Cannot Win Them All

You cannot win them all, and in foreclosure cases, you are not going to win any.  Even if the case gets dismissed, the lender or loan servicer will come back with a better-built case and they will ultimately prevail over the homeowner.  However, a foreclosure defense gives the homeowner an opportunity at an alternative outcome. Foreclosure defense is not about winning or losing; it is about changing the game.  If you can finish a short sale, or you can finish a mortgage modification before the foreclosure case gets to an end, then you have accomplished something different.  However, you may need the legal defense for that opportunity to play a different game.  Short sales and mortgage modifications take time, and a foreclosure defense can give you that time to pursue such an alternative. A short sale will not stop a foreclosure.  Just because you are in negotiations with your lender for a short sale, or you are doing well in a temporary mortgage modification, does not mean you are “safe” from foreclosure.  The legal department and the financial department are two separate entities.  They do not necessarily communicate or coordinate.  The lender may be working with you for a short […] Read More

Peter Piper in a Foreclosure Pickle

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers…but sadly the pickled pepper market had taken a downturn and Peter struggled to make his monthly mortgage payments.  So he called his bank to negotiate a home loan modification.  While Peter was not earning what he used to off his pickled peppers, he still had some income and could keep making house payments if they were at a lesser amount. The bank requested information from Mr. Piper, which he gladly sent, and they promptly lost.  Same thing happened again…and again and again and sometimes twice daily until finally the bank informed Peter they would foreclose.  Peter was in a pickle now! This is where Foreclosure Defense comes in handy. Time is a side-effect of a Foreclosure Defense.  While the legal defense addresses the litigation issues of your case, you have the opportunity to pursue an alternative to foreclosure, such as a home loan modification.  The idea is to reach an outcome of best benefit to you before the lender can complete their case against you. A Foreclosure Defense cannot change time, but it can change what happens in the end.  Read More

Act Early to Avoid Foreclosure Grief

Denial, anger, depression, and acceptance are the stages of home foreclosure grief.  You may be able to avoid these if you act early to fix the problem faster.  If your goal is to remain in the house, start by contacting your lender to see what you can work out.  You and your lender could be talking about terms like these: Reinstatement – You pay the amount you are behind in a lump sum and by a specific date.  This is often combined with forbearance when you can show that funds from a bonus, tax refund or other source will become available at a specific time.  (There may be late fees and other costs involved.) Forbearance – Temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments, often combined with a Reinstatement plan to pay off missed or reduced mortgage payments. Repayment Plan – Repay the amount you owe over a fixed period of time, adding a portion of the delinquent debt to your regular monthly payment. Loan Modification – Permanent reduction of your monthly mortgage payment. Sometimes it takes competent legal counsel to have a meaningful conversation with your loan servicer.  Furthermore, an attorney can help you review all your available choices […] 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

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch – Foreclosure Defense

Once upon a time, Ma and Pa Gothic went into town to meet with a banker about a short sale.  The crops had failed, and Ma and Pa could no longer make their monthly mortgage payments on their home.  They wanted to move into a smaller house in town where they could afford the payments, and they were asking the bank to accept a lesser amount than the mortgage balance in a short sale.  That was not the situation Ma and Pa wanted to be in, but it was the best they could do.  Negotiations were going well at the bank…meanwhile back at the ranch, Ma and Pa Gothic received a foreclosure lawsuit. The loan servicing/collection department does not talk to the legal department—they are two separate and parallel entities with their own guidelines and objectives.  They do not always communicate.  Or coordinate.  Yet both move forward on your case at the same time—the servicing/collection department on the short sale, and the legal department on the foreclosure action.  Either you accomplish the short sale, or the home will be lost in a Foreclosure Sale. A Foreclosure Defense is not a denial of debt, but it asks the other side to […] Read More

Opening a Chapter on Lender Negotiations

Bankruptcy is not for everybody, but sometimes it is the best way to have a meaningful negotiation with your lender.  Whereas foreclosure mediation is generally limited to a HAMP modification, bankruptcy court offers sanctions to motivate lenders to come prepared with full authority to make a deal. Thus Chapter 13 Bankruptcies have been on the rise.  Known as the ‘Wage-Earner Plan,’ Chapter 13 protects your assets while you make payments, and allows you to catch up on unsecured debt.  It acts like a consolidation loan—you make payments to a Bankruptcy Trustee, who then distributes funds to your creditors. Bankruptcy should not be entered lightly.  Especially because of the complexity and recent major changes to the law, consult competent legal counsel before you file any chapter of bankruptcy.  For general information about Bankruptcy, the US Courts offer the following link:  http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Chapter13.aspx.   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

When a Foreclosure is Not

When is a foreclosure NOT a foreclosure?  Answer:  when the party that filed the lawsuit lacks the authority to foreclose…but you need a Foreclosure Defense to determine that. A foreclosure sale becomes a reality on your credit score when you lose your house because of a foreclosure lawsuit, regardless of who filed the complaint.  In most cases, the plaintiff will prevail if not challenged even if that plaintiff does not have all the proper documents in place. 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 in most cases, the homeowner does not put up a Foreclosure Defense, and the authority to foreclose is not questioned.  A Foreclosure Defense is not a denial of debt, but it asks the other side to prove their case—to verify their authority and the details of what is owed.  Time is a side effect of Foreclosure Defense, time for a homeowner to pursue an alternative such as […] Read More

Time Effect of Foreclosure Defense

When defending a home foreclosure, I never have a client come into court and say, “I made all my payments.”  Usually the property owner has missed mortgage payments.  Foreclosure Defense is not as much about Where did this lawsuit come from? as it is about Where am I going? Foreclosure Defense asks the loan servicer to prove their case—to verify the debt amount and their authority to foreclose, etc.  The side-effect to Foreclosure Defense is time…time to pursue an alternative outcome, such as short sale or mortgage modification, which generally will not be as bad on your credit as a foreclosure sale. With Foreclosure Defense, you are looking for your best benefit.  You are not going to win a free house any more than you will get an all expense-paid trip to Tahiti.  But you will get time to pursue your best option for a better financial future.   Read More

More Than One Way to Deal with Home Foreclosure

My brother, Stephen, and I have a radio show on News Talk 1240 AM WFOY…that is what it used to be called.  Last year, the station switched to FM broadcasting and now has an FM number which is primarily used.  But the old AM number still works and I like it better.  There is more than one way to listen, just like there is more than one way to deal with home foreclosure. There are many choices when it comes to home foreclosure, and it depends on where you are in the process, what your situation is, and what your goals are as far as which strategy will bring you the best benefit.  Some of the strategies include: Refinance Forbearance Short Sale Mortgage Modification Reverse Mortgage Hardest Hit Fund (And sometimes) Bankruptcy  Talk to your lender.  See if you can make a deal with your loan servicer.  If you do receive foreclosure papers, seek competent legal counsel to discuss your choices and which will bring you the best benefit.   The radio show is called “Land Title Talk” and it airs the first and third Thursdays of the month at 8:00 a.m. on WFOY 1240 News on the AM dial.  […] Read More