Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Use a Debt Consolidation Company or Service

Facing a mountain of debt? Consider using a debt consolidation company or service to aid you in rectifying situation. As the unemployment rate and the cost of goods and services continue to rise, more and more people are choosing this option.

A debt consolidation company does just that ... consolidates your unsecured debt into one payment. This makes it much easier to keep track of things.

Instead of issuing checks to several creditors each month, you simply issue one payment to the debt consolidation company. In turn, they distribute agreed-upon payments to creditors.

hen you work with this type of company they will contact your creditors on your behalf. They have the ability to negotiate with them, in regard to lowering your interest rates and removing fees for things such as late payments and over limit balances.

The majority of creditors are willing to negotiate because they would rather recoup some money rather than no money at all. This also will help to ensure that they will not have to take you to court, in the future. Doing so, means they would have to pay for their own legal representation.

In some cases a debt consolidation company can lower your payments, up to 50%. This means you will pay off your debt in half the time, saving hundreds and even thousands of dollars in interest alone.

There are Internet-based debt consolidation companies that will work with you in the comfort of your own home. You can easily fax required documents and make your payments online.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Double Your Living Space With Outdoor Garden Rooms

Garden Rooms are an extension of your living room; and of course dining room, bedroom, and family room. A small house can seem to have doubled in space when the backyard, side yards and front yard are divided into livable areas each with a specific purpose.

If you're buying a new house that is in the process of being built decide now what the priorities are for your outdoor spaces. For example if entertainment is high on the list you'll need a level patio for dining with ample room for tables and chairs. Evening lighting extends the usability of the area well into the night. The dining room shouldn't be too far removed from the kitchen as getting the food to the area while it's still hot will be a challenge.

The first task is to measure the yard and draw a scale map. Include any trees, fencing, slopes or terraces. Note which way the yard faces. A yard facing the west will need some shade area from the brilliant late afternoon sun. A north yard has the advantage of shade but will be considerably cooler in the Spring and Fall months.

An automatic watering system cuts down on chores and can actually conserve water when it's preset. No forgetting to turn the lawn sprinklers off and flooding the garden. More than one station is efficient for watering different zones. Trees may only need to be water once very 10 days to two weeks while a perennial border needs at least an inch of water on a weekly basis. Two, or more, watering stations make it possible to accommodate both.

House builders can install the pipes needed for a watering system at the same time the plumbing for the house is installed. And they can provide for outside lighting as well. If you're considering a natural gas powered fireplace for evening fires it can be installed at the same time as the gas for the home's heating system.

If your home is custom built, expanding the plans to include the outdoor rooms shouldn't be a problem. And even if your home isn't being custom built, your house builder can lay the foundation for a backyard patio at a more cost effective rate if it's done at the same time as laying the foundation for the house.

After you've decided on your backyard priorities and have your scale map, sketch out where you would locate major hardscape features such as a gazebo, play yard for children, water features, and patios. Establish a budget for each feature and for the yard as a whole. Remember you don't have to complete the entire yard at once.

Flexibility is important. You may have your heart set on a huge swimming pool and then find out that since you have children, the pool will have to be fenced even within your own backyard. Or that bedrock may prevent excavation of a pool without expensive blasting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

When Should You Consider Bankruptcy?

If you are in midst of a financial crisis, bankruptcy is just one option. There are no set in stone rules when it comes to filing. Everyone's situation is different and must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Keep in mind this final action will follow you for at least 10 years and perhaps longer. While it falls off your credit report, many loan applications ask if you've ever filed for bankruptcy. Court records are open to the public and many are easily electronically accessible.

Of course your credit report will reflect your financial actions and as such will affect your ability to get insurance, loans, and perhaps even employment.

If you are questioning the possibility of filing for bankruptcy, there are several things to mull over before making your final decision.

If you have a good job that provides you with a steady income, you are probably not the best candidate. You should seriously consider modifying your lifestyle in order to begin paying back your debts. The judge has the option of dismissing a case if he feels there is adequate income for re-payment, over a specified time period. This is especially true if the majority of debt is credit card related.

The court will review your income, assets, and debts before allowing the action to be finalized. If the judge feels that you could pay off your debts by selling assets or cutting back on expenditures your request may not be granted.

With the recent changes in the law, filing is quite expensive. If your case were to be dismissed, you would be out hundreds of dollars that could have been put toward your debt.

Many credit counselors will tell you that you should other actions first. They recommend selling items such as jewelry, electronics or even antiques and using the profits to pay down your debt.

They also recommend getting a second job, if at all possible. Of course, not everyone's schedule can accommodate this option, but if you have time the additional income will probably go a long way when it comes to paying off your creditors.

Bankruptcy will not allow you to keep assets that have been secured by a loan. The asset, such as a car or furniture, will have to be surrendered to the creditor. Some debt such as back child support and student loans won't be forgiven. You'll still owe them.

Whether or not you file for bankruptcy is the personal decision. Consider your options carefully, before making your final move.