I need to clear up an old judgment so that I can buy a house. The creditor won't negotiate. What can I do?
I am trying to purchase my first home but a judgment against me is holding me back. The judgment has more than doubled. It's about to fall off in about five months. I can't afford to settle for the amount they are asking and they won't accept the amount I'm offering. What should I do? Do I have any other options in order to close on a home with this outstanding? I live in Ohio.
I do not have any secret options to reveal to you. If the creditor has a judgment filed against you the judgment-creditor is not required to negotiate with you. However, negotiation is a process and just because you have spoken to a judgment-creditor once or twice and got no where does not mean the judgment-creditor will never alter its position.
I have two recommendations for you. First, do not reveal to the judgment-creditor that you are trying to reach an accord with them because you are trying to buy a house. By telling the judgment-creditor this information you give them instant leverage.
Second, read the following tips and techniques for successful debt negotiation. I think the key lesson here is persistence.
You can either hire a debt negotiation service to represent you to your creditors, or you can contact them on your own. If you want to try a do-it-yourself negotiation, follow this advice:
- Be calm, clear, and convincing. Explain your situation in unemotional, professional terms. Remember, they are not required to negotiate with you, so crying or screaming is not likely to move them to help you.
- Do not give up easily. If your creditor denies your request, explain to them why settling would be beneficial for them. Their priority is their bottom line and you must make it clear that the offer is in their best interest. If your request is still denied, do not agree to anything before you hang up the phone.
- Send a debt negotiation letter. The letter should be professional and clearly state your arguments. Send it by certified mail and keep copies of all your correspondence.
If you are not comfortable negotiating with your creditors or do not achieve a settlement, you can hire a credit counseling or debt settlement service. For a fee, they will negotiate for either a low lump-sum payment or a small number of monthly payments toward a reduced balance at a significantly reduced interest rate.
Although it might seem odd to pay a fee to save money, experienced debt negotiators will save you far more than the cost of their fee. They know which creditors are willing to negotiate and how much of a settlement they will accept. Due to their network of relationships, they can settle debts you could not on your own.
Things to Remember When You Negotiate
Whether you negotiate on your own or hire a debt negotiation service, keep the following things in mind:
- The amount you can afford to pay. This should be a reasonable amount -- often 40-60% of the total debt. Low-ball offers will be rejected immediately.
- Creditors are not required to negotiate. They often will, if the next option is bankruptcy, but do not expect them to make it easy for you.
- Negotiation is a process. When you negotiate, you make an offer and your arguments. Expect them to make a counter-offer and counter-arguments.
- You are negotiating with a person. If you are friendly and professional, they will be as well. Explain your situation in personal terms without becoming emotional. Listen to their arguments and answer them clearly. Your job is to convince them to see your side. Their job is to convince you to pay more. If you both play your roles properly, you will reach an agreeable settlement.
Negotiating debt is difficult and many people, but it can be done.
For a no-cost quote from pre-screened service providers, visit the Bills.com debt settlement savings center.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.
Struggling with debt?
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 2023 was $17.06 trillion. Auto loan debt was $1.582 trillion and credit card was $1.031 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%.
The amount of debt and debt in collections vary by state. For example, in Vermont, 16% have any kind of debt in collections and the median debt in collections is $1501. Medical debt is common and 5% have that in collections. The median medical debt in collections is $482.
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.