Alternative Vocabulary for ‘Home Foreclosure’

‘Home Foreclosure’ seems like such an awkward term, leaving homeowners to seek a handy euphemism.  ‘Bankruptcy’ on the other hand is so often incorrectly applied, resulting in loss of credit that might be otherwise saved with the use of an alternative vocabulary, such as the one below: FORBEARANCE – Pay a portion of your regular payment or no payment at all for a specific period of time, at the end of which you begin making regular payments and also pay an additional amount to pay off the past due amount.  This could be the best resolution in a situation of temporary financial hardship, such as job loss. REFINANCING – With enough equity in the home and a good credit score, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate for the loan, reducing the monthly payments. REPAYMENT PLAN –   This is also applied in a situation of temporary financial hardship whereby you work out a plan with the loan servicer to send in extra money for a few months, or the arrears are tacked onto the end of the loan, but the loan’s terms remain the same so the borrower must be able to afford the base monthly payments. RATE […] Read More

Opening a Foreclosure Defense

You do not need a parachute to skydive.  You only need a parachute to skydive twice.  A foreclosure defense is like a parachute—not that you want to go through foreclosure more than once—but often it can slow your terminal velocity so you have more time to work out an alternative landing site. So you have been travelling a while with lending executives, planning to land on a short sale strip.  You are negotiating at a comfortable cruising altitude, finding a price the buyer is willing to pay and the loan servicer is willing to accept, when suddenly someone from the legal department steps from the lavatory and throws you off the plane.  If you do not have a parachute, you may want to open a foreclosure defense; perhaps the paperwork can slow your fiscal descent. Time is a side effect of Foreclosure Defense—not for the sake of remaining in the house payment-free as long as possible, but time to pursue a plan to bring you the best benefit for your circumstances, for instance, time for that short sale to go through before you land flat on foreclosure. Your lender’s legal department and their financial department are two separate entities when […] Read More

Gift of Time

“There’s no present like the time.”  Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel A Foreclosure Defense may be a piece of that “present” and a Motion for Enlargement of Time may be the bow on top. If you have received a Foreclosure Summons, you only have 20 days to answer…you may need more time to get your act together, to meet with an attorney, to review your legal options, to let your short sale go through or your trial modification to become a permanent modification.  Motion for Enlargement of Time is a common filing in Foreclosure Defense, and gives you that opportunity to regroup and address this as a legal matter and not just a financial debacle.   You only have 20 days to answer a Foreclosure Summons and it needs to be answered properly.  If you are just meeting with legal counsel at that point, your attorney may file a Motion for Enlargement of Time, not to delay the inevitable, but for the chance to review your case and design a strategy toward your best benefit.   Read More

Paint Your Own Best Picture in Foreclosure

Henri Matisse started as a lawyer.  That did not work out, and he became a famous painter instead.  Things do not always turn out as you expect, even when you receive a legal notice of home foreclosure. Just because you are overwhelmed with mortgage debt does not mean you are helpless as a still-life.  Depending on your situation, there may be things you can do, either to stay in your home with modified payments (as with a mortgage modification) or move to a more affordable place (as with a short sale). You may need to get a third party professional involved, such as a HUD-Certified Credit Counselor or even an attorney.  The process and the paperwork can be a difficult subject, and you may need a HUD-Certified Credit Counselor to help you capture the information needed in all its relevant glory.  Or you may need an attorney to do it justice. If you receive a legal notice of home foreclosure, do NOT ignore it.  Even if you have a work-out plan sketched with the loan servicer, even if you have a short sale closing scheduled—neither of these will stop a foreclosure from proceeding.  Seek competent legal counsel right away because […] Read More

Foreclosure on My Mind…In Georgia

Georgia is a non-judicial foreclosure state, which means home foreclosure is on the fast track in the Peach State—the lender can give notice, publish, and foreclose within 60 days with only the clerk and an attorney, no judge present. It has to do with how property is owned.  In Georgia, if you use a loan to buy a house, the bank owns that house until you pay off the loan; whereas, in Florida, you are the homeowner even if you borrowed money to buy the house, and even if you are unable to make the payments and the house goes into foreclosure…you still own it.  You own your home up until the Certificate of Title is issued (usually about ten days after the foreclosure sale). The up side of non-judicial foreclosure is that it speeds up the process.  It reduces the judges’ workload, and for the homeowner who does not really care, it ends the foreclosure quickly.  The problem is that there are people who do care, but who do not know any better. What Florida lacks in kudzu it makes up for in opportunity to defend a home foreclosure.   The Florida foreclosure process gives homeowners greater opportunity to review […] Read More

Sharks Happen…Even in Mortgage Modification

A man swims 24 miles of a 28-mile journey when a shark appeared and the man had to give up his attempt to be the first person to swim from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands.  Same thing can happen in Mortgage Modification—just when you reach the finish line of the trial payments, the great white fin of a foreclosure lawsuit appears. Best way to deal with a shark?  Keep it busy with another shark. You may not be able to out swim a foreclosure lawsuit, even when things are going well with your lender.  The water is fine, your trial payments are fine, you are waiting on your permanent modification paperwork…and then you get served a foreclosure lawsuit.  Not exactly what you were expecting and certainly not the resolution you had hoped for. How does this happen?  Sharks are born swimming. Just because you have negotiated a mortgage modification with your lender does not stop the legal case from proceeding against you.  The lending department and the legal department are two separate and parallel entities with their own guidelines and objectives.  They do not talk to each other. Or coordinate.  Yet both move forward on your case […] Read More

Recovery Mode for Homeowners

Recovery Mode for Homeowners Mount Rushmore was carved during the Great Depression.  Begun in 1927, two years before the Stock Market crash of 1929, work was slowed by intermittent funding, but finally completed in 1941—the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln look unflinching into America’s future.  This national shrine stands today as one of the largest sculptures in the world, and a testament to economic recovery. Your economic recovery may not be carved in stone, but it is not necessarily a monumental task.  Just because you have suffered in the Recession does not mean you are excluded from financial recovery.  Furthermore, there are choices available to best fit your situation, including: Refinance Forbearance Short Sale Mortgage Modification Reverse Mortgage Hardest Hit Fund (And sometimes) Bankruptcy While a foreclosure alternative may be available, you may need a third-party professional involved in order to complete a resolution.  A HUD Certified Counselor or an attorney may be needed to help you pursue and ending that brings you the best benefit.  Furthermore, that professional can help you navigate the process and give more specific information regarding options at each choice point. Read More

Coming Up Short? Short Sale in Home Foreclosure

What is a Short Sale in real estate and who would want one?  Certainly not the bank.  The bank who loaned the money to buy the house wants all that money, plus the interest agreed upon.  They want all of it, cutting no part of that amount short.  Regardless of what that house may be worth now, the agreement with the lender was to pay the whole amount.  So how does a homeowner get a short sale out of that? Not easily, and not without a sacrifice of credit, but it can be done. What if you are coming up short on making your mortgage payments?  The Short Sale of your home may be the best resolution, depending on your circumstances. A Short Sale is when the lender agrees to accept less than the mortgage amount owed. Again, the bank wants their money, but they do not want your house.  They do not want to open a branch office at your address, keep cold cash in your refrigerator, convert your garage to a drive through and give out lollipops.  Banks are in the business of money, not real estate.  While your home is held as collateral on the loan, the […] Read More

What If I Cannot Afford An Attorney?

There are many situations in which having legal counsel is beneficial; however, robbing Peter to pay your attorney…probably not a good idea, besides, you may not have to cover the legal fees yourself, depending on your financial circumstances. In a Criminal Case The Sixth Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  Legal Counsel is so necessary in a criminal case that if a defendant cannot afford counsel, the State provides counsel without fee. In a Civil Case That Constitutional right to an attorney does not extend to civil matters (such as divorce, landlord-tenant dispute, or foreclosure defense).  We are fortunate in our area to have St. Johns County Legal Aid, a local non-profit agency that primarily serves the most vulnerable demographic of our population, aiding awareness of legal rights and options in matters of debt, foreclosure, housing, elder law, family law, and many other civil subjects.  Their motto is “A Wealth of Justice for Those Who Have Neither,” and they mean it. If you think you cannot afford an attorney in a civil case, contact your local Legal Aid office.  Even if you do not qualify for Legal Aid, they have a lot of […] Read More

Houses Haunted by Zombie Debt

Zombie Debt is debt that has been dead for a while, but does not know it is dead, and walks the streets of residential neighborhoods. Once upon a time in 2007, a Bank foreclosed on a Home.  The Foreclosure Complaint was filed, a Judgment entered, but then the Foreclosure Sale got cancelled.  Meanwhile the Debt was sold to another company, who sold it off again, etc., until finally one of the mortgage debt-buyers decided to foreclose. A couple of problems: The Debt matured when the loan was accelerated, at which point the Statute of Limitations began to tick. The Statute of Limitations runs for five years in this kind of matter, and the Debt was accelerated in 2007. Time’s up. The Note and the Mortgage were merged into the Judgment. The Note and Mortgage no longer exist; the Judgment exists.   Zombie Debt works because people do not know better.  They fail to question what is happening and do not realize that they may have a legal defense. Foreclosure Defense is not going to bring your house back from the Debt, but it can help you deal with that Debt and undead Debt that comes back to haunt you.  Seek […] Read More