Bankruptcy Articles

Detroit Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyer Walter Metzen

Utilizing my over 14 years of experience handling personal bankruptcy cases, I dedicate myself to my clients.

To learn more about me, bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen, please feel free to review my profile below, or contact my office today.

 Walter A. Metzen Board Certified Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist in Detroit Michigan

The Basics Of Filing Chapter 7
By Andrea Jordan-Hughes

What do you need to do to file Chapter 7? For most people, there will come a time when they just wish they could wipe out the pile of debt that they are under. They would love to just be able to go back and make the right decisions about how to use their money. As hard as it can seem, it is often increasing important to insure that you do make the right decisions. Yet, there comes a time when for some it is necessary to consider filing Chapter 7.

Understanding what that actually means and entails is something different, though. Most people know what bankruptcy is but don’t know the difference in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. They don’t know how to do it nor do they realize that it is harder than ever to have their debts discharged. Nevertheless, it is something you have to plan for. Here are some things that should be known.

Chapter 7: In this type of bankruptcy filing, your debts are discharged. All debts that are filed under this and are approved for discharge will be debts you are no longer responsible for. This type of bankruptcy filing is best for those that don’t have assets or have assets that are not valuable enough for the creditors to file against.

Chapter 13: This type of filing is much different. Here, your debts are adjusted. This provides a temporary halt to the foreclosures and collections that are happening to you, in order for you to spend the next three to five years trying to pay down the debt that you owe. It will allow you to restructure the debt into easier to manage terms. In addition, it will change the interest rate on your loans to make them more affordable.

Those that are considering either of these types of bankruptcies will need to talk with an educated attorney about the matter. For many, the process of determining if they qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 will be determined by the attorney who will administer a means test to determine this. The end result is that it is necessary for you to determine if filing Chapter 7 is the right choice for your financial future.

The end result is that it is necessary for you to determine if filing Chapter 7 is the right choice for your financial future. With new laws in place, it may or may not be something that you can do at all.

Best Credit Card After Bankruptcy - How to Find One
By R. Lawrence Anderson 

Finding the best credit card after bankruptcy is not that difficult, if you know where to look and what to look for.

Let’s start by talking about secured and unsecured credit cards. When it comes to applying for a credit card after bankruptcy one question that a lot of people seem to have is: Should I apply for a secured credit card or unsecured credit card?

In case you don’t know the difference, a secured credit card is “secured” by a special savings account you establish with the credit card issuer which acts as collateral for your credit limit.

For example, you deposit $500 in a special savings account and then have a $500 credit limit. If you default, the credit card issuer simply takes the money in your special savings account.

Unsecured credit cards are just that – unsecured. Meaning the person fills out a credit application and, based on their credit report, income, etc. are approved for a certain credit limit. Of course, they could also be declined depending on the credit card issuer’s guidelines.

So which is best? It depends on your credit history. However, if you apply for a secured credit card you have a higher chance of getting approved versus an unsecured credit card.

But be careful. Not all secured cards are created equal. And to make matters worse, there are tons of banks out there pushing secured credit cards!

So how do you find the best credit card after bankruptcy? Come up with a list of criteria that the secured card needs to meet in order for you to consider it. When I’m researching secured cards, I apply eight criteria. Not many meet these criteria so I’m able to narrow down the choices quickly.

What are the some of the eight criteria? For example, a low interest rate is important. While researching some secured credit cards I ran across one with an interest rate of 23.99% and another with an interest rate of only 9.25%.

This is just one of the criteria I use to find the best credit card after bankruptcy – and look at the potential savings! Over several years you could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest depending on the balance you maintain.

Okay, here’s another criteria: application fees. Again, I found some secured credit cards that have no application fees and one that had a… are you ready for this… $120 application fee! Sadly, people have paid it!

Let me give you one more criteria you can use to find the best credit card after bankruptcy: You want to make sure the secured card issuer reports to all three credit bureaus. But you also want to make sure they report it a certain way.

I don’t have room here for all eight criteria, but hopefully this gives you an idea of some of the things you need to look at when it comes to finding the best credit card after bankruptcy.

By the way, don’t apply for too many credit cards at once. If you do, it can hurt your credit score. That’s why if you’re uncertain as to whether or not you’d be approved for an unsecured credit card it may be better to apply for a secured credit card.

Now you know some steps you can take toward finding the best credit card after bankruptcy!

About the Author: R. Lawrence Anderson is author of After Bankruptcy Credit Solutions, which shows individuals how to qualify for credit and loans after bankruptcy. For details visit:

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Bankruptcy and Buying a Home
By Carrie Reeder

Filing bankruptcy is a stressful time in a person's life. Along with discharging your debts and gaining a fresh start, you may wonder if you will be able to buy a home after a bankruptcy. The answer is yes! Mortgage companies and online lenders are now offering home loans for those who have a bankruptcy on their credit report. Some lenders will even approve your loan as soon as one day after your bankruptcy has been discharged.

Buying a home after bankruptcy is no longer impossible. There are many reasons a person chooses to file bankruptcy. The loss of a job, unexpected medical bills, and overwhelming credit card debt are just a few of the factors that can lead to filing bankruptcy. The mortgage lending industry has created special loan packages and terms for those who have filed bankruptcy in the past. Lenders have little to lose in approving a home loan after bankruptcy. With your home serving as collateral for the loan, the lender can feel confident in approving you for a home loan, often soon after your bankruptcy has been discharged.

Filing bankruptcy and buying a home are no longer mutually exclusive terms. Both traditional and online lenders can give you a good interest rate and payments you can afford, even after filing bankruptcy. If you have filed Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy and are wondering if you can obtain a home loan, contact a lender today who specializes in approving mortgages after bankruptcy. Interest rates are currently lower that they have been in decades. Even after filing bankruptcy you can get your new home loan approved and receive a great interest rate. Online lenders and mortgage companies are competing for your business. Do not let a past bankruptcy prevent you from purchasing the new home of your dreams.

If you have filed bankruptcy in the past and would like to purchase a home, there are numerous programs and loan products that will suit your needs. Lenders will approve your loan quickly and give you excellent terms on your mortgage. Some lenders will require that a certain amount of time pass before approving a new home loan after a bankruptcy while other lenders can approve your loan in a little as one day after your bankruptcy has been discharged. Now is the perfect time to apply for a mortgage, even if you have filed for bankruptcy in the past.

To view our list of recommended mortgage lenders for buying a home after bankruptcy visit this page: Recommended After Bankruptcy Mortgage Lenders.

Carrie Reeder is the owner of ABC Loan Guide, an information website with articles and the latest news about various types of loans.

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The New Bankruptcy Law "Means Test" Explained in Plain English
By Charles Phelan

With the new bankruptcy law in effect since October 17, 2005, there is a lot of confusion with regard to the new "means test" requirement. The means test is used by the courts to determine eligibility for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The purpose of this article is to explain in plain language how the means test works, so that consumers can get a better idea of how they will be affected under the new rules.

When most people think of bankruptcy, they think in terms of Chapter 7, where unsecured debts are normally discharged in full. Bankruptcy of any variety is a difficult ordeal at best, but at least with Chapter 7, a debtor was able to wipe out their debts in full and get a fresh start. Chapter 13, however, is another story, since the debtor must pay back a significant portion of the debt over a 3-5 year period, with 5 years being the standard under the new law.

Prior to the advent of the "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005," the most common reason for someone to file under Chapter 13 was to avoid the loss of equity in their home or other property. And while equity protection will continue to be a big reason for people to choose Chapter 13 over Chapter 7, the new rules will force many people to file under Chapter 13 even if they have NO equity. That's because the means test will take into account the debtor's income level.

To apply the means test, courts look at the debtor's average income for the 6 months prior to filing and compare it to the median income for that state. For example, the median annual income for a single wage-earner in California is $42,012. If the income is below the median, then Chapter 7 remains open as an option. If the income exceeds the median, the remaining parts of the means test comes into play.

This is where it gets a little bit trickier. The next step in the calculation takes income, less living expenses (excluding payments on the debts included in the bankruptcy), and multiplies that figure times 60. This represents the amount of income available over a 5-year period for repayment of the debt obligations.

If the income available for debt repayment over that 5-year period is $10,000 or more, then Chapter 13 will be required. In other words, anyone earning above the state median, and with at least $166.67 per month of available income, will automatically be denied Chapter 7. So for example, if the court determines that you have $200 per month income above living expenses, $200 times 60 is $12,000. Since $12,000 is above $10,000, you're stuck with Chapter 13.

What happens if you are above the median income but do NOT have at least $166.67 per month to pay toward your debts? Then the final part of the means test is applied. If the available income is less than $100 per month, then Chapter 7 again becomes an option. If the available income is between $100 and $166.66, then it is measured against the debt as a percentage, with 25% being the benchmark.

In other words, let's say your income is above the median, your debt is $50,000, and you only have $125 of available monthly income. We take $125 times 60 months (5 years), which equals $7,500 total. Since $7,500 is less than 25% of your $50,000 debt, Chapter 7 is still a possible option for you. If your debt was only $25,000, then your $7,500 of available income would exceed 25% of your debt and you would be required to file under Chapter 13.

To sum up, first figure out whether you are above or below the median income for your state - median income figures are available at Be sure to account for your spouse's income if you are a two-income family. Next, deduct your average monthly living expenses from your monthly income and multiply by 60. If the result is above $10,000, you're stuck with Chapter 13. If the result is below $6,000, you may still be able to file Chapter 7. If the result is between $6,000 and $10,000, compare it to 25% of your debt. Above 25%, you're looking at Chapter 13 for sure.

Now, in these examples, I have ignored a very important aspect of the new bankruptcy law. As stated above, the amount of monthly income available toward debt repayment is determined by subtracting living expenses from income. However, the figures used by the court for living expenses are NOT your actual documented living expenses, but rather the schedules used by the IRS in the collection of taxes.

A big problem here for most consumers is that their household budgets will not reflect the harsh reality of the IRS approved numbers. So even if you think you are "safe," and are able to file Chapter 7 because you don't have $100 per month to spare, the court may rule otherwise and still force you into Chapter 13. Some of your actual expenses may be disallowed.

What remains to be seen is how the courts will handle cases where the cost of mortgages or home rentals are inflated well above the government schedules. Will debtors be expected to move into cheaper housing to meet the court's required schedule for living expenses? No one has any answers to these questions yet. It will be up to the courts to interpret the new law in practice as cases proceed through the system.

Charles J. Phelan has been helping consumers become debt-free without bankruptcy since 1997. A former senior executive with one of the nation's largest debt settlement firms, he is the author of the Debt Elimination Success Seminar™, a five-hour audio-CD course that teaches consumers how to choose between debt program options based on their financial situation. The course focuses on comprehensive instruction in do-it-yourself debt negotiation & settlement designed to save $1,000s. Personal coaching and follow-up support is included. Achieves the same results as professional firms for a tiny fraction of the cost. Visit for more information.

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Bankruptcy: What To Expect If You File For Bankruptcy
By Douglas Hanna

First, understand that filing bankruptcy should be a last resort if you have borrowed money and have absolutely no way or repaying it. Filing for bankruptcy will have a negative effect on your credit history for 10 years or longer and may also adversely impacts your quality of life.

If you do declare bankruptcy, here are some things to expect. First, you will need to be prepared to explain to a bankruptcy judge or trustee how you got yourself into such a financial pickle. You will be asked some very tough questions and need to be ready with good answers. It will not be an easy or fun task.

The only credit cards you will probably be allowed to keep are those that were completely paid off before you declared bankruptcy. You will most likely lose all others.

Once you file for bankruptcy, you will have trouble getting a mortgage, a loan, new credit cards, life insurance and even some jobs. This is because there are employers who are skittish about hiring people who have filed for bankruptcy as they feel it demonstrates a lack of restraint or self-discipline.

Some of your debts will not be discharged. This includes child support, student loans and back taxes. So if you think filing for bankruptcy will relieve you of that $12,000 you owe Uncle Sam, think again.

Keep in mind that a bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for at least 10 years. This means that if you’re 35, you’ll be 45 before you can apply for a credit card, a mortgage, a loan or a job without the potential lender or employer seeing that you were once bankrupt.

The good news

Despite what you may have been told, it is possible to get a loan after filing for bankruptcy. It is called a bankruptcy loan and its purpose is to help you get back on your feet and reestablish your finances.

A bankruptcy loan is usually available only after your creditors have been paid and your bankruptcy dismissed. If you filed a Chapter 13 (reorganization) bankruptcy, your creditors must be paid in full before you apply for a large loan. And if you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait at least two years after the bankruptcy to apply.

The best way is to prove to potential creditors that you are no longer a bad risk is by paying all your bills on time, and showing that you can now handle a credit card. Once you have a track record for paying your bills on time, and have successfully maintained a credit card, you can ask your creditors for reference letters to prove to potential lenders that you have become credit worthy.

You should also know that there are lenders out there who will offer you a loan while you are still in bankruptcy as a way of paying off your creditors. Don’t be lured into this. It usually just paves the way for further disaster as you are simply adding debt to debt. As a wise man once said, you just can’t borrow your way out of debt.

Going through bankruptcy can be a painful and embarrassing experience. Be sure you consider all possible alternatives before filing. You might find that bankruptcy is easy to get into but very, very difficult to get out of.

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Douglas Hanna has lived in the Denver area for nearly 35 years and is an expert on both Denver and Colorado. He is also the author of more than 120 articles on Denver and Internet marketing.

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Credit Card Debt: Repair After Bankruptcy
By James Duggan

Ah, credit card debt. You've asked yourself the question many times, "Will I ever get credit again?" The answer, although seemingly complex, is quite simple: Yes. You can have another chance at re-establishing your credit. Filing bankruptcy is the first intelligent step taken to wiping out accrued credit card debt. The next step you'll have to take is to repair your credit report. In order to do this, you'll need to develop great patience while you're re-establishing your credit, as these things do take time.

Two or three years after you've eliminated credit card debt by filing bankruptcy, you'll want to start rebuilding good credit. How, you ask? Apply for secured credit cards. Preferably cards without annual fees attached to them. Do your research on the internet to see what others have done in similar situations. If you come across an offer which looks to good to be true, it most likely is. Use discretion when giving out Social Security numbers and personal information online.

Start small. Don't expect anyone to hand you a $10,000 credit limit overnight. You've had a history of credit card debt, it's not going to happen. Make lenders trust you again. Make monthly payments in the full amount. Your payment transactions will determine how successful your new credit report will be. If you're late with payments you're heading in the wrong direction. You don't want to end up on the road to credit card debt or bankruptcy again, do you? Of course not.

The stronger your current financial condition is, the better candidate you may be for future credit. Convince lenders that you've left the past behind you. You've changed your ways. Show them how you've handled money since the bankruptcy. Prompt payments made in a full amount are very impressive to a credit lender. If you're denied a major credit card, don't get distraught. Try applying for a department store's line of credit or a card issued by an oil company. These are some small steps to a successful debt-free future.

It's also important to keep an eye on your credit report. Make sure that everything is accurate and appears is it is supposed to. Errors, which can go unacknowledged will only harm you in the future. Your local bank can give you a copy of your current credit report for a nominal fee. However, if you're a legal resident of the United States, you are eligible to receive free credit reports. Specifically, one credit report per year.

In 2005, the Federal Trade Commission announced that every United States citizen is eligible to receive one free credit report on an annual basis, regardless of where they live. This was wonderful news to Americans everywhere. To receive your free credit report, you must supply proof of your identity. Questions you may be asked will include: your name, address, social security number, and a personal question [for security purposes] that only you will know.

Nevertheless, be very careful. There's a wide number of companies who will promise free credit reports. But are they legitimate? Anyone can build a website and claim that they're a credit agency. Why risk giving out your personal information to a stranger? Identity theft has become increasingly popular. Don't fall prey to a fraudulent credit agency that you know absolutely nothing about. Do some background research on the company prior to using their services. If you can't find any information relating to their services they're probably not very trust-worthy.

Credit reports can be received online or through physical mail. Be certain that the company which is offering free credit reports is being employed by the FTC. Bear in mind, anyone can say they're affiliated with the FTC. Make sure that they're legitimate. Such a fiasco occurred recently on the internet. Thousands of people were taken advantage of when they filled out a form for a "free credit report." Don't give out your information to anyone but a trusted bank, a reputable mortgage broker, or an agency employed through the Federal Trade Commission.

To learn more about "fixing" your debt visit:

All Rights Reserved - This article can be freely reprinted only if resource box and links are kept intact.

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Life After Bankruptcy: 7 Tips To Get Your Life On Track After Bankruptcy
By Justin Koh

A life in bankruptcy is not an unbearable phase if you look at it from a positive angle. If you found it unbearable, I'm sure you won't want to go through it again. While the court 'reorganizes' you by selling your personal assets to pay off your debts, so too you must reorganize your thoughts and look forward to live a life of prudence.

Here are 7 tips you can apply to get your life back on track as soon as possible so that you can find a way to return to a lifestyle of less financial worries and gradually break free from the shackles of an unpleasant past.

1) Seek sincere help. In modern societies where urbanites get too busy in their own lives, it is not surprising to have people whom you know suddenly turn their backs on you when you seek their assistance. It's like they are thinking, "I can't believe it. I've never been a bankrupt so why are you so deep in the dumps?" Forget about these people. Your immediate family will be the first to know your situation and only they can give you continued love and support. Make a checklist of names and how they can help you as much as what you can do for them, as well as (very) close friends whom you know can depend on.

2) Be responsible. And I mean REALLY responsible. Once bitten twice shy; don't get mired in debt again. You can blame on exorbitant increase in the cost of living, that business partner who sued you or the failing stock market but they are not going to say sorry anytime. It's time to take a critical look at your spending habits and evaluate them, understanding where you have wasted and invested your money. Do a monthly plan-and-review for your savings and expenditure. A very good hint of wastage is putting your money in places you don't know much of. Learn how to disengage from risks which you can't afford to get involved.

3) Get paid work immediately. Get your life productive again. There is no more greater blessing than learning to appreciate your ability to earn your keeps. Within your checklist, you should have a couple of people whom you can approach in this area. Leverage on your experience and expertise to make an offer of what you can contribute to their benefit.

4) Join a credit union. Such helpful organizations can offer loans which normal institutions like banks will not do otherwise, but make sure there's confidence on both sides that you can repay the loan.

5) Far too many people never had a concrete financial/retirement plan even though they know it's important. Engage a financial advisor to be your personal counsel. Set aside cash reserves for rainy days or emergencies. Find adequate insurance to protect your remaining assets and family. Avoid high-risk ventures or 'investments'.

6) Keep track of all debts due and paid to your creditors. Make sure your credit report is updated for the record.

7) Sharpen your financial literacy. Robert Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" is a strong advocate for personal fiancial education. You can always pick up financial literature along the way and think about how you may change the way you look at your wealth. You never know how truly rich people think differently about their money from the rest of us.

As the saying goes, "Time heal all wounds." It will take years to be a 'normal' person again, but once you know you have attained the discipline to practice good habits, there's no reason how you can fall back to the old self. As you become wiser, you can better inform others about the unhealthy influences of commercialism and consumerism.

Justin Koh is a freelance writer whose articles have appear in most major ezines. You can find more of these at:

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

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Your Credit Report After Bankruptcy-What To Look For
By Karla Fiscus

Do you KNOW what is on your credit report? Even if you have just filed bankruptcy it is EXTREMELY important that you KNOW how it is reported on your credit report. It is NOT the credit reporting agencies responsibility to make sure that your credit report is accurate. It is YOURS, and only you can make sure that it is.

After receiving your bankruptcy discharge papers the first thing you will want to do is get a copy of your credit report and make sure that the information reported on it is correct. Did you know that over 90% of the time it is incorrect?

You wll want to make sure that your report is showing the date the bankruptcy was filed and when it was discharged. Make sure that ALL creditors that you included in the bankruptcy are showing that they were and that your balance is $0 and nothing else. Profit & Loss or Charge Offs will lower your credit score. Make sure they report as "included in bankruptcy" with a $0.00 balance.

If a creditor shows any balance other than $0.00 and it was included in the bankruptcy it will lower your credit score. It will by your responsibility to contact the creditor and have them update your credit report to show the correct information. Be prepared, you may need to contact them several times before they get it right. But don't stop until it is.

Did you also know your credit score will go up after a bankruptcy? Why? Because all past due, profit & loss and charge offs will now show a balance of $0 instead of a balance past due.

Did you know that if your credit score is over 500 you can purchase a home and get 100% financing? That's right!! However, you need to realize that you will be paying a premium price in the closing costs and interest rate. If you do some credit repair and wait until the bankruptcy is two years old you can qualify for a Fannie Mae low interest rate loan.

Remember, you are responsible for your own credit report. No one else is going to care about it as much as you. Start working on it now, it's never to late.

Learn how to go from bankruptcy to living a life of financial freedom. At you will discover step by step how to change your life and finally live debt free and financially free.

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What You Have To Expect After Filing For Bankruptcy
By Kate Ross 

Though the ability to get finance doesn’t disappear completely after a bankruptcy process, there are a lot of restrictions that applicants have to suffer in order to get finance. There is a period of time they need to wait before applying, there are certain loans that they cannot reasonably expect to obtain and the same goes to certain financial products that will be out of their reach for a long period of time.

Getting Finance After Bankruptcy is Feasible? Truth is that getting finance after bankruptcy is extremely complicated but not impossible. You can’t apply right away after your bankruptcy has been discharged; you need to wait a reasonable period of time that can range from 2 to 10 years depending on the type of loan you are looking for. There are some loans though, that do not require such long waiting periods.

You also need to start improving your credit score and history. One thing that may not happen is that you continue to have delinquencies recorded into your credit report. After your bankruptcy has been discharged, your credit history must be impeccable. You need to show to lenders that you’ve learned the lesson.

Thus, you need to pay all your bills on time and avoid late or missed payments. Otherwise your credit will get ruined beyond recovery. You need to understand that defaulting on a loan or any financial product after bankruptcy is unacceptable and recovering from such situation would take you many, many years.

What Kind Of Loans Should You Apply To At the beginning, you need to be moderate with your expectations. You can’t pretend to get an unsecured loan with a high loan amount right away. If you need high amounts, you will only be able to get approved for a secured loan under the right circumstances. But when you have just gone through a bankruptcy process, getting approved for an unsecured loan for a high amount is not feasible.

The smart thing to do is to apply for a secured credit card and start repaying your balances on time. This will contribute greatly to improve your credit score and history till you are able to get approved for an unsecured credit card. With the new credit card you need to do the same and focus on not paying late or miss payments. The continuous timely payments will raise your credit score and improve your credit history.

Last, you can request small unsecured loans or get an account with an overdraft agreement. Repaying these loans will also improve your credit history and as time goes by, you’ll be able to request and get approved for loans with higher amounts and more complex financial products.

Kate Ross is a professional consultant at Speedybadcreditloans with fifteen years in the financial field.

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We are a Debt Relief Agency helping people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Let us help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

Bankruptcy attorney Walter Metzen represents clients throughout Southeast Michigan, including the communities of Detroit, Southfield, Warren, Roseville, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Belleville, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Holland, Howell, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Northville, Plymouth, Port Huron, Redford, Rochester, Saginaw, Southfield, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Trenton, Troy, Westland, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Mount Clemens, Howell, Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Livingston County, and all of the surrounding areas.
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