Changing Horses in Mid-Foreclosure

Once upon a time a Lender and a Loan Servicer were in a very busy horse race to get to the end of the home foreclosure crisis.  The Lender was very busy indeed, and the Loan Servicer said, “Give me these files and I will foreclose them before you can get to them.”  The Lender was far too busy to even assign the mortgages to the Loan Servicer before the Loan Servicer started filing foreclosures. You cannot really do that.  The plaintiff has to have subject matter jurisdiction in order to bring the complaint before the court.  If the Lender starts the case and then transfers the loan to the Loan Servicer, that is fine.  But if the Loan Servicer files the foreclosure case AND THEN the Lender assigns the loan to that Servicer—that is a problem. The plaintiff was not the right plaintiff.  All those foreclosure cases had to be dismissed and re-filed by the right party, which slowed the race to finish the foreclosure crisis. Do not file foreclosure before you have subject matter jurisdiction, and do not change plaintiffs in mid-foreclosure.   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

Foreclosure Case Dismissed Without Prejudice

A mortgage foreclosure trial can be over in 30 seconds if the Plaintiff is not allowed to have witnesses or exhibits.  Court procedures come with deadlines, and if the lender does not turn in their witness list or evidence on time, the lender might not get to use them…and that could result in a foreclosure case dismissed without prejudice. Having a case dismissed ‘without prejudice’ does not necessarily mean the fight is over… ‘without prejudice’ means the Plaintiff can re-file a suit on the same claim. A home foreclosure dismissed ‘without prejudice’ gives the lender an opportunity to get their case together.  However, while the homeowner is waiting for the lender to re-file, the homeowner has time to pursue an alternative outcome, like a short sale or mortgage modification. Seek competent legal counsel to help review personal and financial factors, and to pursue a strategy to bring you the best benefit for your circumstances.     Read More

Healing Time in Foreclosure Defense

Time heals all wounds…and some foreclosures.  A short sale does not happen in a day and a mortgage modification will not be completed inside a week.  Both of these can be alternatives to a home foreclosure, but you may need a legal defense to see them through. A Foreclosure Defense is not a denial of debt; instead, it asks your loan servicer to prove their case—to verify the facts of their authority to foreclose as well as the amount owed—and in doing so, gives you the opportunity to purse an alternative outcome.  The idea of Foreclosure Defense is to reach an outcome of best benefit to you before the lender can complete their case against you. 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 evaluate an alternative strategy.  You have time to review personal and financial factors with legal counsel, and time to pursue a plan to bring you the best benefit for your circumstances. A short sale does not stop a foreclosure lawsuit.   Keep in mind that your lender’s legal department and their financial department are two separate entities when negotiating a backsliding […] Read More

Things Happen

Job loss, medical hardship, death in the family—these are some of things that can make mortgage payments difficult.  The reason does not matter according to the law, but a legal defense can make a big difference for homeowners facing foreclosure. A lot of things have happened that cause problems with home loans.  Originators did things badly, and servicers have done things badly too.  (Not all loan servicers are that way, but some are.)   Foreclosure defense gives homeowners an opportunity to review their circumstances and legal choices, and pursue a strategy towards their best benefit.  Foreclosure defense addresses the litigation while providing time for an alternative to occur, such as short sale, mortgage modification, or reverse mortgage. Things can happen during a foreclosure defense which can result in a different outcome.  Read More

Why Defend a Foreclosure?

Why Defend a Foreclosure? In 99% of foreclosure cases, the client did not pay.  So why defend them?  The goal of a foreclosure defense is to modify the loan or work something else out.  NOT to say the client is innocent or to get a free house.   When the recent foreclosure crisis started, plaintiffs were making stuff up.  Then they were having people sign off of documents that they had no knowledge of.  “Linda Green” was apparently Vice President in charge of robo-signers for a number of different banks, along with “Bogus Assignee.” Homeowners knew they owed money, they knew they had not made payments, but they had no idea what their lender was doing to compromise their rights as debtors.  Many Florida homeowners went into foreclosure without ever questioning their lenders.  Thus they gave up rights as well as opportunities to seek a resolution with the best benefit to them. Because defense attorneys got involved in the foreclosure crisis, people’s rights were protected, and plaintiffs are doing a better job.   Read More

Who Is Who & Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Eddie Van Halen played guitar on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”  Because of contract obligations, he was not credited or paid, but people recognized him anyway.  In dealing with foreclosures on mortgage loans, the who-is-who can be more difficult to sort out…which can be an advantage to a homeowner. Subject Matter Jurisdiction is a big deal in our form of government.  The United States Judicial System requires that a court have Subject Matter Jurisdiction over the subject of the case, and requires that the parties are the proper parties to pursue the lawsuit.  With debt sold into secondary markets, Subject Matter Jurisdiction is an important question.  Just because you owe money does not mean the party suing you has the authority to pursue the case. Sometimes the legal action gets ahead of the paperwork.  In transferring the debt collection from one loan servicer to the next, the authority to foreclose can lag behind the collection of the mortgage debt. If Party A does not own the home loan, it should be difficult for Party A to foreclosure on the property.  However, if the homeowner does not put up a legal defense, the authority to foreclose is not questioned.  A Foreclosure Defense […] Read More

‘Watch Man Fighting to Keep Home’

Once upon a time there was a man literate only enough to sign his name.  He needed a loan to help him pay his property taxes; what he got was a lease with an option to buy back his homestead at interest rates well over criminal usury.  This is no fairytale.  See a First Coast News clip about the case at http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid2857356515001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAACCo2HcE~,Xq6bv4z8O3WrBlTuUCc4XcMYQJmz5JX6&bclid=0&bctid=3386650672001. Read More

Standard Operating Procedures in Foreclosure Mediation

Negotiations with your loan servicer is not neuroscience, but you do need to work with a brain that has the authority to make a deal.  In most cases, the loan servicer sends someone with as much creativity and signing power as a toenail clipping.  Let us say you are dealing with a large law firm that is representing your mortgage loan servicer, the standard operating procedure goes something like this: You send them something and it takes ten days to get to the right person.   The person you talk to on the phone is not the person in charge of your file.   The person (who is not in charge of your file) tells you, “We cannot give you what you want, but we’ll take your information”  (after you have already provided said information eight hundred times in triplicate).  That would not happen in Bankruptcy Court. Bankruptcy is becoming a popular standard operating procedure for borrowers because it motivates more meaningful conversations with the loan servicer. A Bankruptcy Mediation requires the representative to appear in person (not by telephone) and to have authority to make a deal.  Furthermore, there are monetary consequences for non-compliance with the rules, and there are audit […] Read More

Good Partnership for Mortgage Modification – St. Johns Housing Partnership

A mortgage modification may be rarer than Bigfoot frosted in unicorn dust.  While there is no EASY way to get a mortgage modification, the less difficult way is to go through St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP). SJHP is non-profit agency whose services are offered to the public regardless of income.  They are sensitive to what their clients are going through, and they are knowledgeable and experienced negotiating with lenders on a loan modification that works for everybody.  SJHP does a background check on their clients without waiting for the bank to do one.  They get good results because they do the homework ahead of time.  There is no way to predict how long a mortgage modification will take, but you have a better chance to a permanent solution with SJHP. To learn more about St. Johns Housing Partnership, contact them at (904) 824-0902 (www.sjhp.org ). Mortgage modification is a very good idea in concept.  St. Johns Housing Partnership may be able to make it a reality, giving relief to local homeowners by negotiating monthly payments they can afford. http://staugustine.com/news/business/2014-02-02/st-johns-county-housing-partnership-provides-alternatives-foreclosure#.UvErbvldV2A     Read More