Ask the experts a credit or debt question

The holidays are over and the bills may be starting to pile up.

Did you overspend for Christmas? Have you made a new year’s resolution to get your financial house in order?

If you have a credit or debt question — including one that affects your mortgage or a possible foreclosure — please ask it below.

Experts from CredAbility, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that helps consumers deal with debt, will answer many of them starting next week. Thanks.

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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15 comments Add your comment

Nicole

January 19th, 2011
9:01 am

If my homes value is way below what I paid could I use this as a bargaining tool to have my loan modified? Are you allowed to threaten non payment if the mortgage isn’t modified?

Bryan

January 19th, 2011
9:05 am

@Nicole…why threaten non-payment??? You made the agreement to pay the loan. Most of our homes have been devalued lately. This is not an excuse to not honor a loan agreement.

David

January 19th, 2011
9:16 am

My girlfriend just filed Chapter 7, how long will it be before she will be able to purchase a home?

Mikki Walker

January 19th, 2011
9:25 am

I recently went through a home modification which did a great deal of damage to my credit score about 200 points worth but over the last quarter payments have began to be reported and my score has climed back by 30 points how soon before I get to a 620 again I am looking to purchase a vehicle mid summer and would like to be able to get a good deal which I am used to.

beginning 620
low 420
now 490

Thanks.

Sarah

January 19th, 2011
9:25 am

I am 29. I have no debt, having paid off my student loan 2 years ago and my car loan last year. I have two credit cards, both of which I have had since college, one with a $12,000 limit and one with a $10,000 limit. I do not use either of them much and pay them off each month (I use them for online purchases and gas). Is it bad to have this much unsecured credit? Or is it better to just have them open, use them occasionally, never be late, etc.? I have considered just closing one of them, since I do not really need both of them.

Kelly

January 19th, 2011
9:29 am

I have always had great credit and little to no debt excluding a mortgage. But the past year, my spending got out of control, some of the stuff was necessity and emergency situations that came up. I am now in approximately $60K worth of credit card debt and can’t seem to get my head above water. I have never made a late payment on my mortgage and my car is paid off. If I file Chapter 7 can they come after my home or car? What can they come after? How do I start fresh as far as my credit goes afterwards?

Mary Godbolt

January 19th, 2011
9:38 am

Are there any programs for homeowners whose mortgage is underwater?

Lise

January 19th, 2011
9:39 am

I was laid off from a decent paying job in the beginning of 2009 and I was out of work for 3 months and found another job but I am making less money (4.00 an hr less). I had money in savings which I used to keep up with my bills. I have tried calling the credit card company to get a reduction in my monthly payments and was told that I do not make enough. I am three months behind on two of my credit cards and I am considering filing for Bankruptcy which I do not want to do, but I do not see any other options right now.

Steve

January 19th, 2011
9:56 am

We keep getting these items in the mail that say we can reduce a large portion of our credit card debt without hurting our credit rating. I throw them away. Is this something I should be paying more attention to?

Doug

January 19th, 2011
10:11 am

Is it really possible to get the amount of federal income tax that you owe the IRS greatly reduced like it is shown on the TV commericals – Tax Masters? If so, what is the procedure?

Mitzymy

January 19th, 2011
10:44 am

I am not an expert, but I do know that if you file bankruptcy the credit card debt and student loans still have to be paid off. They are not included in the litigation. In the past they were, but a few years ago the credit card industry changed it, and it is now a law. If I had 60k in credit card debt, I would just leave the country. There is no way you are going to pay it off with just making monthly payments. I have a credit card that I owe 4k on, and the interest alone is 90 dollars per month out of a payment of 145.00. I plan to pay it off though, and soon. Owing on a credit card is really dangerous, because you are at their mercy. My credit card interest rate went up from 9% to 19% for no reason. When I called them, they said they were doing this to everyone, and that was it.

Anaskur

January 19th, 2011
11:49 am

I have been in this country 5 years now but cannot get the bank to give me a credit card to build up my credit score. I was originally dependent on my spouse for 2 years and used an added credit card connected to my spouse’s account but when I did finally open my bank account 3 years ago, was told that I was elgible only for a debit card. Since then I have held multiple jobs and now even own a business but still cannot get a credit card and therefore have no credit score to show for and so unable to take loans etc and its a vicious circle that just does not provide any solutions. I am hoping you can advise!

Mike

January 20th, 2011
1:32 am

Mitzymy, it’s all relative. I’ve heard that most people who file bankruptcy have unsecured debt equal to twice their annual salary. If Kelly is making $80K, then $60K in debt is burdensome but not worth “leaving the country.”

I had $60K in credit card debt and I signed up for a debt management program through Credability because I wasn’t getting anywhere paying it back. They negotiated lower interest rates and now I’m paying $1,300 a month and I’ve paid off two thirds of it.

tt

January 21st, 2011
11:13 am

@Anaskur

Yeah you can … Get a secured Credit card .. The ones that don’t have all the extra fees tacked on them.

Wondering what action to take

January 21st, 2011
1:47 pm

I have very little debt, with my home paid for and a mortgage on vacation property in the mountains. I have learned my job will be moving in 2012 but I have no desire to move with them. The mountains of North Georgia to New Jersey? Not going to happen. I have enough in my retirement IRA to pay off the property. With penaty and tax I would pay approximately the same amount I would if I remained employed with my firm and made my payments for the next 7 years. Without the mortgage payment I could made do with a much lower paying job. Should I use my IRA to pay off the property?