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 ( ). 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.     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

Good Housekeeping in Foreclosure Cases

If the Loan Servicer did everything right, what is a homeowner going to do in a foreclosure defense, say that he made the payments?  Technical issues are often the only things a homeowner has in a foreclosure case…and they can be enough to pursue a foreclosure alternative. The Rules for Trial require the Plaintiff thirty days before the docket sounding to give the name, address, and telephone number for witnesses they plan to use.  What typically happens in foreclosure cases is the Plaintiff writes in “Corporate Representative.”  That does not give the Defense any humans to depose. If the Plaintiff (the lender or loan servicer) is going to use witnesses, they have to name them so the Defense (the homeowner) has the chance to question them before trial.  If the Plaintiff is challenged on this practice (by a legal defense), they often voluntarily dismiss the case.  (That does not mean it goes away; they will get their case together and re-file, but in the meantime the homeowner can pursue a different outcome.) Often the best way to solve the problem for the homeowner is through mortgage modification or short sale, but these things take time.  A Foreclosure Defense that insist […] Read More

Dealing with Your Past & Future in Foreclosure Defense

Debt is the mark of your past.  Credit describes your future.  That is why Foreclosure Defense often tries to retain as much credit as possible.  Foreclosure Defense is not a denial of debt.  It is a way of dealing with debt that is most beneficial to your credit, and thus your future. Your credit is your purchasing power for things like a car, a house, a student loan.  The higher your credit score, the more likely you will be able to get a loan and the less that loan is going to cost you.  Therefore, in situations of financial difficulty—like a home foreclosure—the more credit you can hang onto, the faster your financial recovery will be. With a Foreclosure Defense, you may be able to achieve an alternative outcome—like a short sale or mortgage modification—which generally leaves you with more credit than a foreclosure.  Foreclosure Defense deals with your past and your future, and tries to make the best of both.   Read More

Mortgage Modifications Update

Earlier this month, a California appeals court said homeowners could sue Wells Fargo for improperly denying permanent mortgage modifications.  That opinion could have a positive affect for homeowners nationwide. The Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) was started to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure by modifying home loans for lower monthly payments.  A HAMP modification has a three-month trial period that gives the lender opportunity to verify the borrower’s information, and to test if the borrower can make the modified payments. For many borrowers, the scenario runs like this:  they pay the three monthly trial payments and comply with the requirements only to be denied at the end.  Unless your paperwork is super-specific, most banks say thank you for your trial modification payments, and we will take payments four and five as well, and THEN turn you down. However, the California court said that if the bank does not turn you down within the three-month trial period, they have to give you the permanent loan.  The opinion states that the modification agreement is a contract (even if the bank did not sign)—thus if the borrower does A, B, and C, then the loan servicer has to do D. This federal case […] Read More

Loan Modification – Nice Work If You Can Get It

Broadway show, Nice Work If You Can Get It starring Matthew Broderick, was a musical modification of the Gershwin songbook, bringing together many of Gershwin hits like the title song, “Fascinating Rhythm,” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”  Despite the Tony Awards and numerous nominations, Nice Work did not make it past three months.  A lot of home loan modifications have the same performance run. A mortgage modification is supposed to give the homeowner a way to fulfill his responsibility to pay his loan and give the bank continuity of income, even if at a lesser amount—the idea that less is more than nothing.  The aim is to lower monthly mortgage payments in order to make them more affordable and sustainable in the long run. It is a lot of work to get a mortgage modification, but it is nice work if you can get a temporary modification converted to a permanent modification—you get to keep your house and make manageable payments.  However, most homeowners have a greater chance of catching a Broadway musical on Mars. In many cases, banks do modifications because the government tells them to, but then they often deny the permanent modification. That being said, […] Read More

Detour on the Road to Foreclosure

Playing in a band is a good way to do something other than work.  One night at practice we started playing “Brick House,” and somehow that became “Play That Funky Music White Boy.”  A similar thing can happen in a foreclosure case with a legal defense. A Foreclosure Defense is a good way to do something other than take the dead-end to foreclosure. 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. 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. Though you may begin with a Foreclosure Lawsuit against you, with Foreclosure Defense, you may wind up with something other than a foreclosure (like a short sale, loan modification, or refinance). Read More

Dates & Deadlines in Foreclosure

Generally if the Plaintiff fails to show up to a foreclosure hearing, usually the hearing is rescheduled, but if the Defense fails to show, that is not good for the homeowner.  As a homeowner, you do not necessarily gain points by being on time, but you do not automatically lose ground by meeting dates and deadlines in a foreclosure process. Home foreclosure is a complicated legal process.  Competent legal counsel can help guide you through the dates, deadlines, and possible outcomes at each choice point. Additionally a defense attorney may be able to aim you toward a foreclosure alternative, such as loan modification or short sale. If you get served a foreclosure complaint, it is not an invitation to leave immediately.  In most foreclosures in states such as Florida that have judicial foreclosure, you will have time to pack (or not pack in the case of a loan modification).  However, dates and deadlines are important, starting with the 20 days you have to respond to the summons. Read More

Once Upon a Loan Modification

There once was a homeowner working on a loan modification.  He had a trial modification, and his lender felt it would be successful.  But the bank’s legal department did not talk to the loan department (as is often the case) and the legal department went ahead with a foreclosure suit anyway.  Next thing the homeowner knew, he had a foreclosure hearing set for 10:30. The homeowner’s attorney showed up early and checked in with the bailiff before the hearing, as was the custom.  The courtroom filled up quickly, and those waiting for their cases to be called stood out in the hallway.  The homeowner’s attorney waited and waited, but he was never called.  Finally when he did have his turn before the judge on another file, he asked about the first case he had waited on, but the judge said he had already heard it. “How did that happen without me?” the homeowner’s attorney asked.  He told him how he had checked in, but was not called.  “I will cancel the judgment,” the judge replied after verifying with the bailiff what had occurred. After that, the homeowner’s attorney checked the docket and checked the docket looking for the hearing to […] Read More

So You Want a Bankruptcy–Are You Sure?

I can do weddings as well as divorces—I can even do the music—and yes, I have helped deliver a baby.  Not all attorneys can (or do) perform these services, but good legal counsel may provide more than you realized was possible. You do not have to have an attorney to file bankruptcy.  There are forms available online and non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparers can help you complete those forms, but they cannot give you legal advice. Bankruptcy will stop a foreclosure—yes, it will.  But it is going to leave a mark on your credit report like nothing else.  Depending on your circumstances, less-indelible choices might include a short sale on your house, mortgage modification, forbearance, or assistance from Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund. For basic information about bankruptcy, the US Court has put together a film festival of G-rated productions (each less than five minutes) available online at In some cases, bankruptcy is the best option for the situation.  However, there are long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you file bankruptcy.  Consult competent legal counsel to decide if bankruptcy is right for your situation and to examine all of your choices. Read More