Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ten Things You Should Know About Florida Quiet Title Actions: 2012

Here's something for you! A free, complimentary publication that goes into aspects of clearing title or quieting title in the State of Florida -- something very important to know in today's Wild Wild West days of Foreclosure Fraud in Florida real estate matters.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Non-Lawyer's Guide to Foreclosure Fraud: 2011

Here's something for you! Our free complimentary publication providing background on the Foreclosure Fraud Housing Crisis that has hurt so many Floridians in the past several years.

Monday, October 15, 2012

List of Foreclosure Alternatives in Florida: Borrower's Options to Foreclosure on Their Florida Home (or Condo)

Want to find a way to avoid a foreclosure here in Florida?  After all, this month RealtyTrac released its quarterly report to reveal that Florida was number one in the country in foreclosures, and Broward County had the highest number of foreclosures in the state.  Which makes Broward County the place with the highest number of foreclosures on file in the entire United States.  

Good news: you're not alone if you are pondering options and alternatives to foreclosure here in Florida.  More good news:  you probably have more than one choice rather than setting back and letting the bank take your home.

There's no need to roll the dice and see what happens.  You may have more control than you think. 

What are your foreclosure alternatives?  There's no one right answer here, no one size fits all solution to the problem of being behind on mortgage payments, or being underwater on your mortgage, or getting that notice of default. Your options may not be the same as the choices facing your Broward County neighbor or your cousin over in Fort Lauderdale or your aunt in Tampa. 

However, there are lots of ways to deal with the situation other than avoiding the whole mess with your head in the sand.  Here are a few -- and for details on what these are, or what they may mean to your foreclosure problem, please read our analysis at About Florida Law:

Foreclosure Alternatives in Florida

This is a list of foreclosure alternatives for Florida home owners and Florida borrowers who are facing the possibility of losing their home or condo to foreclosure in 2012 or beyond.  This is not a complete list.  For more information, please check the pros and cons discussed on our legal blog post, or just call us and ask for a free consultation. 

1.  Qualify for the Making Home Affordable Program. (MHA)

2. Qualify for the Home Affordable Modification Program. (HAMP)

3. Qualify for the Principal Reduction Alternative Program. (PRA)

4. Qualify for the Home Affordable Refinance Program. (HARP)

5. Qualify for the Home Affordable Unemployment Program. (UP)

6. Qualify for the Forebearance for Unemployed Homeowners Program. (FUP)

7. Qualify for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)

8. Bring the Mortgage Current (Reinstate the Mortgage)

 9. Make a New Deal by Negotiating a Bank Loan Modification with the Lender (Modify)

10. Refinance with a New Lender (Refi)

11. Rent Out The Place (Cover the Mortgage with the Rent)

12. Short Sale the Home (Sell Short - Leaving a Deficiency Balance)

13. Challenge the Bank Legally (Sue Them)

14. File Affirmative Defenses When They Sue You / Foreclose (Assert Legal Defenses)

15.  Negotiate a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

16.  Negotiate a Forebearance or Repayment Plan (Catch Up)

17.  File Bankruptcy

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain Image

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Florida Short Sale Fever: Race to Short Sale Before New Year's Eve 2012 and 1099s Start Coming

Short sales can be very, very good for Florida home owners who are facing possible foreclosure by their bank.  A short sale can keep a borrower out of foreclosure lawsuit, for one thing.

Short Sales - How They Can Help You 

Here are some big benefits to a Florida short sale:
  1. A short sale is better for your credit than a foreclosure. You take a hit, but it's not as hard and it doesn't last as long. 
  2. If you have a GSE mortgage (Federal agency backs the note, like Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae), then a short sale may mean you can buy another house in as short as 2 years. 
  3. Lenders are much more open to short sales in 2012 than ever before. Bank of America is really pushing short sales in Fall 2012. 

Short Sales - How They Can Hurt You (Especially After 12/31/12)

Short sales aren't the answer for everyone.  They are "short" by definition, and you have to pay the bank the remaining amount due on the note or negotiate a write-off.   You can be sued even after escaping the foreclosure lawsuit for that deficiency amount unless some law protects you from it (like some GSE regulations).  

Additionally, unless Congress acts, you will have to pay federal income tax on any deficiency amount that is written off by the bank.  Beginning January 1, 2013, unless the federal law is extended ("the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007"), the exemption to deficiencies being considered income will expire by its own terms. 

Which means the time to try and get that short sale done is now, in Fall 2012.

For more information, check out our legal blog About Florida Law on the topic of Short Sales or call us for a free consultation. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

10 Steps to a Florida Foreclosure Lawsuit: What the Florida Home Owner Needs to Know

Broward Cty Courthouse
Florida still ranks number one in the country for home foreclosures.  Nothing to be happy about, if you are a home owner, right? 

With so many Florida mortgage holders either in foreclosure or underwater in their mortgages and thinking about throwing in the towel, there's lots of stuff on the web to help them out.  That's good.

What's not so good is some of this stuff isn't true.  And some of this stuff isn't complete - it's not giving all the info that a Florida home owner facing foreclosure needs to know.

It's a big mess right now, and things are complicated in the law today because of all the robosigning and bad paper filed by banks and other things.  Having a Florida lawyer keeping up with the developments is a good thing. 

It's also a good thing to have a Florida lawyer by your side during the Florida Foreclosure Lawsuit.  And for those who don't know what all that involves in time and money and complications, here’s a brief overview of the Florida Foreclosure Process in 10 Steps.

Image:  Wikimedia Commons, Nov 2010 by Georgia Guercio. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lost Notes Are Making It Difficult For Banks to Foreclose

It has been a while since I posted to this blog. I have been busy with work, my main blog and all of the other noise. I posted something to my main blog,, that I know is very important so I want to share it anywhere I can. The blog post discusses the new front on defending foreclosure cases, especially when there is a lost note. In a lot of the cases we handle, the bank/lender/plaintiff in the foreclosure lawsuit includes a claim for a lost note. With that type of count, comes a higher burden for the bank to prove and foreclose on the homeowner because of standing issues related to proving the chain of title to the lost Note. In many instances, that higher burden is expensive and difficult to meet. I think this new line of attack will be very helpful to Florida homeowners struggle in this "recovery." I urge you to read the article. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

JPMorgan Chase sues Ben-Ezra – Is it all about the money or some other reason why the lawyers won’t give their client back their files?

It was reported today that JPMorgan Chase Bank filed a lawsuit against foreclosure firm Ben Ezra & Katz. I wrote early last month that this same firm had been fired by Fannie Mae for alleged document process irregularities. Apparently, JPMorgan terminated a foreclosure servicing agreement with Ben Ezra earlier this month, which prompted JPMorgan to demand the return of all foreclosure filing and records in connection with JPMorgan cases. In the lawsuit, the bank is claiming that Ben Ezra has not complied and JPMorgan is now attempting to compel the return of thousands of foreclosure documents. Ben Ezra claims that the firm has been responsive and acting in good faith in response to JPMorgan's requests. The lawsuit complaint states that the law firm refuses to return the files because it claims it is owed $5 million. Notwithstanding the claim of money owed, this lawsuit peaks my interest. I'm interested to know if there are other reasons why Ben-Ezra won't turn over documents. Are there irregularities in these documents that Ben-Ezra doesn't want to JPMorgan to see? I will be watching this closely to see if this dispute will shed any new light on the behavior of the banks and their lawyers that will help my clients. We will see, at least I hope so.