Hi there, I'm not even positive how I ran across this site, but I'm glad I did. Lots of great ideas and positive support from one another. I'm looking for some advice; I see all sorts of conflicting information on how to eliminate and/or improve bad things on your credit report. Too much time on the interwebs!! Here's my story. Bought a home in 2006, was self employed in the real estate industry. Income went from 80K to almost nothing. A few p/t jobs & contract work and I 1099'd about 12K in 2008. Lost the home to foreclosure after attempting a failed short sale....yada yada yada Citi took the home in 2010. I got sued by Citi for my 2nd mortgage, even though Citi took the home because they held the first mortgage. I settled with them about a week ago for about 15% of the balance, which is better than 100%. Anyway, I'm back on my feet now with a good job that pays regularly (as opposed to the ups and downs of Real Estate sales). Now the battle back to the top begins. I'm not even sure if it's unrealistic to have "decent" credit with foreclosure on my record, but I want to rid my report of as many negatives as realistically possible. Those negatives you ask? Portfolio Recovery balance of 1700.00. (Old Orchard Bank/HSBC credit card). HSBC Bank. No balance but "bad debt/collection", but its the above referenced credit card that "Portfolio" has purchased (I guess?). So it appears I'm getting dinged 2x for this one account. Capital One balance of 2300.00 (credit card). I get mail all the time from "Northland Group" trying to collect this. Citi 2nd mortgage (or HELOC as they call it, even though it was given to me the day I got my home as "second"). $36,000. This is what I settled for last week. I am going to pay the settlement amount in full in March and be done with them. Citi FIRST mortgage is still showing up on my credit report. Will this ever turn into the foreclosure? Its status is "120+ past due" even though they've had the house now for 2 full years. The balance is zero, so maybe this is credit report speak for foreclosure. 2 Collection Accounts: $443 to AT&T "assigned to" Enhanced Recovery". $602 for a very old DirecTV account. I can't figure out who the collection agency is but it says "401YC18884". I realize I can't really do much on the foreclosure. The Citi 2nd is going to be paid in full (settlement amount) so hopefully that will help as it will turn from a bad debt of $36K to a paid (albeit settled) amount of $6K. My questions: HSBC: who do I deal with - Portfolio or HSBC? Should I try to settle? Cap One: I consistently get letters from "Northland Group" over this debt. Is that even legal as they don't show up on my CR, but CapOne does. Again, who do I deal with and should I try to settle? Both collection accounts - same thing. It appears these collection agencies have been "hired" to collect these amounts, per my myFICO report that just ran a couple of days ago. Track them down and try to negotiate? I do have access to capital to where I could pay off the above accounts. What I don't want to do is pay them and have them still be negatives on my report. Lastly, how exactly do I negotate with these professionals without getting swindled. I assume not phone, but rather via snail mail. Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to paint a clear picture for anyone so inclined to help a guy out with any advice, tips, things-not-to-do, etc. If you have questions, post them and I'll check back frequently.