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Recent Blog Posts

Understanding a Short Sale in Illinois

 Posted on June 07, 2019 in Foreclosure

Libertyville short sale attorneysOver the last several years, the nation’s economy has shown steady signs of improvement, but there is still a long way to go in many areas. When people go through tough financial times, some may find it necessary to sell what they own for far less than those assets are worth. In some cases, even applies to residential real estate in some cases. When a property is sold for a price that is less than the amount remaining on the mortgage, the transaction is known as a short sale.

Four Requirements for a Short Sale

A short sale is often a complex undertaking for several reasons. First, selling a house is almost always complicated. Next, since the sale price in a short sale is less than what the owner owes on his or her mortgage, the remaining amount of the loan must be taken into account. Finally, a short sale can only work if each party involved is on the same page regarding the transaction. The most difficult part of the process is often convincing the lender to allow the sale.

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Why You Need a Real Estate Attorney When Buying or Selling a Home

 Posted on April 30, 2019 in Real Estate

Gurnee real estate lawyer fraudPurchasing a new home is an exciting endeavor that represents the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of both the buyer and seller. However, in any major transaction, there are dangers present. Sometimes, the seller of a home is not entirely forthcoming regarding the defects present in the home. At other times, the buyer of a home might wrongfully claim that the house sold to them was defective. The risk of fraud or meritless claims is often a significant reason why some families avoid entering the home buying or selling process at all. Thankfully, Illinois state laws and court rulings provide clear guidelines on how to resolve these situations.

The Illinois Real Estate Disclosure Act

Under the Illinois Real Estate Disclosure Act (765 ILCS 77), the seller of residential property has to fill out the Residential Real Property Disclosure form and provide it to any potential buyer. On this form, the seller is required to list any material defects with the property. This is to encourage honesty during price negotiations and ensures that the house is sold at an appropriate price. If the seller knowingly fails to list any defect with the house, this is considered fraud. Section 55 of the statute specifies that if fraud occurs, the seller “shall be liable in the amount of actual damages and court costs, and the court may award reasonable attorney fees incurred by the prevailing party.”

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Wells Fargo Reaches $13.8 Million Settlement After Loan Modification Errors

 Posted on April 22, 2019 in Loan Modification

Wells Fargo Reaches $13.8 Million Settlement After Loan Modification Errors

After a software error that occurred in Wells Fargo's system sometime between April 2010 and October 2015, a settlement has finally been reached between the company and some 6,000 mortgage holders who were impacted by the error. The software error caused customers to be incorrectly denied modifications on their loans and repayment plans when they actually should have qualified. In several cases, foreclosure proceedings began after the denials.

The Beginning Issue

Wells Fargo originally stated that less than 1,000 customers were affected by the software error; however, a group of the affected borrowers filed suit against the company in June of 2017 for soliciting Chapter 13 debtors for what Wells Fargo called pre-approved “trial” modifications to their existing mortgage loans. The company also used the terms “no-application modifications.”

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What Do I Need to Know to Create a Will in Illinois?

 Posted on April 17, 2019 in Estate Planning

Waukegan will preparation lawyerA will is often a difficult subject to discuss. In addition to the strong emotions involved when talking about death, discussions surrounding who will inherit what items or assets can cause division among family members. You want your family to be secure and happy, especially while you are still with them. However, you will not always be with them, so it is essential to set clear guidelines for how your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries, who will be the guardian of your minor children, and how your last wishes should be carried out.

Requirements for an Illinois Will

Under Illinois law, any emancipated minor or adult who is at least 18 years old can make a last will and testament. A person must be of sound mind and memory to do so. For the will to be valid, three requirements must be met: 

  1. The will must be in written form, and it may be handwritten, typed, or printed out. Illinois state law does not allow for oral wills.

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Wells Fargo Software Denied Loan Modification to Qualified Borrowers

 Posted on March 03, 2019 in Loan Modification

Wells Fargo Software Denied Loan Modification to Qualified Borrowers

Wells Fargo used to be a shining example of how a big bank should be run, but now they can not seem to stay out of the news for all the things they have done wrong. They recently revealed an error in their mortgage underwriting software that resulted in hundreds of denied mortgage modifications for borrowers who were facing foreclosure. The error affected some mortgages that were foreclosed on between April 2010 and October 2015. The error created a miscalculation of attorney fees that were used to determine if a borrower qualified for loan modification.

The error resulted in some 625 customers being denied modification and out of those customers, some 400 of them were foreclosed on after being denied. Wells Fargo has set aside $8 million to use as remediation for the customers who were affected by the error. While this may seem like a lot, it only equals out to $12,800 per customer, hardly adequate compensation for losing a home.

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If You are Considering a Loan Modification, Make Sure You are Qualified for One

 Posted on July 14, 2017 in Loan Modification

If You are Considering a Loan Modification, Make Sure You are Qualified for One

When a homeowner is facing foreclosure, getting a loan modification can be an attractive alternative to filing for bankruptcy or facing the foreclosure process. If you are considering modifying your mortgage loan, understand that it is not a simple process. You will need to demonstrate that you are qualified to have your loan altered this way and if you do receive a modification, you will need to comply with its terms. Before agreeing to any modification to your current mortgage, speak with an experienced loan modification lawyer about your options, your rights, and potential risks associated with this action.

Are You Underwater or at Risk of Default?

Typically, you need to show that you are either underwater on your mortgage, which means you have a mortgage balance higher than the home's actual market value, or that you are at risk of defaulting on the mortgage in order to qualify for a loan modification. You can do either of these by submitting the related paperwork to your loan servicer, which can be a copy of your mortgage statement, pay stubs, and documentation showing your current financial hardship.

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I am Behind on My Mortgage Payments. How Can I Keep My Home?

 Posted on September 23, 2015 in Mortgage

I am Behind on My Mortgage Payments. How Can I Keep My Home?

Homeowners get themselves into financial trouble for a variety of reasons. Maybe you have recently lost your job or suffered a significant injury, straining your financial resources to the point that you have begun to miss mortgage payments. Depending on the gravity of your financial situation, foreclosure might seem like it is your only option.

It is not. In many cases, struggling homeowners can keep their houses by working with an experienced foreclosure defense attorney to determine how they can remain in their homes. It can be difficult and require you to make personal sacrifices, but the payoff is the ability to remain in the home where you have lived and loved.

Negotiate with Your Lender

In some cases, it is possible to negotiate a lower mortgage payment or longer repayment term with your lender. Whether you are successful in negotiating this type of alteration to your loan or opening a new loan can depend largely on your previous payment history and the amount you currently owe on your home. An experienced foreclosure defense attorney can help you with this process.

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What is a Strategic Default?

 Posted on September 07, 2015 in Foreclosure

What is a Strategic Default?

At first, the term “strategic default” might sound like an oxymoron. You know that defaulting on your loan is a bad thing. Or at least, you have been taught to believe it is a bad thing. But sometimes, it actually makes financial sense to default on your loan.

The first question to ask yourself when you are considering a strategic default is whether the value of your property is higher or lower than the amount of money you owe on your loan. If the property is worth less than you owe, you have what is known as “negative equity.” Having negative equity does not necessarily mean that a strategic default is your best option, but it can.

Why Should I Choose a Strategic Default?

Strategic defaults are also sometimes known as voluntary foreclosures. This is because despite having enough money to pay off your loan, you choose to allow your property to go into foreclosure.

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Loan Modification Process: Like a Ride on a Ferris Wheel

 Posted on January 27, 2015 in Arlington Heights Foreclosure Attorney

For many homeowners, a loan modification request is much like a ride on a Ferris wheel. The lender offers assistance through HAMP or some other federal program, raising hopes and expectations. Then, the bank suddenly withdraws its offer, many times based on technical grounds, such as turning in documents a day or two late, a Debt To Income ratio that is a few points too low or a Loan To Value ratio that is a few points too high. This rejection is followed swiftly by another assistance offer, and the wheel starts moving again.

All this time, the bank is generally not accepting partial payments, so the delinquency keeps getting higher and higher. Eventually, the Ferris wheel stops. The lender soberly declares that the delinquent amount is too high to be repaid. Foreclosure follows.

Negotiating Loan Modifications

When addressing requests for loan modifications, the lender has a duty to negotiate in good faith. In other words, the bank cannot deny a loan modification based on a technicality. If you are a reasonably good candidate for a loan modification, based on your current financial means, the bank's lawyer would be hard-pressed to offer an explanation to the judge as to why negotiations failed. Other options, such as a deed in lieu of foreclosure and a short sale, are also on the table.

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Good News on the Homefront: Fannie Mae Proposing Plans to Help Avoid Future Foreclosures

 Posted on November 21, 2014 in Arlington Heights Foreclosure Attorney

In 2008, the U.S. real estate market witnessed a devastating turn of events as the market erupted in a resounding collapse leading toward record-breaking foreclosures and the lowering of market value pricing across the U.S.

At the time, Dean Baker, co-director for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, based in Washington, D.C., laid blame on a lengthy list of “villains” responsible for the housing crisis as homeowners opted for foreclosure or watched as their equity holdings deeply plummeted.

Baker advised lenders that perhaps the best way to prevent any future bubble was to prevent the bubble from forming in the first place.

As per a recent article posted to The New York Times, it appears the largest government-based lenders may have taken Baker's advice into consideration.

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