Refinancing with Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Might Offer Debt Relief

In the midst of a global pandemic and a rocky political climate, there’s so much negative news that we are exposed to every day. However, one of the positives of the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 is that mortgage interest rates are extremely low, and the housing market is booming. If you’re a homeowner, you know how much pressure there is to meet monthly mortgage payments along with all of your other pressing financial obligations. For homeowners struggling to meet mortgage payments or other debt requirements, taking advantage of favorable current mortgage interest rates by refinancing your home mortgage may be the ticket to staying out of bankruptcy. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy relief during this uncertain time, Behm Law Group Ltd. can help you navigate the legal process and receive long-term, effective debt relief in Marshall, MN, and the surrounding area.

 

Those who have steady incomes but are finding it difficult to meet their monthly financial requirements may be considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy to reorganize their debts into a manageable repayment plan.  Homeowners with steady incomes are also most likely to benefit from refinancing their home mortgages. A refinance with current interest rates could save homeowners several hundreds of dollars with each payment. The resulting savings could be significant enough such that the money saved could effectively be put into paying off several other debts that might otherwise force a homeowner into filing for bankruptcy relief.

 

Approximate Mankato mortgage rates as of November 2020 for a $250,000 loan

Loan type Rate Points APR Monthly payment
15-year fixed loan 2.1% 0.56 2.4% $1,300
20-year fixed loan 2.5% 0.84 2.7% $1,060
30-year fixed loan 2.6% 0.75 2.8% $800
5/1 ARM variable loan 2.4% 0.89 2.7% $780
7/1 ARM variable loan 2.5% 0.76 2.7% $790
10/1 ARM variable loan 2.6% 0.76 2.8% $800

 

For a conventional loan, refinancing may cost around $3,000 to $4,000, but that cost would be wrapped into your refinanced mortgage, so it won’t typically impact the amount of cash you have on hand at the time of the refinance. The only common factors that might prevent qualification are a low FICO score due to missed mortgage payments, too many debts, other than your mortgage, with high balances or low self-employment income from this year.

 

While saving $100 to $300 a month on a refinanced mortgage might not seem like a large amount, it’s a significant enough of an amount that many homeowners may use to repay other debts and financial obligations that they might not otherwise be able to pay. Those minor monthly adjustments can be key in preventing the stress and budget shortfalls that can lead one into having to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief.

 

Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be highly helpful options for those struggling financially who are unable to refinance their mortgages and are unable to make other helpful budgetary adjustments. To learn more about finding debt relief through bankruptcy in Marshall, MN, and the surrounding region, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or email stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

 

Part Three: Utility Bills and Debt Relief This Winter

This is the third and final part of a blog series covering frequently asked questions regarding utility bills and bankruptcy. Because the coldest months of the year are just beginning, it’s important to keep gas, water, and other utilities running to protect your household or business from frozen pipes and interrupted hot water sources.

When you’re unable to pay monthly utility bills, you risk service shut off when debts accumulate. Filing for bankruptcy relief can stop service shut offs and discharge utility debts permanently. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you through the process and find effective, permanent debt relief in Owatonna, MN and the surrounding area.

These are a few more of the most commonly asked questions about utility bills in bankruptcy.

Is my cable considered a utility? How can I stop it from possibly being shut off?

While cable television is not technically a utility, it’s still a service that will be shut off when you default on your monthly bill payments. Fortunately, cable bill debts can also be included in your bankruptcy and can be permanently discharged. If you list your cable debt amount, the automatic stay injunctive provisions of 11 U.S.C. §362 will apply to your cable provider and to all of your other utility providers, and your cable television debt will be discharged with all of your other unsecured utility debts.

My provider is asking for a large security deposit to reconnect my service. Can the bankruptcy court help me pay it?

One form of adequate assurance (see part two to learn about adequate assurance) your utility provider might require from you in order to continue service is a security deposit amount that is too much for you to pay. If you filed for bankruptcy protection, the bankruptcy court will be able to help. When you cannot come to an agreement with your utility creditor about the security deposit amount, you can request the bankruptcy court to reduce the security deposit to an amount that you can afford to pay.

I’ve paid my bills on time for a year now. Can I get my security deposit back?

If you filed for bankruptcy relief, provided a security deposit as an assurance, and then paid your bills on time for the twelve-month period after your bankruptcy was concluded, you may be eligible for the return of the security deposit. Reach out to your utility provider for more information about the possible return of your security deposit and how that process might work.

To learn more about the treatment of utility debts, unsecured or secured debts, and the process of obtaining permanent debt relief by filing bankruptcy in Owatonna, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

Part Two: Utility Bills and Debt Relief This Winter

This is the second part of a blog series covering frequently asked questions concerning utility bill debts and bankruptcy. The first part can be found here. Utility debts occur when you miss monthly utility payments for any period of time. As an unsecured debt (a debt that does not have collateral – secured by any property), it is always fully discharged in an individual consumer bankruptcy case. Because of that, bankruptcy is one of the best options for finding relief from utility bill debt and other unsecured debts like credit card balances and medical bills. At Behm Law Group Ltd., our attorneys are dedicated to helping households work through Chapter 7 or Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases to receive permanent, effective debt relief in Mankato, MN, and the surrounding communities.

While filing for bankruptcy relief will be denoted on your credit profile for a limited period of time (usually 5 to 7 years), the benefits almost always outweigh the potential negatives because your debts will be fully discharged in bankruptcy. Utility bill debts are debts that are handled in bankruptcy, and if you owe those debts, filing for bankruptcy can also stop your utility services from being shut off and keep creditors from harassing you. These are some of the more frequently asked questions about how utility debts are handled in bankruptcy.

When is filing for bankruptcy not enough to prevent service shut off?

Although the automatic stay injunctive mandates of 11 U.S.C. §362 are immediately imposed upon all creditors when you file your bankruptcy petition, there are still some steps that you must take to stop possible utility service shut off. In your petition paperwork, make sure your utility bill debts are listed in the correct section. Listing those unpaid bills as debts will allow the bankruptcy court to notify your utility providers of your bankruptcy filing and prevent service shut-off. Within 20 days of filing, you must also show your utility provider that you will be able to pay your utility bills that are incurred and come due after the date that your bankruptcy petition is filed. This proof is called “adequate assurance.”

What is “adequate assurance?”

Adequate assurance is a good faith measure of proof to your provider that you will be able to pay your future utility bills. This proof can be offered in several different forms, including letters of credit provided by a lender, security deposits (much like a damage deposit with a landlord if you’re renting an apartment), certificates of deposit, prepayment, surety bonds, or another type agreed on by you and your utility provider.

What happens if my provider doesn’t accept my offer of adequate assurance?

If you and your provider don’t agree on a form of adequate assurance, you can request the bankruptcy court to order your provider to accept that assurance. The bankruptcy judge may also order you to modify the form or amount of the assurance deposit.

Utility bill debts are stressful, especially when service shut-off is a threat during the colder months. If you’re struggling financially, contact Behm Law Group Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com for more information about bankruptcy and debt relief in Mankato, MN.