What To Look For In A Bankruptcy Lawyer

Rule Number One: Don’t go into bankruptcy alone!

Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is one of the best moves you can make if you are filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy lawyer knows the ins and outs of the bankruptcy process, have done plenty of research on the topic, and have dealt with the court system for years.

 

Give Jonathon Preston from the Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston a call.

When looking for a bankruptcy lawyer, it is important to keep the following in mind:

Make sure you hire an expert – It is important to find a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy. You should find out what percentage of a lawyer’s practice is comprised of bankruptcy and how many cases he has filed. It is best to avoid a “jack of all trades” type of lawyer.

You’ll get what you pay for – Of course you are already tight on money if you are filing for bankruptcy however it is important to keep the saying in mind: “You get what you pay for”. Don’t go with the least expensive lawyer because you may end up having to pay more money in the long run.

Make sure you will get detailed attention – Many law firms will run their clients through a bankruptcy mill resulting in lousy legal work, unhappy clients and wary judges and trustees. In order to spot a mill, check with your local bar association for recommendations on attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy. Most mills will not be on top of the networking which is a normal characteristic of a local bar association.

Last but not least, make sure you have a comfortable relationship with your lawyer – Picking a lawyer you are comfortable with is most important. If you don’t have a good feel about the attorney, find another one. Filing bankruptcy is an emotional roller coaster and you want to feel right about what your lawyer is doing for you.

Looking for a lawyer? Call The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston.

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The Good And The Ugly With Debt Collection

If you are buried in debt, you may be considering debt collection.

A debt collector does have some advantages but you should also be aware of the disadvantages too. Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston would like to share some of the good and bad when it comes to debt collection:

debt collectorThe benefits of using a debt collection agency:

  • Debt collectors have more experience – They are more assertive and consistent when it comes to getting the bills paid.
  • A debt collector will free up your time and energy – Instead of beign the one to make the phone calls and send out letters to collect debts, give that job to a debt collector. Plus, your number won’t show up on the debtor’s caller ID if they are trying to avoid you.
  • Debt collectors have advanced tools – They can communicate with debtors using new telephone technologies and third party resources that grant access to debtor information. They are also in constant communication with debtors through written and verbal methods.

The negatives of using a debt collection agency:

  • Debt collectors charge a heavy fee – This service obviously comes with a price. Debt collectors usually charge a percentage of what they collect for you (anywhere from 25 to 50 percent depending on the debt).
  • Using a debt collector can affect your client relations – Remember a debt collector is acting as your voice for your business. If they lack communication skills it may create misfortune between you and your customer. However, once an account is turned over to a debt collector they are unlikely to return to you for future business. Also, is it worth dealing with that customer who doesn’t always pay?
  • Your debt collector may be violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – This law dictates how agencies can collect from consumers. There is however laws and regulations that a debt collector must follow. Ask for a “hold harmless agreement” in your contract with the debt collection agency.

What To Know When Hiring A Contractor

Planning to build a home or remodel your existing home?

The Law Offices of Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston come across many construction cases where the contractor either does not have a license or the license he or she carries is out of date.

 

It is important to know how to hire a contractor when starting a construction project at your home. Here are some tips to choosing a contractor:

  • Make sure he or she is currently state licensed in your area. Has the construction company paid its employees legally and carry workers’ compensation, property damage and liability insurance? You should also find out how long he or she has been in business along with a list of references you can contact.
  • Does the contractor have a work crew or do they subcontract the work? Protect yourself from a mechanics lien by asking the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers for lien releases or waivers upon each payment.
  • Ask if the contractor can supply you with a fixed start and completion date included in a formal written agreement. If you aren’t normally onsite during the project it is a good idea to check in regularly to make sure everything is coming along.
  • Ask for an itemized price estimate from each potential contractor when getting bids. Examine each carefully paying attention to those that seem too high or too low. Lower bids may mean you will get a hasty job that won’t leave you with a quality finished product. Remember, in most cases you get what you pay for.
  • Ask the contractor for a schedule of the work from start to finish. If you want regular progress reports, ask for them in writing.
  • Don’t let your payments get ahead of the work. We recommend paying 10 percent down before they start the project. If it is a stable company they won’t need a large amount of money to pay for materials or overhead.
  • If you have questions about a mechaincs lien or construction issues, contact Jonathon Preston with Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC.

 

7 Ways To Save For Christmas Now!

It’s no surprise when Christmas is. It comes the same time each year!

However, it always seems to sneak up on us when it comes to affording it financially. Christmas doesn’t have to be a holiday that buries you in more debt.

Christmas savingsPage, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share some great tips to get your savings started now for Christmas:

  1. Do you come across extra money? Whether it is finding spare change or shopping rebates, put it away into an envelope. If you go out to eat and your friend pays for a portion of the bill in cash and gives it to you, use that to put into your Christmas envelope as well.
  2. Do you ever earn gift cards or receive them as gifts? Put those into your Christmas envelope as well! You can always re-gift them or exchange them for presents when it gets closer to Christmas.
  3. Eliminate eating out one day of the week. Use the money you would spend on your lunch or dinner out towards your Christmas envelope.
  4. Do you have extra stuff lying around the house? Sell it! Now is a great time to do some spring cleaning. Clean the clutter out of your home and sell them at a garage sale. If you have more quality stuff, sell it online through eBay.
  5. Cut back on some of your utilities for a couple months. For example, if you cut back on your cable subscription for 2-3 months, put that extra savings into your Christmas envelope. It’s so nice out lately anyway, who wants to be inside watching TV?
  6. Call your cell phone company to see if you can lower your bill. Do you have a landline? Cancel that and just use your cell phone.
  7. Pay yourself daily on each transaction you make. For example, if you go to the grocery store and you spend $94.87, put the extra $5.13 into your Christmas savings envelope.

Money Saving Tips

7 tips for saving money.

Saving money does not have to be a chore. It can be fun and you can make a game out of it between friends of who can save the most.

Our favorite way to save money is every time you use your ATM card, get cash back – anywhere from $5.00 to $20.00. Then put this money in a secret spot. It is amazing how much you will have saved in such a short period of time. It will also motivate you to save more!

Below are 7 more tips on how you can save money:

  1. Determine what the difference is between “needs” and “wants”. Many of those “wants” are impulse buys and you really don’t actually have to have them.
  2. Make your meals at home, usually what you make is better for you than what you buy. Also brew your coffee at home instead of stopping by Starbucks every morning.
  3. Set goals for yourself. If you want to have a certain amount of money saved by a certain date, find a way to do it.
  4. Use cash for everything. Once it is gone, it is gone. This will help you avoid impulse buys.
  5. Go to the library to rent movies, it is free.
  6. Stop impulse buying! Walk away and reevaluate how much you want it after 24 hours.
  7. If you see something you want calculate how many hours you would have to work to afford it.

5 Money Saving Tips Anyone Can Use

Looking for ways to cut back your expenses?

money savingsWith prices on just about everything going up, it is pretty common to start searching for ways to cut back costs and stretch your dollar a little further.

Page, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like share some helpful tips to saving money that just about anyone can use:

  1. Call your electric company to see how you can save money. Many offer free energy audits to see where your utility dollars are going. You can then make changes and repairs to various areas of your home to save some electricity. Also unplug EVERYTHING when you are not using it. Even phone chargers, TV’s and computers are using electricity even if they aren’t turned on!
  2. Make your own repairs at home instead of hiring someone. Many stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot offer free Do It Yourself classes where you can learn how to make minor improvements to your home all by yourself.
  3. Pay down your mortgage or put that extra money in savings. If you make an extra mortgage payment each year you can save thousands of dollars in interest of the course of a 30 year loan. However, if your interest rate is already pretty low (in the 4-5 percent range) you may be better off contributing to a 401(k) plan or paying down your higher interest credit cards.
  4. Ask for your interest rate to be lowered. If you have good payment history with your credit card company, they may agree to lower your interest rate if you just simply ask.
  5. Review your insurance rates. Many times your home and auto insurance rates can be lowered. Ask your current provider to do a review and shop around for other lower insurance rates as well.

7 Smart Things You Can Do With Your Tax Return

Planning on receiving a refund check this year for taxes?

Before you start thinking of all the fun things you can buy with this extra money, take a moment to stop and think smarter about how this extra money can be used to benefit you and your family.

tax refundPage, Lobo, Costales and Preston APC would like to share 7 smart things you can do with your tax refund:

Pay Off Your Credit Card – If you have credit card balances and are paying a high interest rate on them, use your refund to pay off or at least pay down that debt.

Build Up Your Emergency Fund – If your emergency fund is low or you are asking yourself “what is an emergency fund” this tip is for you!! Use your refund to start building up an emergency fund which will help avoid using a credit card and building up debt next time you encounter an emergency.

Get Rid Of Insurance Gaps – If you aren’t sure if you’re covered for certain disasters such as flood insurance or liability insurance, get with your insurance agent. If you are not covered, use your refund to pay for insurance that you definitely need but don’t yet have.

Get Your Retirement In Gear – Contribute your refund to your ROTH IRA which will let you withdraw your money tax-free when you retire.

Save Up For College – If you have your retirement savings in gear, use your refund to start a 529 account for college savings. You can use that money tax-free for college bills and you could get a state income tax deduction for your contribution.

Use Your Refund For A Vacation – Instead of using money you don’t have and going into debt on your vacation, use your refund to pay for your vacation you have planned for this year. If you aren’t planning to go on vacation, put it aside for Christmas presents in a few months!

Fix Up Your Home – Not that your refund will be enough to fix up your kitchen or bathrooms, it can pay for new paint or cabinets, new sinks, a remodeled closet and more. And what you put into your home, chances are you’ll get back when you sell!