Defenses at the Eleventh Hour

President Woodrow Wilson set aside the eleventh day of the eleventh month as a holiday not because he nearly missed fitting the commemoration into the year, but because of that date’s historical significance.  Fighting stopped on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 to end World War I.  What was originally known as Armistice Day we now celebrate as Veterans’ Day, honoring those who serve in the US armed forces. Sometimes I get cases in the eleventh hour.  Nobody wants to call an attorney unless they really need one…and for some people, it is a longer journey to that moment of clarity. The sooner you realize you are in trouble, the sooner you can work towards a resolution.  With many legal matters, such as foreclosure defense, the earlier you address the problem, the more options you have to deal with it.  Preferably Homeowners seek legal counsel before they are in default. A late defense can be better than no defense.  Many of the lenders are not used to being challenged.  Most home foreclosures go through uncontested and the lender never has to prove his case, but if you put up a foreclosure defense, you […] Read More

Flashy & Broke

The difference between flashy and broke is getting smaller.  Foreclosure Summonses are sent to the very best neighborhoods…and the very worst. If you cannot pay the mortgage, how can you afford a Foreclosure Defense? How can you NOT afford a Foreclosure Defense?  Do you want to buy a car?  Send a kid to college?  Move to a home with a more affordable mortgage? The fastest way back on your feet financially is to take an active role in getting there.  That means making informed decisions about your fiscal future.  That means seeking legal counsel.  Foreclosure Defense is not for everyone.  If you are proud of receiving a foreclosure lawsuit, or if you have terminal stupidity, you might not want to fight it.  But if you want to glimpse a future beyond the loss of home and credit, you may want to consider your options.   Foreclosure Defense is the opportunity to review your choices with an attorney, and follow a strategy toward the best benefit for you and your family. Yes, Foreclosure Defense is about making goals and pursing them.  Meanwhile, it keeps default off your back.  In the time you are trying to get a loan modification or a short […] Read More

Houseflies in Home Foreclosure

You may have been bugging your lender about a short sale, meanwhile your lender is building a foreclosure case to exterminate you from your home.  Foreclosure Defense is the difference between being a fly on the wall…and being the fly in the ointment. Most Florida foreclosures are uncontested.  The Homeowner knows he owes money and passively allows the procedure to go through, not questioning the Lender on the authority or accuracy of the Lender’s claim…and not seeking an alternative outcome.  The Homeowner in an uncontested foreclosure is the fly on the wall…waiting to get smacked. Whereas Foreclosure Defense allows the Homeowner to see with fly-like eyes what his legal options are.  It is not a single-serving of Shoo-fly Pie, but offers a buffet of choices for the Homeowner, while keeping the fly swat of default at bay. Foreclosure Defense is a fly in the ointment of the Lender’s lawsuit.  If you put up a legal defense against home foreclosure, the Lender has to prove his case:  that he has the proper evidence and authority to take action on your property.  And while he is gathering his paperwork, the Homeowner has a chance to pursue a strategy that will bring him […] Read More

Foreclosure Case Sensitive

Homeowners come in all sizes, shapes, and problems.  A homeowner may be single or married, divorced or widowed; there may be children living at home, or grandchildren, or a medical hardship in play.  Unemployment, physical disability or low fixed income may affect the ability of a homeowner to pay bills.  No one solution is going to apply to everyone.  A foreclosure defense provides opportunity to seek resolutions that are case sensitive. Foreclosure procedures have a certain grammar, but the sentence is shorter if the foreclosure goes uncontested, as most of them do.  However, if you question the premise of foreclosure with a legal defense, the onus is on the lender to diagram the structure of the loan and prove possession. Lenders make mistakes.  Just because you are behind on your mortgage does not necessarily mean that the loan servicer has authority to foreclose, or that their numbers are correct.  Besides, if you ask them to proof their authority, that gives you time to take your story in a different direction. Alternative endings include refinance, loan modification, short sale, forbearance, and in certain cases bankruptcy.  An uncontested foreclosure offers only one ending, but foreclosure defense presents a choice of possible outcomes.  […] Read More

Mary Contrary’s Foreclosure

Mistress Mary was quite contrary and when she got a foreclosure summons, she said, “No.”  She knew she owed money, but she did not know if the Loan Servicer suing her was the proper party.  Her loan had been sold so many times, she wanted to be certain that she was dealing with the company she actually owed.  Instead of just giving up her house to foreclosure, Mistress Mary hired a Defense Lawyer. Mistress Mary was not simply being contrary…she was being proactive.  While her Foreclosure Defense forced the Loan Servicer to prove his authority to foreclose, it gave her time to sell her property in a short sale. A short sale does not stop foreclosure, but it does make for a good Foreclosure Defense in the right circumstances.  It gives the Plaintiff at least some money, it gets the homeowner out of an upside down situation, and it helps to maintain property value in the neighborhood by putting another homeowner in the house instead of leaving it vacant.  A Short Sale takes time, however, and a Foreclosure Defense gives time for it to happen.   Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, how does your foreclosure go? In fits and starts of […] Read More

Occupy Main Street

Wall Street is not zoned residential, but Mortgage Defaults have put Houses in the Financial District, inciting roofless behavior of former homeowners to go forth speaking in throngs.  If you cannot occupy Main Street, you have to live somewhere. There is no place like home, but for some facing foreclosure, there is no home-like place.  With 350,000 Florida foreclosure cases, a lot of house-dwellers are looking to relocate.  Not everyone owns a sleeping bag or speaks in unison against corporate greed.  Even if you do, there are other strategies to occupy Main Street. A legal defense against Foreclosure puts the onus of accountability on the Lender.  Foreclosure Defense means the Lender has to show he has authority to foreclose on the property.  While he is busy proving he owns the loan, and how much is owed, the homeowner has the opportunity to seek an alternative outcome, like short sale, loan modification, forbearance, refinance, etc. Lenders are not used to being challenged.  The majority of Florida foreclosures are uncontested (not quite the 99%), meaning the Lender forecloses on the property without anyone asking if the Lender has jurisdiction to take that action. Yes, Homeowners should pay their bills, and also yes, […] Read More

Staple of Foreclosure Defense

Just because the Lender’s Lawyer stapled the Business Record to the Affidavit does not mean the documents match.  Sometimes I do not think the Plaintiffs’ Attorneys read these things.  They just think the Business Record is allonge for the ride, but in a Foreclosure Summary Judgment, Business Records ARE the ride. The purpose of a Summary Judgment is to avoid a trial.  It moves things along without slowing up for witness testimonies.  Without witnesses, however, the Plaintiff has to rely on Business Records to prove his case—that he owns the loan, has authority to foreclose on the property, and what amount is owed, etc. According to the Rules of Evidence for Summary Judgment, affidavits do not cut it.  Affidavits are out-of-court documents used to prove a statement.  The Lender cannot simply say that the Borrower owes money and write that down on an affidavit as evidence.  How do you cross examine a piece of paper that the Lender swears is true? A Business Record is also an out-of-court document, but it is an exception to the Rules of Evidence for Summary Judgment.  A Business Record is not hearsay because it is created in the normal course of business and not […] Read More

HARP Refrain

The view made it irresistible…the mortgage made it toxic.  Numbers hit home when income does not add up to the house payment, and the house payment is way more than the current property value. About 22.5 percent of American Dreamowners are sunk in negative equity, their mortgage balances exceeding the property values in the present market.  While many homeowners would benefit from a lower mortgage rate, closing expenses can be cost prohibitive to refinance.  The revised HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) is an instrument to address that problem and should be music to the ears of underwater homeowners. The old HARP was out of tune with its expectations, playing to 800,000 home loans instead of its anticipated audience of 4 to 5 million.  With revisions, HARP 2.0 is supposed to have an amplified effect. To qualify for HARP 2, your loan had to be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 2009.  (To research your loan with Freddie or Fannie, go online to www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage or to www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup.) While the new HARP may be more harmonious with homeowner needs, banks can choose not to chime in.  Even if a homeowner meets all requirements for the new HARP program, the […] Read More

Plan B: Bankruptcy

No one graduates high school and aspires to go bankrupt.  Sometimes “Plan B” turns into “Plan C” turns into “Plan D” and spools down the alphabet from there. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  (John Lennon)  You plan to buy a house, a car, your kid’s college education, etcetera, and then your income drops at the same time home values decrease.  That is life…which can lead to Bankruptcy. Generally Bankruptcy stops foreclosure, but it comes with severe whiplash that can be a pain in the neck for years to come.  There are consequences you need to understand.  Seek competent legal counsel, an attorney who represents you—not the title company and not the real estate agent.  You need a customized solution to fit your situation.  Bankruptcy is a powerful tool, but it is not for every circumstance. Life does not end at Bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy is the beginning of recovery.  Not obliteration. Read More

Foreclosure Trick Or Treat

You can turn off the porch light and bring in the candy…that is not going to stop the Process Server from knocking on your door.  He does not want candy corn and tootsie rolls.  He just wants your autograph. The fastest way to economic recovery is to address the problem.  Avoiding it prolongs the process and does not give you much control over the outcome.  You can avoid dealing with the whole thing and probably lose your house…or you can learn about your legal options. Even if you owe money, you have rights and you have choices.  A foreclosure defense can guide you toward informed decisions over the fate of your financial future. Home foreclosure is scary.  Seek competent legal counsel to review your circumstances and help you pursue a strategy for the best benefit of you and your family.  Relieve your fear of the unknown by finding out what legal options may be available to you in a foreclosure defense. Answer the door when the Process Server knocks, and get the ball rolling towards resolution. Read More