Sunday, October 5, 2014

It's Been Crazy Lately

     So, the past four months have been a blur. I have been pulled, stretched, cajoled, and every other thing you can imagine. You see, my mother-in-law decided that it was time for us to either buy the home we are renting from her or for us to pay more rent. Sheree and I decided that we were going to try to buy the house. It was what we have wanted to do for a long time. It was now time to see if all my credit repair efforts had paid off. 

    It started out simple enough. I applied, faxed over 50+ pages of documentation to my loan officer and he says, "You're preapproved!" We were so excited. My loan officer said that we just needed to get a signed contract from Sheree's mom and he would get the ball rolling. 

     Within a few days we found a good contract to present her and sent it out for her to review and sign. She responded back saying that she could not sell the house at this time. What? Are you serious? She had been pressuring us to buy the home from her for the past year. Now, with no reason as to why, she backs out? We were, to say the least, upset, hurt, and down right mad.

     Well, we had this preapproval letter from our loan officer so we decided to go searching for a home free from Sheree's mom. We searched for a couple of weeks and found a couple of houses that we liked, but were torn between the two. One was a log cabin style home and the other was a ranch style. I personally was ok with either of them. I just needed Sheree to decide and she was taking her time with it. What pushed her over the edge was her mom sending a pretty hurtful email to her. This gave her the incentive to want to get out of the house fast and be free from the controlling nature her mom has imposed on her.

     So we decided on a house and that weekend we met with our really estate agent and got the offer letter and contract signed. It was an exciting time for both Sheree and me. I figured that since I had faxed over so many documents already that we were most of the way there. I was very wrong. 

     At first we were going to get a FHA loan. We had debated on this or a VA loan and decided that we both wanted to be on the mortgage and since we aren't married yet, the VA option wouldn't work. So my loan officer drew up the documents and when we went to sign everything we decided that we didn't want to make a large down payment. 

     So, in mid stream, we changed course and decided to go with the VA loan. This would help my credit since I'll be the only one on the loan, but would not help Sheree's. We decided that we'll try to refinance in a couple of years under both of our names. 

     By switching to a VA loan, the whole complexion of the process changed. First, the income being used for the loan was reduced to only mine. This meant that I had to shed some of the obligations that I had or at least shift them from a joint account to only Sheree's name. Ultimately, Sheree had to refinance our van in her name only. I really didn't want to do this because the on time payments would only be reported to her credit report and not mine, but looking at the larger picture, our goal was home ownership. This was a small price to pay in order to achieve our goal.

     My credit wasn't 100% where it needed to be so I had some work to do. While my score was high enough, I had a couple of collection accounts on my credit report that needed to be resolved and, with the time frame being short, I needed to act fast. So after many calls back and forth, I was able to settle the accounts and get the documentation verifying as much to my loan officer.

     Finally, closing on the home came and went without a hitch and we were now officially home owners. What a crazy four months this has been. Hard work and dedication towards our goals have paid off. While there were ups and downs to the whole process, I would not trade what I have learned for the world. I gained valuable insight in to the home buying process and what is now required in order to obtain a home loan after the housing market crashed and the new laws were put in place.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Crossing My Fingers

     So, on 4/21/14 I mailed out five letters to different creditors. One was to a collection agency trying to get them to validate the debts. The other four were to the original creditors. I used a letter getting them to investigate and send me a notarized letter stating their compliance with the FCBA or remove the negative entries off my credit report. These creditors are all accounts that have been paid off and closed for at least a year, but have some 30 and 60 days late payments on them.

     This is where the waiting game takes a toll. You see, Sheree and I want to buy the home I'm living in from my mother-in-law. The offer to sell the house to us has been on the table for about a year now and she is starting to question whether we really want to buy the house or not. Well, simply put, Mom, we do. My credit score is holding us back, though, and unless I find a way to increase my score quickly we won't be able to do it in the time frame that you want.

     I feel that I have done almost everything right when it comes to repairing my credit. I have disputed items and got them removed. I have been responsible with the credit cards I have (never late on any of them), I have rehabilitated my student loans. I would call the past year a great success in the credit repair world. But my score is still not quite there to get me over the hump and get us approved for that needed home loan.

     Right now I believe I am at least 60 days out from getting the items disputed above off my credit. The reason I say that is my defensive pessimism kicking in. Let's say I don't hear back from these creditors in 30 days. I check my credit report and the accounts still have the negative information on them. I must then re dispute the items with the credit bureaus sending them the letters and the return receipts as proof that the companies aren't following the law and wait another 30 days for a response. Best case scenario is that the credit bureaus remove the negative information like they are supposed to and my score finally rises above that minimum credit score plateau that is required to qualify for a mortgage.

     You never know. These creditors could do what they are supposed to and delete the information from my credit reports without any hassle what so ever. I am not banking on that to happen, though. I need to make sure I have a backup plan. And then a backup plan for the back up plan. Needless to say, my nerves won't stop until I see the desired results.

     So, I have my fingers crossed. Hoping and praying that everything goes smoothly and that there won't be too much back and forth involved with these creditors.

And the Saga Continues...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Are You a Defensive Pessimist?

     I have been thinking recently of what type of person I would characterize myself in terms of dealing with the credit repair process. I have this undeniable hope that everything will be fine. All of my negative entries will fall off eventually with the proper processes and I will end up with a great credit score. But then I start to think, "What if it doesn't work out like that? What if I need to do extra work to get there?" I then, almost immediately, start planning the next steps just in case things don't work out like I planned. So, what do I characterize myself? Is there even a name? I then read this article on the Debt Roundup Blog that I believe characterizes me to a tee. It's called, "The World Through the Eyes of a Defensive Pessimist". It's a great article that describes what a defensive pessimist is and how they interact with the world.

     Wikipedia has a great definition:

     I am this way 100%. When it come to credit repair, and many other things, I am constantly worried that I will get a negative response to the letters I have sent out and I am constantly asking the what if questions. In response to that fear I am in a never ending search for the next letter I will have to send out or action I will have to take in response to that negative response. I want to feel 100% secure that I have a plan for the next step if anything were to happen. 

     Now I don't want to say that I am that way with everything that I do. There are days that I just wing it and go with the flow. Those are days, though, that my brain needs a break and I am ready to relinquish control for awhile. And I get great pleasure watching my loved ones or my subordinates at work take charge like I normally would and make it a successful day. Most of the time I am that way, though. Especially with the most important things to me. I do not want to leave anything to chance. It just makes life so much easier to have a response for as many possible outcomes as I can think of. 

     I my mind, I believe that my credit repair process is so important to achieving the goals I have in life (both short and long term) that I am in a constant state of thought until I figure out what to do next.

     So, what is your thought process about your credit repair journey? Comment below and let us know.

And the Saga Continues...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Credit Repair Waiting Game...

     I can't stand waiting. I guess that's one of my faults. I want instant gratification. I avoid ordering online and go to the store so I can get what I want right then and there. At work, I don't like waiting for results if I know the job can be accomplished right then and there. I am having the same issue with the disputes on my credit report that I have mailed out. I want to know as quickly as possible what the results of the investigation are so I can start the next phase of repairing my credit.

     I have downloaded the USPS app to my phone so I can track the certified letters that I have mailed to the creditors. The credit bureaus have a tracking system, so I will log on to track those disputes when I have them. I have this insatiable desire for information. I'm what you may call a planner. The problem with waiting is that I can't plan my next steps very accurately without knowing what the results of the investigation are. 

     You may say 30 days is a drop in the hat if your credit score will be repaired. I understand, and fully agree with that statement. I also understand the amount of customer interactions these companies deal with on a daily basis. That takes time as well. And then you take in to account the fact that I mailed disputes to four different creditors. Each company has it's own system of dealing with disputes. Each company will respond in their own time. 

     And then lets say the 30 day wait has passed and I don't get a response and my credit report wasn't adjusted. I then have to mail out a letter to the credit bureaus and wait another 30 days for a response. That can be so frustrating. 

     All this makes the road to good credit a long and winding process. It is teaching me two things in life (probably more than that). First, financial responsibility. I will never want to go through this again. I will definitely make sure that I stay on top of my finances from now on. Second, patience. I don't think I have ever needed so much patience in my life. But I have to have it. The only alternative is that I give up trying to fix my credit. And I can't do that. I have plans for the future like buying a house, marrying my fiance, sending my kids off to college, financial freedom, etc. I need a great credit score to achieve all of these things. 

     That's what gets me through this waiting game. I have so much to look forward to by fixing my credit. I also have more than just myself to worry about. I don't want my future wife and kids to struggle like I did growing up. I want them to thrive and grow up happy. I need patience to make that happen.

     I can't wait to get the results and let you all know what happened. 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dispute Letter to Creditors

     One item that is on my credit report that  is hampering my credit score is my Capital One Auto Finance Loan that has been paid off for about a year. Like I said in a previous post, my ex really did a number on our finances while we were together. This loan was one of them. While I have since paid it off, there are multiple instances of the loan being 30 or 60 days late. I found a letter that may help remove the negative entries on my credit report and help me boost my score.

     This letter should only be sent to creditors that you have paid off at least six month prior to sending it. It should also only be sent if the account has 60/90/150 days late status on it. 

     You see, creditors don't want to be bothered with you once you are done paying them off. It is your right per the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) to request certain information from your creditors. Your have the right to have them verify that they billed you correctly, that they sent the bills to the correct address, and that they did not ignore and change of address requests. By sending this letter, they either have to dig up old information or delete the negative information off you credit report. Most creditors find it easier to just delete the negative entries off your credit report instead of using up valuable resources digging up all of that old information that they really don't care about. 

     Below is the letter:
Your Name
123 Your St
Anytown, US 12345

April 18, 2014

Credit Bureau Dispute
PO Box 259407
Plano, TX 75025-9407

RE: Account #: 123456789

I am writing regarding the late payments that your company has reported to Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union for my account.

The Fair Credit Billing Act requires that you bill correctly, that each statement be sent to the correct address, that you not ignore change of address requests, and that you facilitate disputed charges in a manner prescribed by law. The Act also stipulates that you provide lawfully requested information concerning my account upon request in a timely manner.

Per my rights under the FCBA, please mail a notarized statement on your letterhead which will attest to your compliance to the FCBA in general and to my account specifically throughout the period I have been a customer. Otherwise, please delete the negative marks you have reported to the Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union within a timely manner prescribed by law. Your prompt attention is greatly appreciated.

I have enclosed two documents which will verify my address: a photocopy of my (Your state) Driver’s License and a photocopy of my recent (Utility Bill) statement.


Your Name
     If you notice, you are not lying about anything by sending this letter. You are just requesting information that the creditor may or may not be willing to dig up and provide to you. If they don't want to provide it, they have to delete any negative entries on your credit report.

     I sent this letter to COAF on 04/18/2014. I will wait 30 days and will follow up if I haven't heard anything. I will also keep you informed of the progress.

     I would like to say real quick that I am not saying anything bad about COAF. I have several credit cards and a new auto loan through them. I think they are great. They were the first company to give me a chance once I started trying to rebuild my credit. They just happen to be the company that I am having this problem with.

Remember to send all correspondence via certified mail.

And the Saga continues....