What most people think of credit repair is simply writing a bunch of letters and sending them to credit bureaus. They get overwhelmed with letters, and since they can’t keep up with the law, they delete them. Scott Carson’s guest today is credit repair, investor, and funding expert, Rondi Lambeth. In this episode, Rondi gives you a heads-up about the falsehoods of credit repair you should know. He also gives you a run-down of how they repair your credit. Oh, and did you know he offers his clients FREE credit repair? Listen to this episode for better credit standing. Dive in!
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What You Didn’t Know About Credit Repair With America’s Credit Expert, Rondi Lambeth
I’m excited to be here and jacked up for a special guest joining us on here. You might know him as a Credit Repair Expert. He’s been in the industry for many years, helped thousands of people out there get their credit repaired, get ready to get financing to buy the first home and other things. This guy is also a very avid investor with 1,400 apartments but also doing fix and flip. He’s going to buy some condos down. You may have seen this guy all across the major channels. He is the Founder of Fortress Credit Pro. It’s America’s first 100% paid on performance credit repair company out there. We are honored to have the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Rondi Lambeth joining us now on the show. What’s going on, Rondi? How are you doing?
It’s good to be alive. Isn’t it?
It is. What a crazy world we live in though.
It is insane. Every time that it can’t get crazier, I’m shocked at the new craziness.
With all the COVID and 2020 craziness, people losing their jobs, getting laid off, businesses shutting down, I bet you have started to see a big increase in people wanting to clean off things their credit or trying to find ways to save their credit in a lot of ways. Is that the truth or am I wrong?
I’m not going to say that you are wrong. It’s interesting where 2020 was one of the greatest years that we have had in many years. It wasn’t because people needed us more. It was because people were home and they didn’t have anything going on. The other part of that, we haven’t seen that big influx yet because up until July 2021, the credit bureaus weren’t even legally allowed to report negative information. It gave everybody a free pass. On top of that, we’ve got 33 million homeowners that are not paying their mortgage and the banks are not reporting them late. It’s like everything is on. We haven’t seen that huge wave yet but it’s coming. We are still cleaning people’s messed up from the 2008 and 2009 crashes. Years later, we were still cleaning it up because they didn’t get started soon enough or their problem continued past 2009. We are preparing for it but it’s not quite there yet.
If you had a foreclosure or short sale, it was like a badge of honor for a lot of those people out there for the most part. Let’s talk about that a little bit because we are in the debt game here. We are dealing not only with borrowers that are non-performing or non-paying on their loans that we are buying from banks or institutions. One of the things that we are always trying to do is leave our borrowers in a better spot. If somebody is a homeowner and they’ve got a mortgage, what’s the best thing or the worst thing that they could be doing that affects their credit?
Outside of homeowners, that’s a difficult question to answer the way you asked it. Not that you asked it bad but I want to include everybody. It’s not homeowners.
There are two dancers then, homeowner and not a homeowner.
The absolute worst thing you can do on your credit outside of not paying your bills because that’s an obvious thing. Not paying your bills is going to hurt your score but worse than that would be overutilizing or not using your credit the proper way specifically credit cards. What’s the absolute worst thing you could do for your credit? That is maxing out credit cards, paying interest for interest’s sake and then second would be not paying your bills. Did that answer your question?
It answered the question of what people can be doing because a lot of people when they don’t have an income, they are going to the credit cards or what they have.
The worst thing for a homeowner though, the second part of that is not paying the mortgage. That is the worst thing you can do for your credit because that tells FICO that you are in major financial problems or potentially major financial situations. If you miss a credit card payment, it’s not that big of a deal. If you miss a car payment, a little bit bigger deal. If you miss a mortgage, something is going on in your finances. That will have a pretty substantial impact on your score.
That’s something that will last and follow you a little bit longer than normal, increase in credit or increase the percentage of credit score, usually it will track you for what 24 months is still what they look at in a lot in all of the cases?
Negative payment history will show up for seven years. Generally, what happens is 90% of all late payments happen within the first two years of an account. During the first two years of the account being open, if you are late, it is pretty detrimental to your credit score because you are already at a high likelihood of missing that payment. As far as, whether a mortgage late will stay on your credit longer than a credit card late? No. Will it impact your credit score longer? Most likely but it’s still a late payment. It will drop off after 7 years or within 30 to 45 days under my company to go and clean it up. You pick 7 years or 1.5-month.
Do you want to share some of that secret sauce, that money or wealth strategies you are doing to help people out with that stuff?
It’s simple. There are hundreds of laws out there to protect us from banks, collection companies, credit bureaus and other entities. The reason why is back in the ‘40s and ‘50s, there was a lot of discrimination going on by banks. Congress was getting a lot of complaints. It was the Republican Party that started the Fair Credit Report Act to stop discrimination, primarily against the African American communities. They created the Fair Credit Report Act and one of the worst culprits of this discrimination was the company before be known as Equifax. It was so bad. They changed their name to Equifax to where everyone is equal and it’s the facts, otherwise known as Equifax. They started cleaning up their Act. They created these laws to protect us and then they have changed them.
The Fair Credit Report Act changes constantly. The last time it was changed was in March of 2020 when President Trump said no reporting of late payments until July. It’s constantly changing. With that, it dictates what the furnishers must do when reporting information if they choose to report and what the credit reporting agencies must do if they are going to report the furnishers data, and then what they must do if the consumer disputes it? What most people do and think of credit repair is simply writing a bunch of letters, send them to the credit bureaus, they get overwhelmed with letters and can’t keep up with the law, and so they delete it. From 1972 to 2000, this was probably a pretty good strategy, maybe even 2005. Since then, this strategy doesn’t work very well.
It goes to show that all of the credit repair companies out there in America except for mine are monthly pay-to-try to fix your credit. The big boys, my good friend Merrill. He was one of the founders of the largest credit repair company in the world. This company is doing about $750 million a year in business fixing people’s credit. They are the best at getting paid to try. What I mean by that is you pay them $100 a month for an average of 22 months for them to try to fix it because if they don’t fix anything, you still pay them. It’s like paying the plumber a monthly fee to try to fix the toilet, regardless of results.
What we have done is, have gone in and figured out what Fair Credit Report Act states. We understand how the banks work, the furnishers. I’ve got trained by FICO to understand the FICO algorithm. Instead of sending out these letters like the old system, bombard them with letters, we write it in a way that they have to respond. In the early 2000s, the credit bureaus to catch up with the 42,000 envelopes they get a day from credit repair companies. They implemented software and automation.
When your mail is delivered, this comes in on a conveyor belt, and then it goes in and a machine opens it and then scans it through an OCR machine, Optical Character Recognition. The software reads the letter and assigns within nanoseconds, a three-digit code to each dispute. It sends it instantly off to the Philippines or to Brazil where the people that don’t speak English have no access to email, phone, internet, they have access to their program are required to do a reasonable investigation as according to the Fair Credit Report Act. However, they are only given a few seconds to do that investigation, which is generally click a box and mark valid.
Ninety percent of all disputes are coded 001, which means the consumer states, “Not my account.” Here you are. You are a victim of identity theft. You find out this guy has gone out and Joe Carson from Los Angeles, California went and got a car in your name. Now, you get denied a mortgage because you’ve got all these late payments and repo on there. You send a letter saying, “I’m a victim of identity theft. This is not mine.” It is instantly coded 001, sent to Brazil, the Experian employee clicks verified and it’s done. No longer do these letter campaigns work.
What we do is we look at the credit report and we look for errors in the way it’s being reported, such as inaccurate account number, open mismatching dates, inaccurate credit limits, different payment amounts on the different bureaus because we do a tri-merge, which is three credit reports into one comparison. We use the credit bureaus against each other. Experian reports one balance. Equifax reports another. We send letters to each one of them saying, which one is right. They can’t be both rights. One has got to be wrong or maybe both of them are wrong. By asking certain questions, we will force them into doing an investigation or at least reply to the question. If they don’t reply properly, we have a team of attorneys that then files lawsuits against the credit bureaus and furnishers for failing to follow the Fair Credit Report Act. That’s how the credit repair space works.
It makes sense that everything would be automated these days. Outsourcing to somebody overseas that is clicking buttons, that’s a sad thing. I can understand trying to streamline operations but when you streamline it and you pave over our rights, that’s a bad day. You mentioned also, beforehand about getting judgments and tax liens removed, that’s always an interesting story. Are you doing something similar to that? Is it suing or reaching out to see if what’s accurate and inaccurate?
Before 2017, the only time that we could say we were 100% effective on getting items deleted was tax liens. Some of the biggest celebrities in the world have hired us to clean up their tax liens and if I told you their names, you would be like, “I have seen their movies. I have seen them on stage. I have read their books.” Tax liens were a big problem the problem was the credit bureaus would not verify the information at all. They would throw it on people’s credit reports. In 2016, all 50 state attorney generals sued the credit bureaus. In 2017, they settled and they agreed for two years, they would not report public records or tax liens on credit reports. It was going to come back in 2020 but due to COVID, they decided not to report that information, the tax liens and judgments. It’s coming back.
It is there. It’s not on your personal credit report, which nobody has a credit report. There’s no such thing as a credit report. That’s what we call it. It’s a consumer disclosure form that we received from the credit bureaus. Judgments and tax liens do not report any longer on your credit report that you would get from Equifax, TransUnion or Experian but it does show up on your LexisNexis report. We can clean that up as well. We can also clean up your credit report that keeps track of your banking history within that check system and it’s the same process.
You look at it the same thing with bankruptcies. I will give you an example, which is pretty easy to understand. When you file bankruptcy, there are always three initials on your file number. The last time I filed for bankruptcy, the judge’s initials were SBB. I don’t know what the middle B was but the first S was Sidney Brooks maybe it was Bob, Sidney Bob Brooks. When you look at a bankruptcy file number when you see those three letters, that’s the trustee or judge’s initials then the number is the year plus how many bankruptcies have been filed so far that year. Towards the end of the year, you are going to see a lot bigger number plus the SBB or whatever the judge’s initials were. What I found is Experian almost always reports the file number correctly. Out of 1,000 credit reports and my company pulls about 5,000 credit reports a month, I have never seen an accurate bankruptcy file number on Equifax or TransUnion and the losses they have too, so that’s one of the strategies.
It is pretty easy to get a tax lien removed from a credit report, it’s a one-page IRS form. There is a New York Times bestselling author that hired me. He has written over thirteen New York Times bestselling books. He hired me because the State of California illegally put a tax lien on his credit. He couldn’t refinance his California beach house. He was listening to my radio show. I did a radio show in San Diego and like you, I was syndicated on 40 different stations. He heard me one day on the radio station, called me up and we had it removed within a couple of weeks. It’s because there’s an actual IRS form, if you fill it out, sign and date it and send it in, the IRS forces the credit bureaus to remove those tax liens. It’s something to know in the future but right now tax liens aren’t reported but bankruptcies are.
You mentioned a little bit that you had a show. You are also the host of a very popular show.
I am the host of School of Wealth, which I started that a couple of years ago after doing over 2,000 episodes on Your Credit Matters radio show. That was a show that was syndicated on over 40 stations Coast-to-Coast and that was all about credit. Now School of Wealth has credit taxes, real estate, investing, entrepreneurship. It’s not just credit. There are some credit in there though.
That’s why I like having you on, as a real estate investor, we are always looking for new things to add, save us on taxes or help us, give us the edge on what’s going on with the market being where it’s at, I know that you are an apartment investor but also where are you thinking your focus is? Where are seeing some opportunities for those looking to build wealth out there in 2021 and beyond?
That’s a hard question for me. We are going to buy another $45 million to $50 millions of apartment complexes in 2021. As far as single-family, I rent personally. I want to buy a house but there’s something in me that says, “Don’t do it.” The $33 million homes are 90 days past due. Thirty-eight percent of Southern California was 90 days past due in March 2020 before COVID. That scares me. I will tell you what I’m doing. I don’t know what anybody else should do. What I’m doing is I’m still buying multifamily that are poorly managed and we can put a new management team in there, clean it up a little bit, put some new LED lights in, put some fertilizer down in the grass, make the grass green, and then step away and put it back on autopilot.
As far as personal, what I’m doing is I’m stacking or racking cash and I’m waiting for the blood bath to happen. It’s going to happen. I thought it would happen by now but Biden is kicking the can down the road. He has extended the foreclosure moratorium. At least in Nevada, you cannot foreclose until October 31, 2021. I’m not in Nevada. It’s just I’m aware of the Nevada Law and I don’t know if this is nationwide or not. I thought it was March 31, 2021, is what it extended to. I was talking to a realtor because my daughter wants to buy a house in Vegas. He’s saying, “We can’t foreclose until October 31, 2021,” which means it will be February 2022 because of wintertime. They have special rules in the winter on foreclosure. Winter in Vegas, it’s like June 2022 before we will see any foreclosures. Maybe we’ve got to wait another year but my guess is, it’s stack and rack the cash because it’s common.
I was hanging out with Merrill and we had a real estate title company come in and they were showing us all of these 90-day defaults. The majority of them are duplexes, fourplexes, 6 and 8. Eightplexes and lower. Maybe that’s a great opportunity. In the summertime of 2022, if you can wait that long to stack and rack that cash, and then be ready, get your credit, financing, business credit right, business-funded, lines of credit and your credit cards, get it all lined up so when the blood is running down the street, you can go in and start picking up these properties.
I would agree with what you are saying with this on the debt side of things. We are already starting to see some portfolios coming to us that the banks are selling the loans off. They know that they are going to have to wait 6, 12 months or if not longer to end up foreclosing. They are starting to sell some stuff off. I’m in Austin, Texas. Austin is getting to be very similar to San Diego and Southern California with prices being ridiculous. There are going to be plenty of that distressing stuff that we can step in in the future and buy something at a much cheaper price than what it’s going for versus overpaying now, and then taking a blood bath as values drop around us. It’s very wise.
I live in Boise and it was a crazy market, with 20% to 25% return for the last several years. The house that I live in, I have been here two years. A guy bought it. My friend, Ron Phillips, worked with the guy. I ended up moving around and paint. Ron did me a favor and called a guy, an investor in Boise and I’ve got this. I’m paying like $2,300 a month, 3,000-square feet. Guy paid $375,000, two years, no exaggeration. We could sell it nowadays for $600,000. There’s no reason for it. It is insane. We will just see what happens. Nothing is going to surprise me. If they say, “We are going to forgive all these mortgages and your student loans. Here’s your welfare check.”
We refinanced our house here in Austin in February 2020, right before COVID. It came in at a $340,000 valuation. Two streets over where I could see the house, same four plan, features and stuff like that on the market, we talked to the realtor and he says, “$500,000.” I’m like, “How can it go that crazy?” We’ve got listed at $400,000 but we are expecting multiple offers in the $450,000 to $500,000 range because of demand being so high here and it has been a hot market. Boise is the smaller version of Austin on the tech side but crazy with overpriced. Stuff going over listing price or appreciation, overappraisal. It’s totally nuts.
I was working with a couple of realtors. I have had my real estate license now since 2005 and I have done hundreds and hundreds of transactions when I owned my real estate company. I have not signed with a buyer’s agent per se. I’m using multiple buyers. When you find me a deal, then we will work out something. What I’m finding is and I’m asking these agents like, “Can we negotiate?” They were like, “No. If you are going to submit an offer, submit an offer at 10% over and you are lucky if you get it.” No negotiation, nothing, it’s as is, just buy it sight unseen. I even went to a house and it’s $2.3 million and the lady goes, “Will you be wiring the cash?” I said, “No, I’m not wiring the cash.” She goes, “Everybody has been looking at his house and is wiring cash.” It’s insane.
Why don’t we close for 30 days? I dig sitting around stacking cash so that you are ready to close on stuff. You are right. Those smaller duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes up to eightplexes are usually your mom-and-pop investors who don’t have a lot of reserves and they can’t afford for somebody not to pay them for twelve months on either side of that. I will be able to allow 1 out of 4 to be able to do that to break-even but in a lot of cases, they are hurting. Out-of-state investors, there are people across the country that bought the property now. I agree. It’s a smart play.
I feel bad for these owners but if I don’t buy it, someone else is going to buy it. I’m not the one that put them in the situation. I’m not the one that caused it and I’m going to do my best to help people after the fact. That’s how I’ve got started in the credit repair business. It was my little brother. I was a firefighter at the time. He was a firefighter and he ended up killing himself over some credit issues. It was a little tiny bit of money, some credit cards and some medical debt. It’s complete crap. I started doing it as a way to help people, then I started a real estate company in 2005. I thought I was the shit because I was selling houses so quickly.
In 2007, I saw it so I started doing buy this house with no credit. From 2008 through 2012, it was, “List your house with me,” and the foreclosure will never show up. That’s when I learned how to delete foreclosures and short sales within hours of them showing up or forced the banks to not report the short seller, the foreclosure. That’s when I switched from doing this for free to making money as I was getting so good at deleting these foreclosures and short sales that I was like, “Let’s run with it.” I know I will do the same thing when the shit hits the fan with COVID and finally breaks in 2022. We are going to run some programs. We are already building out our systems and getting ready for it, that we are going to offer a bunch of free credit repair for people that got hammered. My attorneys are working on the contract to allow us to do the credit repair for free. It’s common.
You are a credit repair company that’s solely based financially on success. What’s that cost? Are you basing it off of score increases or line increases? How does that work?
We are 100% based on performance. The way that works is it’s a $325 enrollment fee. The first thing is we’ve got to look at your credit and pull it. I own my own credit monitoring company so I can pull your credit without your social within a few seconds. It’s $25 for a three-bureau report and then we looked at the credit report. If you decide to hire us, it’s $325 for the start-up enrollment fee that we finance. The reason we finance it is we found the average person that hires us. It is hiring us because they want to increase their credit score and remove items. One of the reasons they have poor credit is they don’t have positive trade lines.
It’s because I have been in the industry so long and I’m trusted by banks and credit bureaus, I can report, which no other credit repair company can do. I can report your payments to me to all three credit reporting agencies. We will finance that $325 audit fee to get a positive tradeline, no interest on it and then from there, we send out our letters. Usually, within two weeks, we will have our first round of deletions and those are generally inquiries. Your Wells Fargo is your bank, your car dealership that pulled your credit twenty times. We charge a flat fee of $25 per inquiry after it is deleted. You pay the $25 for the credit report, $325, which is finance, $30 is your down payment. From there, we send out letters. If we delete a bunch of inquiries, we will invoice you and you can either make payments on the line of credit that we issued you or you can pay it in full, whatever you choose.
About 30 days after you have hired us, we will refresh your credit again and we will bill you $125 per account that we successfully got deleted. If we don’t delete anything, there’s no monthly fee. There’s no retainer fee, no management fee, no practice fee, no peak fee for trying. No monthly fee unless we get something deleted. It’s pretty simple. The way I come up with this is I used to sell real estate. How much did I get paid to list a property? Nothing. I’ve only got paid if I sold the property. I looked at the industry. All of these other credit repair companies get paid to try. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and I’m going to bill you if I get it deleted. If I don’t get it deleted, it’s my bad. I’m the one paying all the money out of my pocket. What that does is it forces you to be better than everybody else because otherwise, you are going to be out of business. That’s our model. $125 per account. If you can afford to pay it, great. If not, it’s like $100 a month until your account is paid off.
Guys and girls reading out there, that’s phenomenal for you. For those of you that need some help but maybe also for those of you that are dealing with borrowers out there that may be trying to get refinance at your loan or some other things like that, it might be something to talk about doing with your clients there to help them go get approved to get financed out or get a bank loan or some other thing like that too, for you.
Do you know Angelo Christian?
The name sounds familiar.
He is in the Dallas area. He is a banker. He owns his own mortgage bank. The reason I bring up his name is he uses us exclusively and he sends us, I don’t even know how many people a month but sold a lot of the mortgage companies. Ninety percent of the people that are sent to us by a mortgage broker, real estate agent or an owner doing maybe a lease to own or something will qualify for a mortgage in less than six months, 50% in less than three months. We are paid on performance. We don’t have to drag out the credit repair for 2 to 3 years to get our monthly fee. We fix it upfront, let you pay for it later. A lot of our clients will finance it with their mortgage. We finance it but then they pay us off at escrow.
That’s such a freaking phenomenal service there Rondi. I’m excited. There are people out that didn’t know about this. That’s a beautiful thing.
If you are excited about that, you are going to love our new Fortress University courses that come out. It’s going to come out April 1, 2021 Everything about finance is credit, taxes and investing that you wish they would have taught you in college or your parents would have taught you. They never did. We are teaching that. All of the courses come with free credit repair. If you come in, you want to buy a course on how to pay off a 30-year mortgage in 7 to 10 years without changing your lifestyle, you buy that course, you get free credit repair with it. You are a business owner. You want to learn how to get business funding, credit cards, lines of credit, you buy that course, you get free credit repair with it if needed. If you don’t, then it’s there for someone else in your family.
How do people get ahold of that? How do people get signed up for that, Rondi?
They can go to my website, RondiLambeth.com. The courses are right there under products. I’m pretty easy to find online.
You have a unique name and I like it. It’s an individual name. That’s beautiful.
There are four Rondis in the United States. I have met two and I’m 1 of the 4. There other three are women. One was a Rondi that I met when I was single and we went on a date. That didn’t work out well. It was weird but it was fun. She works for a title company. The other Rondi that I met is a real estate agent in Oregon that I have been trying to buy Rondi.com from her for years. I’m just waiting until she’s retired. The third one I have never met. There are four of us total in the United States. I’m the only one with a credit line. I will send you from fake profiles out there.
Rondi, this has been a blast. We are going to have you back on the show. Everybody, take advantage of what Rondi was talking about. You will learn. Knowledge is king and if you know how to invest or what to do to get those lines of credit, to stack that cash, get approved, remove things, you are going to be playing with a lot more bullets in your gun than a lot of others out there. You want to have as many bullets as much cash as you can over the next 6, 12, 18 and 24 months to make the most out of it. Do yourself a favor and go to RondiLambeth.com. Check it out. Get signed up for that. If not, then sign up for their services to start making some big changes and big improvements in your credit to get you more financeable. Go out and take an extra break and we will see you all at the top. The best way for people to get ahold of you is through the website or you’ve got another way?
If you are on social media, it’s, @RondiLambeth everywhere.
Thanks so much. I will look forward to having you on in the future.
About Rondi Lambeth
Rondi Lambeth is an award-winning TV & Radio Show Host, a best-selling author and has been seen & heard on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox & NBC.
He has spoken in front of tens of thousands of people on stages all across the world including Harvard. Over a decade ago Rondi founded Fortress Credit Pro, America’s first 100% paid on performance credit repair company. Fortress has removed millions of late payments, collections, charge-offs, repo’s, short sales, foreclosures, tax liens, judgments, and bankruptcies from credit reports.
He has helped tens of thousands of nonqualifying applicants become mortgage-ready in as little as 90 days. Rondi is currently the host of The School of Wealth.
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