media profiles. To establish credibility it is important that the student double-checks the accuracy of the information that he posts on his website and make sure the same matches with that on his social media profiles. Apart from showcasing the entire personal brand at one place, a website also establishes the person as someone who is an original thinker. By improving search engine optimization, a website would also make it easier for college recruiters to find the student when they Google him up.

Posting Blogs and Videos

Blogs and videos are great ways to showcase a student’s passion and knowledge. Also, they are searchable and shareable, which makes them excellent SEO tools. Students can write articles or showcase some of the school work that they have done. They could create videos of things that they are passionate about. It could be a great way to highlight their communication skills and establish themselves as experts in certain fields.

Having proper email address and social handles

The email addresses and social handles that students use should as far as possible match their names. RedSoxSuch or cutiepie1234 cannot be considered as professional when it comes to social handles and email addresses. It is important to have a Gmail account to seem tech savvy and up-to-date.

Avoiding politics posting on public places

As far as possible students should avoid uploading posts about politics on public platforms. They can however do this in private or in closed groups. A post like “Make America Great Again” could be a reason for rejection if the college recruiter or application reviewer happens to be a Democrat.

Following the college at all places

Almost every educational institution that students apply for, will have their own social media profiles. This is where they post information about themselves, their procedures, and events. Students should follow their preferred colleges across all social media platforms so as to stay informed and updated about events that are relevant to their applications. This could also help them understand procedures and check the status of their applications.

Social media profiles can be used to supplement traditional admission applications. Used well, they can build powerful personal brands that can significantly boost the chances of the students to gain college admissions. While the need to create professional social media profiles cannot be disregarded, it is also important that students think twice before they post anything on social media. Lots of precautions need to be taken while accepting friend requests, liking or sharing content, getting tagged in pictures, joining groups, or while carrying out any other activity on social media. Every step needs to be planned in advance so that the information that goes to College recruiters via social media is something that the student wants them to get.

With more and more students adopting the social media technique, it has become easier for college recruiters to understand their prospective candidates and decide on giving them a chance. Once in a while students have to Google themselves up to make sure the college recruiters who come to them via education loan live transfers leads, get no reason to reject their applications.