Bills Logo

How to Settle a Judgment

image alt text
Mark Cappel
UpdatedNov 22, 2022
I want to buy a house, but my mortgage lender wants me to settle on a judgment against me. How do I do this?

I have a judgment against me from 2005 and are trying to purchase a home for the first time. My lender is asking me to settle the judgment before we can close. I tried to settle with the finance company but the account of course is closed. So I contacted the company who was handling the account which is also closed. They are saying now that the amount has gained interest and is almost three times what the judgment was for. Can they do this? I don't have the money to pay off this judgment and put a down payment on my home. How can I go about getting this resolved? Please help, this is the only thing I have to do before closing!

It appears that a collection agent now owns your debt account. It is likely that the collection agent bought your debt account for 5%-50% of the original balance. The add-ons and fees are an invention of the collection agent, and used as leverage by the collection as a negative reinforcement to prod you to settle sooner rather than later.

Contact the collection agency handling the account to discuss a settlement. Do not reveal to them you are closing on a house soon or they will use that information as leverage in the negotiations. You may wish to offer 20% of the balance to begin, observe the creditor’s reaction, and then increase your offer as you feel appropriate.

I would expect that a creditor with old debt will likely settle for 40% to 50% of the balance owed. See Debt Negotiation and Settlement Advice for tips and tactics when negotiating a debt settlement.

If a creditor accepts a reduced balance settlement, it will usually expect the settlement to be paid within a matter of days, so you should make sure that you have the necessary funds available to tender payment before you begin negotiations in earnest. Get the final settlement agreement in writing, and keep copies of the settlement in several safe locations.

Settling a debt should cause the account to report a $0 balance to the credit bureaus. For more information about negotiating with your creditors, you can read this debt settlement article in Bills.com.

I wish you the best of luck. I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.

Best,

Bill

www.Bills.com

Debt statistics

Debt is used to buy a home, pay for bills, buy a car, or pay for a college education. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Q2 2022 was $16.15 trillion. Auto loan debt was $1.50 trillion and credit card was $0.89 trillion.

According to data gathered by Urban.org from a sample of credit reports, about 26% of people in the US have some kind of debt in collections. The median debt in collections is $1.739. Student loans and auto loans are common types of debt. Of people holding student debt, approximately 10% had student loans in collections. The national Auto/Retail debt delinquency rate was 4%.

Each state has its rate of delinquency and share of debts in collections. For example, in Pennsylvania credit card delinquency rate was 4%, and the median credit card debt was $387.

Avoiding collections isn’t always possible. A sudden loss of employment, death in the family, or sickness can lead to financial hardship. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with debt including an aggressive payment plan, debt consolidation loan, or a negotiated settlement.

SHOW SOURCEarrow-down