Bounce Basics: How to Deal with a Bad Check?

If you are a business owner, chances are you need to accept check payments from customers and clients. Now, when you process a significant number of checks in a month, there will be a few that get returned by the bank. While it is frustrating trying to deal with a bad check, there is no need to raise an alarm. Dealing with bounced checks is very much a part and parcel of business operations. If you follow the right steps and keep calm you will resolve the problem.

Apart from insufficient funds, checks can be returned by a bank due to a host of other reasons. Banks may a return check following a signature mismatch or if the check paper doesn’t match their security requirements. This is why, if you plan to order checks online for business, it’s recommended to buy it from a reputed firm. Following are 6 simple steps you need to follow to deal with a bounced check.

Contact the Customer: Just because the check got returned doesn’t mean the person who wrote the check did it intentionally. If you are dealing with an ethical person, he or she would probably take the effort to pay you in cash or transfer the fund electronically. In most case, the person requests the recipient to redeposit the check at a certain date.

Try and Deposit the Check Again: If the person is unresponsive, then it’s best to wait for a few days and then redeposit the check. Sometimes checks get cleared on the second try because it gives the check writers enough time to sufficiently fund their accounts.

Call up the Bank: If you fail on the second attempt, there is no point in keeping on going back to the bank. Now, you need to prepare yourself for taking legal action. Before you send a certified letter, give it one last try by contacting the bank. Tell them that you hold a check for a certain amount and request them to verify if the account is sufficiently funded. If the account has enough money, make your way to the bank and cash the check.

Send a Letter: Now, that all attempts of cashing the check have failed, it’s time to follow the legal course of action. Send the recipient a certified letter to legally inform him that the check has been returned by the bank and you are still awaiting to receive your due. There is no need to be creative, there are plenty of online letter templates for returned checks you can print them out and add your details.

Prepare to Press Charges: You can either contact the local district attorney’s office or hire a legal firm. Sending a letter notifying the bounced check is a prerequisite before you take this step. This is why ensure you send the person who wrote the check a certified letter first.

Sue in Court: Follow the legal procedure to file a suit. Returned check cases are usually pretty straight forward and you should be able to recover the amount due plus damages.

5 Things to Know About Real Estate in San Diego

You are ready to invest in real estate in the San Diego area. Before you do, there are a few things you should know about hard money loans San Diego and real estate trends in this area.

  1. The Market Is Hot

Right now, homes are flying off the market quickly in San Diego. For this reason, commit yourself to buying before you move forward with the purchasing process. If you see a home you like, you’re going to have to act fast.

  1. Neighborhoods Change Quickly

Prices and desirability in different neighborhoods almost change daily in the San Diego area. For this reason, it’s essential to do your homework about the area you want to invest in before moving forward with a purchase.

  1. Prices are on the Rise

As you probably have already noticed, San Diego is a desirable place to live. For this reason, home prices are on the side of high in many areas of this popular city. To get all the features you want in a home, plan on paying a little bit more. Or, be prepared to do some renovations to get the home you want after making a lower-priced purchase.

  1. Homes are Limited

Another reason why the prices of homes in San Diego are rising is due to limited availability. This is especially true for single-family homes in popular residential neighborhoods. Prepare yourself to compete with other buyers and deal with properties that have multiple offers.

  1. Secure Financing Is Critical

From probate loans to hard money loans, knowing you have access to a reliable form of financing is the key to success when purchasing real estate in the highly competitive San Diego market. If you have any questions about the financing options available to you, or how to move forward securing financing, please reach out to us at North Coast Financial today.

What To Do When You’re About To Default On A Loan

When we think of loans, we very rarely think about what we’re going to do if things go wrong. That is, until they actually do. The truth is that it’s common for borrowers to come across hard times, and when loans are involved, they may go unpaid. If things are getting tough for you financially, and you’re worried about defaulting on your debts, consider the following.

Call Your Lender

When times are getting tough, the last thing you may want to do is talk to your lender. After all, this is the same company that you’re worried about being able to pay. However, these calls are not quite as painful as you think they may be.

At the end of the day, your lender knows that some of their borrowers are going to default, and a smart lender is going to want to do whatever they can to help you avoid that potential outcome. In fact, some big lenders like Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Discover, and more offer financial hardship programs that are designed to help reduce payments and avoid penalties for consumers with financial concerns. At the end of the day, the worst thing that can happen is that your lender will not be able to help. The situation will never get worse by the borrower taking proactive steps when times get tough.

Consider Your Options

After speaking with your lender, take a bit of time to explore other options as well. The two most common forms of debt relief that aren’t offered by the lenders directly are debt consolidation and debt settlement. Take a bit of time to research these options. Once you have, consider the option provided by your lender, as well as debt consolidation and debt settlement and how these programs may fit into your unique financial position. Nine times out of ten, after doing your research, you’ll find the program that’s best!

What If I Can’t Pay Anything At All?

The truth of the matter is that not everyone will be able to pay their debts back. Sometimes, financial hardships can be so much to deal with that paying anything towards debts can feel impossible. If this is the case, while times will get stressful, you’re not going to go to jail, nor is it OK for you to be harassed. Believe it or not, debt collectors have rules to follow too. So, if these are some of your concerns, rest assured that none of this will happen. Nonetheless, if this is the case, here’s what you can expect to happen next.

  • Your Lender Will Attempt To Collect – First and foremost, your lender is going to try and get the money that is owed. They will send statements, late payment notices, and will likely even call you to try and get a payment. However, they must follow the rules set forth in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when collecting debts. If these rules are broken, you may have legal recourse.
  • Your Lender Will Sell Your Debt – In most cases, once a lender determines that they cannot collect on your debt, they will perform a charge off. That means that they will sell your debt to a debt collector either at pennies on the dollar or in a deal where the collector gets a percentage of the amount of money collected. From there, the debt collector will be in charge of collecting on your debt.
  • You May Be Taken To Court – If a debt collector deems that they will not be paid on a debt, and the debt is worth enough to that collector to sue over it, you may be taken to court. This process generally takes quite a bit of time, but once a judgement is placed, the holder of the debt has further legal recourse when it comes to collecting. Therefore, before letting debts go too far, bankruptcy is an option. However, it should always be a last option.

Do I Have To Deal With Harassment?

NO! The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (information linked to above), protects you from harassment by lenders. This is done by providing a borrower a way to opt out of phone calls, requiring lenders to only call during certain hours of the day, and limiting the vocabulary these lenders can use to ensure that no threats are made. Debt Consolidation’s informative guide on debt collectors harassments, elaborates what to do if things escalate. For example, if you feel as though you have been harassed by a collector, send a certified letter letting them know that they may no longer contact you. If further contact takes place, call the attorney general of your state and consider hiring a lawyer. You have rights, and debt collectors cannot forget about those rights without legal repercussions.

Final Thoughts

Debt can be overwhelming. However, it may not be as bad as you think it is. The truth of the matter is that while lenders do have some ways to collect, and debt is best if dealt with proactively, you’re not going to go to jail and if you are being harassed, you don’t have to stand by and deal with it. The best thing you can do is take any steps you can do to solve the problem and do your research to know your rights!


Debt is not a Death Sentence: Use These 4 Tried and Proven Strategies for Getting Back on Your Feet

Debt is that dreaded four-letter word that has the power to turn your life into a living nightmare. Sometimes your debt can be a consequence of overspending and lack of foresight on your part, but eventually even this will come back to haunt you and cause you countless sleepless nights. However, being in debt is not a death sentence. There are scores of people getting out of debt daily, and some in a short period of time. Follow these 4 proven strategies to get back on your feet and out of debt.

1. Work Out A Realistic Budget

Work out a budget in order to track what your income and expenses are. This will help you see what you have to work with and let you have a realistic viewpoint of the health of your finances. You will quickly know whether you have any money left over or whether you are dipping into the negative. The goal is to move away from the negative, which is your deficit, into the positive or surplus.

Make sure to pay off a lot more on your debt than what is required whenever you can. With your surplus, you can easily knock down a couple of thousands from your debt amount.

2. Reduce Your Expenses

The most obvious way for you to get out of debt is to reduce your spending. Do not succumb to unnecessary spending to try to get out of debt. This will drive you even deeper down the rabbit hole.

Do you spend $300 on weekly groceries and another $300 on eating out? Don’t do that — eat out less, and focus on buying store brands of your grocery staples. Try a more frugal way of living. What you save out of that initial $600 than can wipe out a huge chunk of your debt.

Another way to reduce your expenses is to reduce the number of things you just have lying around the house unused. Declutter your life and sell all those extra goodies just lying around gathering dust, and use that money to pay off part of your debt.

  1. Have an Emergency Funding Source
    In order to keep a level head during times of financial stress, it is wise to keep an emergency funding source ready in case things go south. Yes, this sounds counterintuitive and contrary to what you have to do to stay out of debt, but having a reliable place to go to in times of need will help you stay away from high-interest loans and more credit card debt.

    Acquiring a small personal loan to keep things afloat should not be stressful. In fact, it should be easy for you. You should apply from a place that is well known for fast approval, and where you don’t have to deal with unnecessary delays in receiving the money.

  2. Refinance Your Debt

Refinancing your debt is a method used to move your debt to a vehicle of lower interest rate. This is done by transferring your debt to a different lending company than the one currently handling it. You can also transfer credit card debt to a credit card with a lower interest rate or use a loan with a lower rate to pay off the credit card debt. The idea is to lower the overall interest rate you are paying on all your debt.

It is important to consider and especially read all the fine print associated with closing costs and interest rate rules before signing on your new loan. Do not agree on any type of refinancing until you feel adequately informed and understand what you are getting.

Are Diamonds a Good Investment?

There are few symbols that are so universally associated with wealth and luxury as diamonds. Throughout human history, diamonds have been coveted for their exceptionally beautiful and unique aesthetic properties. As with anything that is both beautiful and valuable, diamonds have proven to be a popular investment commodity. But are they a good investment? Should the burgeoning investor look to diamonds as a strong opening move in their investment career? Will this boost your investment portfolio in a meaningful way?

Why Diamonds?

Anyone can appreciate the fact that a diamond is an intrinsically beautiful object. Even if we cannot put into words precisely what it is about diamonds that we find so appealing, if you were to show the same diamond to a group of people, most would be able to agree on how ‘attractive’ it was. This is because the things that we find appealing about diamonds resonate with us on an intuitive level; it isn’t easy to put these things into words, but most of us agree on them.

From the perspective of an investor, this makes diamonds a reliable commodity to invest in. There is never any doubt that there will be a market for diamonds. Especially as they also have a number of industrial uses.

If you are considering making an investment, in diamonds or anything else, you should seek out a financial advisor, such as Trust Point to help you manage your investments wisely.

Strong and Durable

Diamonds are very resilient materials, hence their use in machines that cut the hardest materials. For example, diamonds are used to cut other diamonds as any other material quickly buckles under the task. Coupled with their small size, this durability makes diamonds a secure investment. There aren’t many commodities that you can invest in, and also physically hold yourself. With diamonds this is not only possible, it’s simple.

Use Them While You Have Them

Another aspect of diamonds that makes them unique as an investment commodity is that they can be put to use while you are in possession of them. For example, having a diamond set in a ring won’t cause it to depreciate in value, it will be worth just as much set in a ring as it would be sat in a bank vault.

An Investment You Can See

Most of the time, when someone makes an investment, it is in something abstract like a stock or a share. In the case of commodities, these investments are backed up by physical substances. But even in the case of commodities, these are usually things like oil, which are impractical to store and possess yourself. However, in the case of diamonds, you can see the thing you are investing in in front of you. Many investors find that having something tangible to show for their investments has a beneficial psychological effect. When you see the thing you are investing in, many people find that they are less likely to risk their investment.

Diamonds have long been a popular investment option, and they are still an excellent choice today. If you are looking for investment opportunities, consider diamonds.

What Is a USDA Home Loan?

If you feel more comfortable being out in nature, buying a home is within your reach thanks to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) mortgage program. If you want to live in a rural or suburban area, you should apply for this zero down payment loan.  In the last year, this program has helped more than 127,000 families to upgrade or buy homes.

If you do not mind living in areas that are rural, you should consider this no down payment and low interest USDA home loan. With different types of mortgages to choose from, you need to know whether this loan is right for you.

How USDA Mortgage Programs Work

You will come across three USDA loan programs:

Direct loans – these loans are for people who earn very low incomes. With subsidies, applicants can get interest rates that are as low as 1%. The income threshold for qualifying varies depending on the region.

Loan guarantees – just like VA-backed and FHA loans, the USDA usually guarantees loans issued by participating lenders in your area. This means that you can get low-interest rate loans without a down payment. However, if you put up no or little down payment, you will have to pay mortgage insurance.

Home improvement grants and loans – these financial awards and loans allow people to repair their homes or upgrade them.

How to Qualify for USDA-backed Loan Guarantees

The income limits for qualifying for this type of loan depend on the size of a house and its location. However, these loans can only finance owner-occupied houses that are primary residences.

The requirements for eligibility are:

Monthly payment – when you include taxes, insurance, and principal interest, this should be 29 percent or less of your income. Any other debt payments that you make per month should not exceed 41% of your income. However, if you have a credit score more than 680, the USDA will consider higher debt ratios.

US citizenship – you have to be a US citizen or have permanent residency.

Dependable income – you need to show proof of a steady income for at least 24 months.

Acceptable credit history – your credit history should be good without any accounts that are converted to collections in the past year.  You can still qualify if you prove that your credit history was affected by events beyond your control.

If you have a credit score above 640, you should be able to get streamlined processing.

However, if it is lower than that, you need to meet stricter underwriting standards.

How USDA Home Loans Work

USDA gives loans to the neediest applicants, which means:

–          People who do not have sanitary and safe housing

–          People with an adjusted income or with a low income limit

–          People who cannot secure mortgages from traditional sources

The USDA mostly issues loans for houses that are less than 2,000 square feet.

Eligible Home Locations

If you want to live in a metropolitan area, you will not qualify for a USDA mortgage. Rural areas are the most eligible but suburban areas can qualify. If you want to apply for this loan, you should contact a participating lender. However, if you want a home improvement or direct loan, you should get in touch with the USDA office in your state.

Although USDA programs seem like they target ranchers and farmers, your occupation does not matter when applying. All you need is the right location and income to qualify.

A USDA home loan might seem like a long shot but you will not know whether you qualify until you contact the nearest participating lender or USDA office.

7 Reasons Why Gold is Still a Good Investment

Since time immemorial, various generations have continued to hold on to gold for many reasons. Even as different promising investment portfolios such as cryptocurrencies emerge, below are a few rationales as to why you should still consider gold as a competent investment.

  • Gold is a stout store of value

In case you are seeking a long-term store of value, do not look further than gold. Unlike various fiat currencies which constantly depreciates in value, gold has for over the past 3000 years proved a reliable and stable means of preserving and passing down wealth from one generation to the next, with entirely negligible glitches if any.  A good example is the Sterling Pound, the currency has been around for nearly 1200 years and has lost nearly 97% of its value in its entire period of existence.

  • Unparalleled liquidity

Gold bears higher liquidity compared to most assets. It is a universally accepted mark of quality, with a variety of uses; in fact, there are about 15 uses of gold common to all regions of the globe. The precious metal can always be exchanged for fiat currency or traded against other goods and services anywhere in the world.

  • There is no specialized knowledge required to invest in gold

Unlike stokes, bond, cryptocurrencies, real-estates, among a series of other investments, gold requires no specialized skills. As an investor, all you need to do is simply buy and store your gold bullions. There are no tedious charts to compare all day long, or trading bots to trust with your investments.

  • Gold is a great way of diversifying your investment portfolio

As you lower the overall risk of your different investment portfolios, there is no better way to do it than through investing in gold, as aforementioned, it is a stable store of value and isn’t contrastingly hit by fluctuations in market value.

  • Gold is an excellent hedge against inflation

As inflation hits, different forms of investment valued in fiat currencies such as the Dollar usually depreciate in value. Gold has over the past several decades surged in value as the stock markets and fiat currencies plunged in merits in times of inflation crisis. Many wise investors, therefore, tend to hold much gold than any other forms of investments during high-inflation periods as it safeguards their purchasing power.

  • Gold enjoys a limited supply

What does limited supply of gold mean to you as an investor? With diminishing supply of gold comes greater demand for the commodity. This means that the price of the precious metal will constantly soar accruing lump sum profits over time. Statistics indicate that there has been declining production of new gold since the year 2000 coupled up with growing demand.

  • Privacy and confidentiality

Finally, contemporarily, virtually any other forms of investments available do not provide top-tier privacy and confidentiality to investors. On a different note, gold is one type of investment where one can go anonymous. Any investor can choose to keep his or her gold assets private and oblivious to anyone’s knowledge apart from parties directly involved in gold transactions.

Overly, gold is the best means of protecting one’s purchasing power and hence the most reliable investment option in times of economic crisis. Additionally, its other advantages give it a long-term competitive edge against any other forms of investment.