Credit rehabilitation-Topic of Bankruptcy section meeting

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By Roberta M. Gubbins

Legal News

"Bankruptcy lawyers don't usually get involved with credit rehabilitation for their clients," said Norm Witte, co-chair of the Ingham County Bar Association (ICBA) Bankruptcy section, "so I asked Joe White of Silver Lining Life to come speak to us on" possible options for our clients.

White formed Silver Lining Life, a consulting company, specializing in credit rehabilitation last summer. He defines himself as a credit expert not a counselor. His clients "don't know how to regenerate their credit scores, how to become a homeowner again or how to move their credit score from a 520 to a 620 so someone will talk to them about a credit card."

White consults people on improving their credit score, which begins with requesting their credit scores from the three credit agencies. The report he receives not only gives the three scores but also shows "how much instant score improvement" is available. The amount varies from agency to agency. A difference of a few points can enable a client to get a lower interest rate, buy a home or receive a credit card.

Creditors who have maximized their credit cards can be helped.

"If you can pay one or more of those cards down, points will be added to the score," he said.

Most people who have lost their homes want to be homeowners again, he explained. "The bankruptcy guidelines" call for people to wait for two years after the bankruptcy to buy a home. White shows them how to rebuild the credit during that two-year period.

White consults on budgeting for those who need it and conducts debt negotiations. He also offers real estate consultations.

"Doing a mortgage has never been more of a pain," he said. "Today, an application can be 90 pages long."

In answer to questions, he said:

How do you handle debt forgiveness?

"Our number one goal is to improve the credit report, however, when a debt is forgiven, we explain that it can lead to having to claim the forgiven amount as income the following year." "

What about a short sale of their home?

"The only way a short sale is going to be acceptable (to the lenders) is if homeowner is current during the short sale process and is relocating for a job or is an empty nester." A foreclosure, has a three-year waiting period before they can apply for another mortgage.

Joe White is a graduate of Ohio Northern Law School and is a solo practitioner. He and his wife live in Holt and have three children. He can be reached at contact@silverlininglife.com.

Published: Mon, Mar 19, 2012