Buying NJ Real Estate: Should I Skip the Home Inspection to Get a Competitive Edge?

The home inspection is an entirely optional part of the home buying process, but that doesn’t mean you should skip it. The current NJ real estate seller’s market is highly competitive; more potential buyers are agreeing to forego the inspection process in order to give themselves a competitive edge against other buyers. Skipping the inspection is attractive to sellers as it normally indicates a smoother closing process, a quicker settlement, and fewer chances of repairs. For a buyer, skipping the home inspection means skipping the fee to hire a home inspector, which can save hundreds of dollars. But while it can be tempting to skip this process to save time and money, doing so is normally a big mistake.

1.   Safety Hazards

A home inspection is a thorough investigation of a home’s condition. A good home inspector will spend a decent amount of time at a property investigating every structure, system, component, and any and all features including the roof and foundation. Not only do they check on the soundness of the structure itself, they also check for mold, asbestos, lead paint, and other environmental hazards. They’ll look for security issues, like broken doors or windows, as well as safety issues, like faulty wiring. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you could end up with a home that is unsafe for you and your family.

2.   Costly Repairs

Inspectors will also draw your attention to specific repairs that will likely be needed in the near future or are currently needed in order for the home to be considered functional. A leaky roof, termite damage, foundation issues, or an AC unit on its last legs could all cost you thousands of dollars to fix after you purchase the home. It is possible to use the home inspector’s report to negotiate with sellers to either reduce the price of a home or make the repairs before settlement. A word of caution on this for the current market: if sellers are receiving multiple offers, they might be less inclined to make the repairs you ask for. Regardless, it’s still advisable to be aware of potential issues or costly repairs a property may need.

3.   It Helps Protect Your Investment

An appraisal assesses the home’s value for the mortgage company to ensure they are not lending more than the worth of a home. A home inspection, on the other hand, is just for the buyer. You can use the home inspection report you receive to determine whether or not the investment you are making is worth it. The current condition of the home can allow you to better gauge the value of the asset you are purchasing. If the costs to repair and upkeep the property outweigh the value of the home, it might be in your best interest to pass on that particular property.

Before you agree to sign a contract indicating you will skip the home inspection, think about how that decision can affect you financially. Your real estate agent can give you better insight into accepting this term in a contract. Remember, you should never agree to terms in a real estate contract that you are unsure about. Veitengruber Law can review your contract to ensure you are wisely protecting yourself and making a sound investment.

Can I Keep My Stimulus Money and Tax Return if I File for NJ Bankruptcy?

If you have been struggling financially throughout the pandemic, chances are you are looking to your stimulus checks and potential tax refund as lifelines to get you through to calmer financial waters. If you have been considering filing for NJ bankruptcy in 2021, you may be wondering how those stimulus checks and your tax return can affect a bankruptcy proceeding.

Your Stimulus Money is Likely Yours to Keep

The CARES Act, which authorized federal stimulus payments, includes provisions to prevent bankruptcy trustees from including stimulus money as part of a bankruptcy estate or towards calculations of a filer’s monthly and disposable income. The U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Program has also stated trustees should not seek stimulus money from any filer. It should be noted, however, that while the US Trustee program has issued guidance to trustees not to seize stimulus money, there are no direct rules or laws prohibiting this practice. Still, since the stimulus payments are so small compared to most bankruptcy filer’s debts, it is unlikely a bankruptcy trustee would collect them anyway.

Your Tax Refund is Another Story

Tax refunds are often much bigger than federal stimulus checks. It is possible to try to use exemptions to protect your tax refund. Under both Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your tax return can be counted as an asset, even if you have not actually received it yet. Whether or not you will be able to keep your refund will depend a lot on which kind of bankruptcy you are filing and when you file your petition.

Tax Refunds Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to exempt certain assets and property from being included in the bankruptcy estate. In NJ, you can use either state exemptions or federal exemptions (NOTE: You cannot pick and choose from both lists of exemptions.) Under federal exemptions, you can exempt $1,325 under the wildcard exemption as well as up to $12,575 of any unused homestead exemption. In NJ, you can exempt up to $1,000 in personal property. Deciding which exemptions are right for you will determine how much of your tax return you are able to keep, if you are able to keep any at all.

Tax Refunds Under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are filing under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is a smaller chance that you will be able to keep your tax refund. Because Chapter 13 sets up a repayment plan over the course of three or five years, creditors are prioritized. To maximize the amount being repaid to each creditor, all of your disposable income is taken into account. Since your tax refund is outside of your monthly ‘income-in’ vs. ‘income-out’ calculation, it is considered disposable income. All disposable income is very likely to be seized by the bankruptcy trustee to pay off creditors.

The exception to this is if you are able to come up with a repayment plan to satisfy all of your debts over a three or five year period. If you can prove that you will be able to afford these monthly payments, there will not be a need to take your tax refund. There is also the possibility to ask for your tax refund to be exempt due to a specific need—a sudden car repair, to pay off medical debt, etc.—but granting this is at the discretion of the courts.

If you are considering filing for NJ bankruptcy, the best place to start is with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Veitengruber Law can help you create a bankruptcy petition that will get you on your way to a successful financial future.

NJ Inheritance Tax Guide for Beginners

The NJ inheritance tax is applicable when a NJ resident (or someone who owned property in NJ) leaves property to someone they are not closely related to after they pass away. Here is what you need to know if you are inheriting property in the Garden State.

How are inheritors classified?

New Jersey law separates inheritors into classes A-E based on their relationship to the deceased.

Class A beneficiaries do not have to pay inheritance tax. These beneficiaries include the deceased’s:

            – spouse/domestic partner

            – parent/grandparent

            – child/stepchild

            – grandchild, great-grandchild or any other direct descendant

Class B was removed from NJ law.

Class C beneficiaries are not taxed on the first $25,000 of property. Any amount exceeding that is taxed at the following rates:

– the next $1,075,000: 11%

– the next $300,000: 13%

– the next $300,000: 14%

– the next $1,700,000: 16%

Class C beneficiaries include:

            – siblings

            – spouse/domestic partner of a child

Class D includes all other beneficiaries. There are no special exemptions for this category. The tax rates are:

– the first $700,000: 15%

– anything above $700,000: 16%

Class E beneficiaries are also exempt. These beneficiaries include public or charitable organizations, educational institutions, churches, hospitals, orphanages, public libraries, and some nonprofit agencies.

Are there other tax exemptions?

There are some other NJ inheritance tax exemptions. The tax will not apply to:

1. Any inheritance amount that is valued at less than $500

2.  Life insurance proceeds

3.  Payments from the NJ Public Employees Retirement System, the NJ Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund, or the NJ Police and Fireman’s Retirement System

4.  Federal Civil Service Retirement benefits paid to the listed beneficiary

5.  Payments from the Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan or the Survivor Benefit plan made to the listed beneficiary.

Are gifts made before the deceased’s passing taxed?

Gifts given in the three years before the date of death will also be subject to NJ inheritance tax. The above exemptions will still apply. If it can be proven that the gift was given without “contemplation of death” then the money or property will not be taxed.

How do I file an Inheritance Tax return?

The executor or administrator of the estate will file one inheritance tax return, even if several individuals owe inheritance tax. The tax return, copies of the will, and the deceased person’s most recent federal income tax return must be filed with the NJ Division of Taxation within eight months of the date of death.

What is an inheritance Tax waiver?

Class A beneficiaries can file a “Request for Real Property Tax Waiver,” which, if approved, will indicate an inheritance tax return does not have to be filed in order for the beneficiary to receive their inheritance.

If you have more questions about the New Jersey inheritance tax, Veitengruber Law has the answers. Estate Law can be complex and difficult to understand. We can give you the knowledge you need to make informed decisions for yourself and your family regarding all matters of estate planning.

Can I File for NJ Bankruptcy if I Don’t Live in the Home?

The homestead exemption is used in bankruptcy proceedings to protect the equity of a debtor’s home. Many people going through bankruptcy are worried about how they will keep their home, or if it is even possible to do so. The good news is that as a New Jersey resident, there are ways for you to protect your home even though there is no homestead exemption under NJ law.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, NJ does offer a list of exemptions that can help you protect your property, but nothing specifically concerning your house. However, in New Jersey, you can opt to use the federal exemptions instead of the state exemptions. You must use only exemptions from either federal law or New Jersey law and you cannot mix and match.

If you are a New Jersey resident who opts to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions, you will be allowed to use the federal homestead exemption. Under the federal guidelines, you can exempt up to $23,675 in equity in your home (for married couples this doubles to $47,350). This exemption applies to real property in NJ, which can include your home, condo, co-op, mobile home, or even burial plots.

You can calculate your home’s equity by subtracting your outstanding mortgage balance from the overall value of your home. For example, if your home is valued at $250,000 and you have a mortgage balance of $230,000, then you have $20,000 in home equity. Since this is below the exemption limit of $23,675, you could use the homestead exemption to shield your home from being sold to pay off your debts.

Here are some rules to keep in mind when using the homestead exemption:

1.   You Must Keep Up With Monthly Mortgage Payments

If you opt to use the homestead exemption, you will need to be able to keep making on time and in full monthly mortgage payments. The homestead exemption will protect your home from being included in your bankruptcy estate, but it cannot protect you from foreclosure after bankruptcy.

2.   Homestead Exemptions Apply to Principal Residence ONLY

You cannot use the homestead exemption to protect an investment or vacation property. You must live on the property for the majority of the year in order for it to count as a homestead. Specifically, the law is defined as “one parcel or item of real or personal property that the person or a dependent…uses as a residence.” Because the definition of “residence” is not defined in federal exemption laws, the details matter. Every court will decide on the applicability of the law on a case by case basis.

3.   What if my home exceeds the federal homestead exemption?

If your home only slightly exceeds the homestead exemption limit, it is unlikely a bankruptcy trustee will attempt to sell your home since the costs associated with selling the home would likely be more than the potential dividend. The trustee would likely let it pass or allow you to negotiate for a cash buyout.

On the other hand, if your home equity significantly exceeds the homestead exemption, you will need to re-evaluate your options with a bankruptcy attorney. If your home does end up selling in order to use your non-exempt home equity to pay off debts, you are entitled to a check for the federal exemption amount ($23,675). If you want to keep your home in this situation, it may make more sense to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy exemptions are meant to help those struggling to maintain their assets while getting rid of debt and finding a new path forward. Veitengruber Law can advise which set of exemptions are right for you and help you find ways to protect your home and your other assets. If you’re feeling unsure of which exemptions are the best way to go, give us a call and we will help you!

Mortgage Forbearance and Foreclosure Relief Scams: What to Look for

The NJ Senate recently passed a bill that sets out to provide funds for New Jersey residents facing foreclosure. The law, S3244, would create the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA). This agency would be able to purchase properties facing foreclosure proceedings to give homeowners the time and resources needed to maintain ownership of their homes. The agency would also work to help residents obtain a more affordable mortgage. Because New Jersey has long been known as the state with the highest number of foreclosures, and now also ranks fourth in the nation for delinquent mortgages , this is welcome relief for struggling NJ homeowners.

This legislation is due in part to a projected rise in foreclosure filings some experts are predicting after the current eviction moratorium expires. The HMFA program would be funded through the Foreclosure Intervention Fund. Through this funding, the HMFA would be able to purchase loans on properties at risk of foreclosure and give homeowners the chance to refinance their mortgages. The S3244 bill would also allow the HMFA to provide grants to non-profit housing organizations to carry out similar duties.

Keep in mind there is plenty you can do before you are at risk of foreclosure. Besides the current mortgage deferral programs (which can allow you to defer mortgage payments for up to a year), you can speak to your lender about loan modification, refinancing, or a revised repayment plan. Working with your lender and informing them up front that you foresee issues is often the best way to avoid losing your home.

A word of caution for struggling homeowners: as more legitimate programs form to offer foreclosure protection, there is also the possibility of a rise in foreclosure relief SCAMS. Scammers specifically target those experiencing difficulty making their regular mortgage payments.

Avoid contact with any company or organization that:

  1. Asks for a fee BEFORE providing services: Self-titled foreclosure “rescue” companies will ask you to pay high fees for their services only to stop returning your calls once they receive the money.
  2. Says they can force your lender to cancel or modify a loan: These companies will claim to be able to find mistakes in your loan documents that will allow you to cancel or renegotiate terms with your lender. Canceling your loan will not prevent you from losing your house. Lenders are also not required to modify the payment terms of your loan because of mistakes in loan documents.
  3. Tells you to stop communicating with your mortgage company: Never let a company convince you to stop sending payments to your mortgage company or cease communication with them entirely. Often, your best chance at saving your home is to work with your lender.
  4. Offers a 100% guarantee: Any company that guarantees they can save your home is likely a scam.

If you are in forbearance on your mortgage right now and wondering what will come next, you don’t have to figure it out alone. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know what to do next, our knowledgeable real estate law team can help you determine your best options. If your goal is to avoid foreclosure and keep your home, we will work with your lender and/or the courts to help make that happen.

Getting Started as Estate Executor in NJ

Being the administrator or executor of an estate is a massive responsibility. The sometimes complicated nature of the New Jersey probate process can make it seem overwhelming at times. To help you better understand how to get started and what is required as an executor of an estate, we’ve compiled a checklist to get you off on the right foot.

It is important to note that an Estate in NJ will need to be opened at the Surrogate’s Office located in the county where the decedent resided. The probate process of a will in NJ cannot officially occur until the eleventh day from the date of death. You can, however, begin working on the process before this. First you will need to determine if there is a will and who is named as the executor of the will.

If there is a will and you are named as the executor, chances are you have a copy of the original. But you will still need to have the original in hand in order to act as the executor. If the first named Executor/Administrator of the will has predeceased the decedent, you will need to obtain a copy of the deceased Executor’s death certificate. Once you have the original of the will and find yourself listed as the executor/administrator, you will need the following:

1.   Original death certificate with a raised seal

2.   Original Codicil(s), if relevant

3.   Contact information for next of kin

4.   Addresses of all the beneficiaries indicated in the will

5.   Addresses of the Witness to the Will (if required)

6.  A list of all assets and the values of those assets in the decedent’s name alone

7.  An accepted form of picture ID for the administrator

8. The required payment fees (starting at $100.00)

If there is no will, someone will need to be appointed as the administrator of the estate. In NJ, an administrator cannot be appointed until the sixth day after the date of death. If you are seeking to qualify as administrator, you will need the following:

1.   Original death certificate with a raised seal

2.   Contact information for all immediate next of kin

3.   Renunciation from all adults with the equal or prior right to serve as executor

4.   A list of all assets and the values of those assets in the decedent’s name alone

5.   Any short certificates or affidavits required

6.   An accepted form of picture ID for the administrator

7.   The required payment fees (starting at ($100.00)

You do not have to serve as the executor of an estate. You can renounce this role if you are not able to or do not want to serve as an executor. If you do choose to proceed as the executor of an estate, you will be legally responsible for safeguarding the assets of the estate and making distributions to named beneficiaries of the will. You will be obligated to pay the debts of the decedent as well as any taxes due.

Serving as the executor of an estate in NJ can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to ensure a smooth process for the executor is to make sure there is a clear estate plan in place from the beginning. Veitengruber Law understands the ins and outs of the NJ probate process and estate law. We can help you protect your assets and your family.

Tax Deductible Charity in a Year When Giving was Challenging

The 2020 CARES Act included a provision that would encourage the average American to do their part to help those struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic—while also getting a nice tax break in the process. A special tax law was included in the legislation that allowed the deduction of cash donations of up to $300 made before December 31, 2020. If you made charitable donations last year, you could be looking at a higher income tax return, but not all nonprofit organizations are tax-deductible. Today’s blog post will help you determine if your donations can be deducted or not. Use the following information to make sure you’re getting the most out of your own generosity.

1. Donations Must be Cash

In order for a donation to count towards your tax deduction, they must be made in cash. Acceptable donations include those made via check, credit card, or debit card. If you donated clothes, food, supplies, or any other tangible items, they will not count towards your deduction.

Donations to a charity via fundraising tickets are also not tax-deductible. Similarly, buying merchandise from a charity does not count – so even though you may feel good about buying merch or other fundraiser items in order to help a group raise funds – money spent in this way won’t give you a tax break.

2. You Need a Receipt

In order for your cash donations to be tax deductible you’ll need a record of them in the form of a receipt or acknowledgement letter from the charity. A promised or pledged donation is not eligible for deduction.

3. The Organization Must be Eligible

Not all non-profits and charities are eligible for tax-deductible donations. The IRS classifies charities and non-profit organizations by their mission and organizational structure. An organization has to qualify (and be registered) as a 501(c)(3) in order to receive tax-deductible donations.

In addition to 501(c)(3) charities, donations made to veterans organizations (with 90% war veteran membership) and volunteer fire departments are also tax-deductible.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Civic and employee associations are not eligible for tax-deductible donations. For example, retired worker associations or sports groups typically do not qualify. The best way to determine if an organization is eligible for tax-deductible donations is to ask the organization directly. You can also check their registration status with the IRS using the TEOS tool.

4. Timing Matters

Even if you sent a check or payment in by the end of the year, it will not count towards your 2020 tax year unless the funds were actually transferred in 2020. Post-dated checks that were actually cashed in 2021 cannot count towards your 2020 tax returns.
The only exception to this rule is made for credit card donations which can be claimed for the tax year in which they were made/pledged even if you don’t actually pay your credit card bill until 2021.

There were plenty of opportunities to donate to good causes last year, and the IRS has made it easy for these donations to count towards a tax deduction. You might be surprised at how much you donated last year. By carefully checking your records, you can get the most out of your 2020 tax return.

Help for Overwhelming COVID Medical Debt in NJ

covid medical debt

At the end of 2020, Congress enacted into law the No Surprises Act, creating new consumer protections against surprise medical bills as part of the new Coronavirus Aid bill. Surprise billing happens when a patient seeks care at a medical facility within their network and afterwards is billed unexpectedly because the doctor that treated them is out of network. Surprise billing can amount to millions of dollars for Americans each year with 1 in 5 emergency claims including at least one out-of-network bill. Here are some of the provisions created to protect consumers:

Health Plans Have to Cover Surprise Billing

Private health insurance plans must cover surprise medical bills for emergency services as well as services of out-of-network providers rendered at a facility that is in the network. The law also requires in-network cost sharing to apply to these services. If a private insurer does not correctly identify or cover a surprise medical expense, the consumer will have the right to appeal the decision.

Balance Billing Is Not Allowed

A balance bill is issued to a patient when a health provider charges them the amount not covered by the insurance company. Out-of-network providers are prohibited from charging patients beyond what the in-network cost sharing cost is for services rendered. There is an exception for out-of-network doctors providing non-emergency services that provided advanced written notice of the cost and received the patient’s consent.

Out-of-Network Providers Cannot Bill for Excess Charges

The law specifically indicates that out-of-network providers cannot hold patients liable for costs that exceed the in-network cost sharing for a specific service. This places the burden on providers to know a patient’s insurance status as well as the in-network cost sharing for the bill.

Oversight and Enforcement of these Rules are Required

Private healthcare providers, state providers, and federal providers must all follow these rules and create specific mechanisms of oversight and enforcement. There must be a process in place for receiving complaints and reports of surprise bill violations. Violations can result in penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.

How Will Surprise Bill Payments Be Resolved?

While consumers will now be protected from surprise billing, the cost of these services must still be paid. Congress finally compromised on an independent dispute resolution (IDR) process to resolve surprise bills. The IDR process would allow the insurance provider and the health services provider to try to negotiate the payment amount. Each party will submit a final offer and within 30 days the IDR entity will determine which offer is the most fitting.

With over 150,000 coronavirus hospitalizations in 2020 alone, many Americans are dealing with the cost of emergency medical care. Protecting consumers from surprise billing is one way Congress is working to lighten the load of overwhelming medical debt. The provisions of this legislation are intended to go into effect January 1, 2022.

If you are currently dealing with unmanageable medical debt, whether due to COVID-19 or not, don’t let it push you into financial ruin – you have options! Call Veitengruber Law 609-297-5226 today so we can help you determine the best path forward and start negotiating your medical debt down to a reasonable level ASAP.

Will my Beneficiaries Still Owe NJ Inheritance Tax if I Move Out of State?

estate planning New Jersey, inheritance tax

New Jersey is one of six states that has an inheritance tax. Anyone inheriting property outside of a direct lineage—grandparent to parent to child to grandchild (including relations via adoption or stepchildren)—has to pay a tax on any NJ property worth over $500. But what happens when you move out of the state? Like a lot of things surrounding estate law, the answer to this can be a bit complicated. Here are the factors you need to consider when determining whether or not your beneficiaries will owe NJ inheritance tax.

Will You Officially Reside in Another State?

If you are planning to move, chances are you plan to change your permanent residence to your new out-of-state location. You can do a few things once you settle in your new home to ensure your estate is in order. While most properly executed estate plans will be valid in other states, it is worth it to update your estate plan after a move. Your will or revocable trusts may reference laws from your previous state of residence that will no longer apply after your move, which can be confusing for your heirs.

Will You Still Own Property in NJ?

If you are retaining property in NJ and you plan to leave this property as an inheritance, there is a chance the property will be subject to the NJ inheritance tax. If you’ll be leaving this property to a Class A inheritor (or a charitable organization) they will be exempt from the tax. All other inheritors will have to pay an 11% to 16% tax on all real or tangible property located in New Jersey. If you plan to keep your NJ home even after your move, it is important to come up with a plan for who will get the home in the event of your death and be sure that you understand the tax implications of that choice.

Does It Matter Where the Beneficiary Resides?

It does not matter if a beneficiary of your estate lives in NJ. A person inheriting NJ property who does not fall into any of the exemption categories will need to pay the NJ inheritance tax no matter where they live.

Whenever you move, you should revisit your estate plan and work with an experienced estate attorney in the state you reside to ensure your affairs are in order. Different states have different taxes, inheritance rules, and property laws. Veitengruber Law has a team that is experienced and well-versed in NJ estate law. We can help you make informed choices to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones after you’re gone. Reach out to us today to set up your estate plan or if you have questions about your existing will.

Are You Sabotaging Your Credit Score?

There are five major factors that impact your credit score:

Payment History

Payments are made on time and in full every time. This accounts for 35% of your credit score.

Credit Usage

Your credit utilization ratio, or the amount of credit you are using out of the total amount of credit available to you, takes up 30% of your credit score.

Credit History

15% of your credit score is owed to how long you have had the credit accounts under your name. The longer your credit history, the higher your score.

Credit Mix

This takes into account the number and different types of accounts you have. A wide range of accounts typically means a higher score. This is 10% of your score.

New Credit

Another 10% of your score comes from the number of new accounts you have opened. Too many new accounts or credit inquiries for new accounts can flag you as a risk.

You can see from the above list that specific financial choices can impact your credit very differently. When it comes to your credit score, there are a few big mistakes that can hit you hard and severely damage your score. Here are some examples of big credit score hits:

  1. Missing Payments

    Because payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score (taking up a bigger portion of your overall score than all other categories), even one missed payment can negatively impact your credit score. A few missed payments can be disastrous. This is why if you are ever struggling to pay your bills, you should reach out to your lender right away. Working with your lender to come up with a payment plan can prevent your credit from plummeting.

  2. High Credit Utilization Ratio

    You can calculate your utilization ratio by taking the total amount of credit you are currently using and dividing it by the total credit available to you. You should make it your goal to stay under 30% utilization, although under 10% is even better. It may appear to creditors that you are too dependent on your credit if your credit utilization ratio is too high. This can decrease your credit score as well as limit creditor’s willingness to open lines of credit up to you in the future.

  3. Applying for New Credit Within a Small Time Frame

    Every time you apply for a new line of credit and a lender requests your credit report, a hard inquiry is noted in your credit report. These hard inquiries will stay on your report for two years. One or two hard inquiries can make your score go down a few points for a short period of time. Too many hard inquiries can lead creditors to believe you are in financial trouble or having a difficult time getting more credit.

  4. Defaulting on Accounts

    Foreclosure, bankruptcy, repossession, charge-offs, and settled accounts can deeply hurt your credit score and remain on your report for many years.

 

No matter your financial situation, credit repair is possible. Veitengruber Law offers customized credit repair solutions to help you improve your score. You can feel empowered to change your financial situation with the knowledge of how credit scores work.