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Recent Blog Posts

How to Qualify for Short Sale

 Posted on July 05, 2013 in Foreclosure

Purchasing a home requires planning and budgeting skills. Mortgage payments must be included on family calendars and paid on time. The joys of home ownership are great, but can require sacrifice. When hardships happen, it can make the home ownership even more stressful and financially difficult. In Illinois home owners do have the option of a short sale for their homes to quickly get rid of a home they no longer can afford.

Short sale is selling a property for less than what is still owed to the lender. In Illinois you must show that you have actual financial hardships that make it unable for you to make payments and better for you and the lender to rid the property lower than owed.

Typically, lenders will move forward with a short sale if the qualifications are met. You must show that you have lost a job, are receiving a reduction in income, business closure, divorce, illness/medical expenses, physically able to take care of the house, death in family, military duty or even a change in terms of your mortgage that make it unable to make payments. After notifying the lender of your intention to do a short sale, waiting for the approval and the amount you can go under to sell can be a nerve wrecking process. A bottom line price from the lender will help you negotiate your sale.

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Defendants face life in Chicago ID-fraud case

 Posted on April 05, 2013 in Uncategorized

According to a recent article, a very long, complicated scheme centered in Chicago but that included a murder in Mexico City ended Tuesday with three defendants facing mandatory life sentences.

This entire operation was based in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. The scheme lasted for at least 15 years until it was broken up in 2007. In total, it generated somewhere around $3 million in annual sales of fake Social Security cards, driver's licenses, and various other documents.

Jurors determined Tuesday that Julio Leija-Sanchez, his brother Manuel Leija-Sanchez, and Gerardo Salazer-Rodrigues would all get mandatory life sentences for racketeering conspiracy because of the fact that it involved murder. This occurred one of the last stages of a six-week trial.

On Monday, the jury returned with three guilty verdicts on multiple counts.

Salazar-Rodriguez was who carried out the murder of a rival in Mexico City in 2007. According to prosecutors, he fired more than a dozen shots into a taxicab.

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New Foreclosure Law In Illinois

 Posted on March 09, 2013 in Foreclosure

The worst of the housing crisis that began in 2007 is over, but the ripple effects continue to plague the economy and American homeowners and likely will for some time to come. According to RealtyTrac, 1 in every 869 housing units in the country received a foreclosure filing in January 2013, which is still a staggering number. Illinois was one of the worst states for foreclosures in January of this year, having 14,090 foreclosed properties in the month—one in every 375 units in the state, a number well above the national average. In fact, next to Florida and California, Illinois is ranked third in the nation for total number of foreclosures.

In February of this year, according to ABC News Local, “the Illinois Supreme Court has developed rules that require lenders to exhaust all efforts to help a homeowner before they can move forward with foreclosure.” This could help embattled homeowners to keep their properties, and was developed by Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis after “seeing deceptive practices impacting homeowners” in the state.

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Bank to Compensate Thousands of Wrongfully Foreclosed U.S. Homeowners

 Posted on March 02, 2013 in Foreclosure

British bank HSBC is going to pay $96 million to American homeowners and over $150 million in mortgage relief because its U.S. division unjustly foreclosed on homeowners who had the right to stay in their homes, the Huffington Post reported on January 18. HSBC will pay almost $100 million in cash compensation to over 110,000 homeowners. Additionally, the bank will have to pay $153 million, which will be used “toward reducing mortgage balances and forgiving outstanding principal on home sales that generated less than borrowers owed on their mortgages.” A single homeowner can expect a compensation that can range from several hundreds of dollars to $125,000, depending on the type of error made.

The settlement is similar to deals with 12 other banks, and in total, the 13 banks will pay $9.3 billion. The settlements may compensate homeowners who lost their homes due to improper foreclosure practices such as “robo-signing.” However, consumer advocates think that regulators settled for too low a compensation. After all, the effects of foreclosure can be devastating to families.

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Some Attorneys Involved in Loan Modification Scams

 Posted on February 28, 2013 in Loan Modification

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is warning consumers not to be taken in by bogus home loan modification scams. The organization is seeing more and more attorneys lending their name to fraudulent companies promising owners loan modifications and lower mortgage payments in return for thousands upfront. But the companies fail to deliver and the homeowner is out all the money they put up.

Lawyer's Committee recently filed a lawsuit against one of those attorneys, Rory M. Alarcon, a New York licensed lawyer. They say that Alarcon defrauded 17 homeowners out of tens of thousands of dollars by promising loan modifications with lower mortgage payments. The alleged victims are claiming losses from $2,500 to $8,000 apiece.

Of the seven loan modification lawsuits that the committee has filed in New York, this is the fourth one involving an attorney. Attorneys involved in these alleged scams appear to have found a legal loophole that enables them to charge upfront fees – a practice that is prohibited by the Federal Trade Commission. However, attorneys may charge clients in advance for assistance if the service is part of their general practice of law, and not outside of that practice.

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Baby Boomers Experience Mortgage Issues, Foreclosures

 Posted on February 05, 2013 in Foreclosure

Now that mortgages rates have lowered, people are looking to refinance their homes in order to keep them. To be eligible for refinancing a mortgage, applicants must have good credit ratings and a steady income source. This presents a problem for older people who could really benefit from easier mortgage payments.

The AARP has released many figures that document the financial state of those considering retirement. More than 1.5 million individuals over the age of 50 have lost their homes since 2007. More than 3.5 million are currently at risk of foreclosure. More than 16% of homes owned by the baby boomers are underwater or lack the equity to refinance leading to foreclosures for those who are on a fixed budget.

It is also compounded by the fact that more people are still paying their mortgages after they have retired. “More older Americans are carrying mortgage debt than in the past, and the amount of that debt is also increasing…leading to their worsening situation,” said AARP vice president for policy Debra Whitman. “It's one thing if your housing value goes down in your 50s. It's another thing if you're 75. For some people, it's not like you can go back to work.”

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New Fiscal Cliff Tax Extensions Helps Short Sales

 Posted on January 17, 2013 in Foreclosure

Many news reports from the last few months have talked about the “fiscal cliff” and how badly consumers and businesses would be affected by increased taxes. At the last moment, Washington came to an agreement about how the tax breaks would be handled, if that meant modifying them, extending them or letting them expire at the end of 2012. One tax measure included the decision was the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief act of 2007.

This act benefits people who are planning to unload their houses and who have underwater mortgages. A short sale allows the principal to be reduced by a mortgage lender and helps avoid foreclosures. But, without the extension of this tax break, people who complete short sales could be responsible for punitive taxes on the forgiven amount.

The good news for those looking to short sell their homes is that the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief act was extended to the end of 2013. The tax benefit also helps people who have experienced a reduction of principal, foreclosure, or deed in lieu of foreclosure, though it helps short sales the most.

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November Foreclosure Rates Up From A Year Ago

 Posted on December 24, 2012 in Foreclosure

In Illinois, 13,520 properties received foreclosure letters last month—equating to roughly one out of every 392 houses in the state. This figure is up 9 percent from November 2011, and puts Illinois only behind Florida and Nevada in terms of foreclosure rates.

Illinois' Cook County had the highest figures in the state: 2,299 homes received initial notices of default, 2,651 homes were scheduled for court-ordered sales, and 2,086 homes were repossessed by lenders. The cities of Rockford and Chicago ranked 11th and 13th in foreclosure rates.

Nationally, more than 59,000 homes were repossessed, a 5 percent rise from last November. In addition, the number of homes that became bank-owned rose on a year-over-year basis for the first time since October 2010.

However, according to an article from the Chicago Tribune, foreclosure trends are heading in the right direction. Although Illinois' foreclosure rates have increased from a year ago, the numbers have dropped 9 percent from October 2012. In Cook, DuPage, Kendall, Will, Kane, and Lake Counties, the figure has dropped 10.5 percent from October. Experts are viewing this as a positive sign, saying that we are past the worst of the housing problems.

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Resources for Distressed Homeowners

 Posted on December 15, 2012 in Foreclosure

Illinois is one of several states in the US that is still experiencing a large amount of foreclosures. The results from October of this year have the foreclosure rate increasing by 6% over September. Compared to October of last year, that rate has increased by 19%.

The good news is that state and federal governments have noticed these trends and have stepped in to help. Take the federal program Hardest Hit as an example. This program was created in 2011 to offer relief to the unemployed and underemployed homeowners. They have dispersed over $57 million to residents of Illinois up to $25,000 per resident.

Since Illinois ranks third in the nation in past due home loans, there are other steps that the state is doing to help Illinois residents. There has been a push recently to fund more counseling programs for distressed home owners. This counseling has proved very beneficial according to Illinois Housing Development Authority. The executive director of IHDA Mary Kenney said that defaulting homeowners who receive counseling have a 50 percent better chance to receive a loan modification. They are also 67 percent less likely to fall into default again.

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Foreclosure Rate Remains High in Illinois

 Posted on October 22, 2012 in Foreclosure

In last August, the foreclosure rate of Illinois was the highest in the nation. However, it has decreased gradually in September and October, although the rate still remains relatively high, according to the Chicago Tribune.

In September, over 14,000 homes in Illinois were the subject of a foreclosure filing. The filings included initial notices of default, notices that a court-ordered sale of the property had been scheduled, and homes repossessed by the lender. In Cook County, which has the highest population of any county in the state, the foreclosure rate decreased from August of this year, but is 18 percent higher than a year ago in September. Foreclosure matters should be handled with the assistance of highly qualified attorneys.

Foreclosure rates have declined on a national level and have been lowest this year since July of 2007. The national decline is driven by improvement in large states which do not rely on the courts to process actions. For example, in California, Texas, Arizona and Michigan the situation has improved during the year, according to Realty Trac, which collects foreclosure data from all over the country. In states such as Illinois and Florida, where the foreclosure process is handled by local court systems, the average time to foreclosure is still high. On average, it takes almost 700 days to complete a foreclosure action in Illinois.

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