bureau disputes no longer work for recent late payment:
The old 30 day credit bureau dispute method no longer works for
recent late payments, because the credit bureaus have switched to automatic
dispute verifications where all the bureaus do is correspond to the creditor
via their data exchange interface known as E-Oscar (http://www.e-oscar.org/about-e-oscar.aspx).
Hence unlike the older days are no phone calls or written communication that is
exchanged, this interface verifies millions of accounts that are disputed every
month by consumers in quick fashion. I have dealt with numerous creditors over
the years and have enjoyed a high success rate in removing such late payments. So
let me explain what I’ve discovered over the years.
Way to Remove a 30-60 Day Late Payment
Step 1: Calling the Creditor’s Special Credit Bureau
The only way to remove the recent late payment from the credit
report is by getting the original creditor to agree to remove the late payment.
The simple first step is to call the creditor and see if they have a special
department that handles their credit bureau reporting. Once you are transferred
to them, ask for a goodwill removal of the late payment form the credit report.
If they agree, then ask them to send you a letter they are removing the late
payment from the credit report. Make sure to assert that you want the late
payment removed from the credit report and that you are not referring to the
late payment penalty fee that may have incurred.
Normally if the creditor agrees to remove the late payment they
will themselves update the account history on the credit report. The likes of
Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo often update accounts within a couple of
weeks. However, in the majority of such cases creditors do not removal late
payments and claim that they are not authorized to remove a late payment unless
it was erroneously reported, in which case we move to step 2.
Step 2 : Making the Case with the creditor’s higher
If the first call has not worked, then that means you are in for
the long haul to deal with the creditor. The next phase here would be to either
engage the creditor’s higher management or their credit bureau department.
However, you will need to make a solid case with the management and document
The case you would need to make here is that although the
payment was late, it was not due to your inability to make the payment, but
instead was due to you not being aware of it being due.
For instance, if the late payment incurred due to the fact that
you were out of town, it would be advisable to provide the creditor with proof
of your travels and as well evidence that you had sufficient funds in your bank
account to make the payment that was due. In spite of this creditors often can
brush aside such requests and stick to their position that the late payments.
Chase and Bank of America in particular are very stringent when it comes to
removing late payments.
Step 3: Lodging Complaints Against the Card Companies:
At this stage, you can get the different regulatory agencies
involved like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/) and
lodge a complaint against the creditor. The complaint cannot be made under the
premise that the creditor acted illegally and violated your rights under the
FCRA, however you can make the argument that despite the reasonable case that
you’ve made, the creditor is acting “unreasonably.” The CFPB (Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau) will investigate your complaint and forward it to
the creditor for a response. Since the CFPB tracks complaints against
creditors, the creditors are motivated to resolve all complaints.
Normally you can expect a response from the creditors within 15
days and if the creditor does not respond favorably, the CFPB allows you the
option to dispute the creditors response. If the creditor agrees to remove the
late payment, they will forward you confirming through the CFPB website that
they are doing so. Hence, the CFPB has provided consumers with an effective
tool in dealing with such issues.
Will staging increase your home’s value?
It’s obvious that you want your home looking as good as possible when you’re trying to sell it. You want to give buyers a great first impression, and there’s a long-held belief that professional home staging will lead to buyers paying more for a house.
However, that may not be the case, according to recent research by Michael Seiler, a real estate and finance professor at William and Mary. Seiler studied how 820 different buyers reacted to contrasting stagings of six various homes, and found that there was little effect on what the buyers were willing to pay.
Some buyers were shown a home with neutral beige colors and traditional furniture. Others were shown the same home, but with “ugly” purple paint and wacky furniture, or even no furniture at all. The average price the buyers were willing to pay for each property was roughly the same, regardless of which version of home staging was present.
"We were able to parse out what you consciously believe and subconsciously believe," Seiler said. "Beforehand, everyone thinks poor staging is going to be a problem. But when we actually did the experiment, we found it doesn't matter."
Of course, Seiler’s study only looked at one of the many aspects that affect a home’s value and how fast it will sell. Contact your trusted real estate professional if you’re considering selling your home.
For more on Seiler’s study, visit this link: on.wsj.com/KhkSyT
Monitoring your credit report and credit rating is important, especially if you’re considering purchasing a home. Here are five tips for improving your credit. It’s not about quick fixes, but responsible financial activity over time.
1. Get a credit card: OK, this may seem counterintuitive, but let me explain. When used correctly, a credit card can be an effective tool for building credit. Charge a few budget-conscious purchases each month, and pay the balance off before your due date.
2. Keep your balance low: This is the other side of the coin with credit cards. Try to only charge for items you could pay for out-of-pocket, and try to stick to a balance of only 10 percent of your credit limit.
3. Food: If your kitchen is being torn apart, preparing meals becomes a lot more difficult. You may be able to keep your food budget steady by switching to meals that don’t require counter space, the stove, or the oven, but don’t be surprised if you end up dining out more often.
4. Leave paid debts on your report: Paid off debts like car loans show that you have a history of paying your debt on time.
5. Ask! If you’re looking to pay off a debt quickly, it can’t hurt to ask the lender to lower your interest rate. You can’t get what you don’t ask for!
The basement is usually an afterthought in homes, especially if it’s not already finished when you move in. The lack of natural light compared to the ground floor and above doesn’t always make for the most inviting space. However, there are plenty of ways to improve your basement that will both increase your home’s value and give you more space to enjoy.
1. Home theater: Basements can be the perfect space for a home theater, as they already have little lighting and offer ample space and an escape from summer heat or winter cold. A TV mount and some simple built-in seating can be accomplished for under $2,000.
2. Play room: Kids have a tendency to scatter their toys all over the house. Creating a playroom helps keep the mess confined to one area, plus basements often offer great storage capabilities. Just update the space to make it kid-friendly with features like egress windows, carpet, and a safe, finished staircase.
3. A bar: Grownups need a play space too! Creating a bar in your basement is an easy upgrade and allows you to keep your gatherings focused in one room, making post-party clean up easier.
4. Utility room: If you do a lot of gardening or other DIY projects around your home, add a sink and hose to give yourself a space for cleanup and storage. This is especially useful if you don’t have much room in your garage.
5. Family room: You can keep your formal living room upstairs and add a second space that’s more focused on relaxation and watching TV as a family.
We’re well into the fall season and winter is right around the corner. This is the time of year when it’s especially important to make sure your home is properly sealed. Air leaks can make it difficult to keep your home properly heated and can lead to high utility bills. Here’s quick guide to checking your home for air leaks.
Do an air pressure test. You can quickly check for air leaks with a simple test using household items. Seal your home by completely closing all doors, windows, and vents and turning off exhaust fans. Then pass a burning incense stick along the edges of all doors, windows, and other openings to the outside. If the smoke is forced into or away from an opening, you’ve found a leak.
Inspect doors and windows. To check for leaks near your windows, attempt to rattle the frame. This will reveal whether there are gaps along the edges. Also check for cracks in the frame, loose screws in locks, or gaps anywhere in the window.
Door hinges and thresholds are common places for air leaks. Deteriorated weather stripping can also lead to leaks and the door itself can develop cracks that allow air to pass through.
Skylights are a little trickier to test and examine, but you can still do it yourself. Check for water stains near your skylights, which is a dead giveaway of a leak. If you suspect there is one, you’ll have to get on the roof for a closer inspection. Look for loose shingles, cracked roofing cement, and debris.