Consumer Finance

WFJ Presents: Qualifying for a Home Mortgage as a First-Time Home Buyer in Minnesota

Looking for your first home is an exciting and overwhelming experience. Before the house-hunting begins, a first time home buyer should be aware of mortgage qualification requirements. An understanding of the process will allow you to determine whether you need to make any financial changes before applying for a loan. By taking just a few simple steps, you can vastly improve the likelihood that your mortgage will be approved.

Promissory Notes: My Friend Wants To Borrow Money—What Do I Do?

If you decide to loan money to another person, whether it be a family member, friend, or business associate, you should always have a signed document that lists the terms of the agreement. That document is referred to as a promissory note, and it works to protect all parties involved. As the lender, the document is evidence that the sum of money provided was not intended to be a gift. The borrower is protected because the note will have all of the provisions that the parties agreed upon, and the lender can’t make changes without the borrower’s permission. When drafting your own promissory note, it is important to have the following provisions addressed and included:

You Won! …Or, Did You?: Sweepstakes Fraud and Other Scams

Scams come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s by mail, over the phone, on the computer, or even face-to-face, the goal of would-be scammers is always the same: to get your money or your personal information. If your information falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to access your existing accounts and credit cards, or to open new ones. These actions can affect your credit history for years to come, and can have other long-lasting and undesirable consequences as well.

Credit Card Crisis: A Debtor’s Dilemma

Most Americans have used credit cards in some form or fashion – especially for vacations, car repairs, and sometimes for everyday expenses when money is tight. Unfortunately, these payments add up and, for many, become quite a financial hardship. What are your options in this situation?

Canceled Debt as Income, and the Exceptions to the Rule

Have you had debts forgiven? To the unpleasant surprise of many, the IRS counts forgiven debt as income—meaning, it has to be reported as income on your tax return. If you’re in this situation, you’ll often receive a 1099-C Form, sent by the organization that forgave your debt.

Joint Bank Accounts: Fair Game for Garnishment

Joint bank accounts offer a convenient way for couples to budget, pay shared bills, and ensure easy access to the assets of the account, in the event of one person’s death. A joint account can also offer an exciting opportunity to solidify trust in a relationship. This excitement can quickly turn into a nightmare, however, when a judgment creditor has the account frozen due to one person’s debt.

Minnesota’s Lemon Law

Do you have an auto repair that is covered under a warranty the manufacturer refuses to honor? If so, you are protected by Minnesota law. Minnesota’s lemon law covers new vehicles that have either been purchased or leased in Minnesota, and used vehicles that are still under warranty.