Good Sources for Legal Help

Unless you are a legal professional, you may not recognize the nuances of the law, some of which could work against you (and some of which could work for you).  Depending on the case, attorney involvement can avoid or reduce adverse effects of a problem, and may cause a situation to be less costly.  Furthermore, good legal advice may be more readily available than you realize and less expensive than you anticipated. Sources of competent legal advice may include: Legal Aid. Visit the Legal Aid office for your area. Even if you do not qualify for their help, they have information pamphlets which may be useful.  You can find out more online at http://www.jaxlegalaid.org/stjohns.html Contact an Attorney. An initial consultation is sometimes free of charge or at a low fee, depending on the matter. Online Media. Forums such as this website offer dialogue opportunities where you can write in general questions. Remember not to share personal information in an open forum, and be sure you are communicating with a qualified legal professional. “Land Title Talk” Radio Show is on each first and third Friday from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on 102.1 FM WFOY or online at www.1240News.com. This is the […] Read More

Everything in Home Foreclosure

On the radio show my brother, Stephen, likes to ask me what is going on my world:  Everything.  Home loan originators have done things badly and home loan servicers have done things badly…resulting in Everything that can go wrong for a homeowner often goes much much worse. Examples include a homeowner making payments on a permanent loan modification, and then those payments not being accepted by a new loan servicer.  In another case, two banks were foreclosing on the same mortgage, while the homeowner had receipts showing she had made all the payments.  For numerous other homeowners, lenders lose information faster than they slough skin cells.  (Not all lenders and loan servicers are this way, but some are.) On the other side, homeowners may not have Everything, but they do have choices when it comes to home foreclosure.  It depends on where they are in the process, what their situation is, and what their goals are as far as which strategy will bring them the best benefit.  Some of the strategies include: Refinance Forbearance Short Sale Mortgage Modification Reverse Mortgage Hardest Hit Fund (And sometimes) Bankruptcy A Foreclosure Defense can help homeowners find the time to pursue an alternative to […] Read More

Differences of Decorum in Court & On Air

You can get away with certain things on a radio show that you cannot do in court.  Wardrobe is not an issue, and you are not going to get fined if your cell phone rings during a broadcast.  Furthermore, a dog eating crackers can stay in the sound booth as long as the chewing is not too loud. Generally you would not find a dog eating crackers in the courtroom, but at local radio station 102.1 FM WFOY (aka 1240News.com), Teddy the Wheaten Terrier is the station mascot.  He joined my brother, Stephen, and me at our last broadcast of “Land Title Talk,” though Teddy did not have any legal questions or comments.  Courtroom decorum is less casual. Courtroom decorum takes over where your mother left off, and creates an environment where tough situations can be debated without distraction.  You cannot wear shorts, tee shirts, or flip-flops, but what you get is an atmosphere where attorneys can be serious, trying to get a good and proper resolution for their clients. Sometimes you need that serious atmosphere to move forward through a difficult legal problem, but if you are looking for a more casual approach, “Land Title Talk” will broadcast live […] Read More

Low Cost Legal Resources

The Sixth Amendment gives you a Constitutional right to an attorney in a criminal defense.  But what if you are poor, elderly, disabled, and your landlord has locked you out?  Or you are facing home foreclosure and do not know what to do?  There are good legal resources in St. Johns County which may be able to help you in a civil matter at little or no cost to you.  These include the following resources: St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) SJHP is non-profit agency whose services are offered to the public regardless of income.  They work with borrowers living in million dollar homes as well as those eligible for Legal Aid.  Their HUD certified counselors 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 […] Read More

How Long to Live in Foreclosed Home?

What is the life sentence on Foreclosure Avenue?  Say you are a homeowner who has not made mortgage payments in a while, and say you have been served notice of foreclosure, how long do you have to live in your house?  Say you are a tenant, how long do you have to live in your leased space once you receive a foreclosure notice?  These questions recently came up on the radio show ‘Land Title Talk.’ The key to foreclosure is that you are the owner of your home until the Certificate of Title is issued by the Clerk of Courts. Unlike Georgia, Florida homeowners remain homeowners throughout the foreclosure process, even through the foreclosure sale at the courthouse steps.  Usually about ten days after the foreclosure sale ownership transfers when the Clerk of Courts issues a Certificate of Sale. If you are NOT the homeowner, but a tenant in the home, you may have some rights.  Provided you have a bona fide lease, you may be able to finish the term of the lease or have 90 days. ‘Land Title Talk’ airs on the first and third Thursdays of each month from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on 1240 News WFOY […] Read More

Decorum in Court (And Other Places)

You cannot chew cough drops while on a radio show. I learned that the last time I was on “Land Title Talk” on WFOY and Kris Phillips kept turning off my microphone. Of course there are words you are not supposed to say on air, and terms that get automatically censored on community blogs. Similarly, courtroom etiquette dictates certain appearance and behavior. Courtroom decorum takes over where your mother left off, and creates an environment where tough situations can be debated without the distraction. During a hearing or trial, attorneys are serious, trying to get to a good and proper resolution for their clients, but it is business; it is not personal. They can have a knock down drag out hearing, but it is just work, and at the end of it, opposing counsels can walk out together in pleasant conversation. I enjoy the high level of professionalism of the lawyers in St. Johns County—the ones with whom I work through Legal Aid and those I oppose.   Read More

Good, Free Resources Regarding Foreclosure

Eddie Van Halen played the guitar on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and he did it for free.  Sometimes you get what you pay for…and sometimes you get a whole lot more.  If you need solutions to home foreclosure more than a guitar solo, then good, free, local resources include the following: St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) SJHP is non-profit agency whose services are offered to the public regardless of income.  They work with borrowers living in million dollar homes as well as those eligible for Legal Aid.  Their HUD certified counselors 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) 819-1266 (www.sjhp.org ). Mortgage modification is a very good idea in concept.  SJHP may be able to make […] Read More

Foreclosure & Your Goals

My brother, Stephen, and I have a radio show on Newstalk 1240 AM WFOY / 102.3 FM WFOY (http://www.1240news.com).  During commercial breaks, we try to make the station manager, Kris Phillips, laugh.  Our goal is to make her laugh so hard she is unable to talk when we come back on the air.  Generally foreclosure is not that funny, but like our off-air time, it is good to have goals. Nobody sets a goal to miss a bunch of mortgage payments and go into foreclosure.  Foreclosure is a hassle.  Nobody buys a house and plans to lose it.  If you are going into foreclosure, it is time to set new goals. There are personal as well as financial considerations involved in a foreclosure.  Seek competent legal counsel to discuss the specifics of your case and what your legal options are—whether your best benefit would come from trying to remain in your house or if you would be better off to try to short shell it and move. A foreclosure defense attorney can not only tell you about the steps of a foreclosure procedure and what to expect, but can also review your circumstances and help you set your goals for […] Read More