Ask Finney: Student loan relief letter, life after foreclosure, furniture donation

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- 7 On Your Side's Consumer Expert Michael Finney answers your consumer questions.

Question 1:

Andrea wrote a Twitter: "Seems like a scam. Has anyone else with #StudentLoanDebt received one of these?" She is referring to a Student Loan Debt Relief letter.

Answer 1:

Good for you, there are a lot of cons and rip offs out there. Student loan relief is possible, but it comes with a lot of downsides.
Often you can't ever re-negotiate the debt, and other times you lose out on federal subsidies that come from working in public service. Ignore letters and ads, and do your own research. Here are links to the Department of Education and the Federal Trade Commission. These are your two best starting points.

Question 2:

Jay asked: If I lose my home to foreclosure, any hope I can own a home, again?

Answer 2:

Sure, but you are going to have to makes some moves the rest of us don't have to think about. First option is to wait a while: A home foreclosure stays on your credit report for seven years, it is much easier to get a loan once that time has elapsed. Another good option is to have a huge down payment. If you put down 40 to 50%, banks figure they cannot stiffed, so they will loan you the rest of the money. The third option is somewhere in between there. Wait a while and have 20% down. There will be a bank willing to make you a loan.

Question 3:

Nancy asked us on Facebook: Do you know of any Bay Area organizations that will accept donated furniture? The sofa bed is in good condition.

Answer 3:

The Salvation Army will, others may too. But here is the deal. The upholstery must be perfect. No rips or stains. Salvation Army and others, will have to see the piece before agreeing to take it. Here is a link to The Salvation Army.

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