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Recent Blog Posts

More from RESPA

 Posted on February 15, 2012 in Foreclosure

Here are two (2) more affirmative defenses that come from violations of the Real Estate Settlement & Procedures Act, or RESPA for short:

1. If a lender accepted fees, kickbacks or other items of value in exchange for settlement services and or split fees and received unearned fees for services that the lender did not actually perform, there may be an affirmative defense for a RESPA violation.

2. If the lender did not provide annual escrow disclosure statements for each year of the mortgage since its inception, an affirmative defense may exist for a RESPA violation.

Please contact an attorney if you believe your lender engaged in the above actions.

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From TILA to RESPA

 Posted on February 10, 2012 in Foreclosure

 

The Real Estate Settlement & Procedures Act, or RESPA for short, is another possible source of affirmative defenses. RESPA is part of the U.S. Code and can be found at 12 U.S.C. Section 2601.

To begin:

1. An affirmative defense exists if a lender, at the time of the loan closing, charged a fee for the preparation of the truth in lending uniform settlement and escrow account statements.

2. An affirmative defense may also exist if the lender, at the time of the loan or within three (3) days after, failed to provide a special information booklet about the loan, a mortgage servicing and disclosure statement or a good faith estimate of settlement and closing costs to the defendant.

If you believe that one of the above may apply to your loan situation please contact an attorney. More RESPA defenses to follow.

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Time to play defense...affirmatively

 Posted on January 23, 2012 in Foreclosure

There are several affirmative defense that can be raised against a foreclosure action. One such affirmative defense that can be raised is for a violation of the Truth in Lending Act or TILA. The Truth in Lending Act is part of the United States Code: 15 U.S.C. Section 1601 et seq. as well as Regulation Z of 226 etseq.

Three of the numerous possible affirmative defenses for violations of TILA are:

1. The amount financed by the lender needs to be clearly stated and itemized in a real estate closing. Further, for consumer residential closings, banks are required to follow TILA when a consumer credit transaction involves a lien or security interest being placed in a principal dwelling or primary residence. If these requirements are not followed, the homeowner may be entitled to rescind the transaction.

2. There is an affirmative defense based on TILA if the lender fails to clearly and accurately state and disclose the number, amounts and timing of the payments scheduled to repay the loan or obligation.

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What is Mortgage Loan Forbearance?

 Posted on January 16, 2012 in Mortgage

Mortgage Foreclosure is a complex process that involves many different aspects and elements. Consequently, foreclosure defense is an area of law that encompasses a variety of legal issues. There are several different workout options that banks, lenders and borrowers must be aware of and consider. Sometimes lenders will offer a mortgage loan forbearance to a homeowner who is experiencing a temporary or short-term hardship.

Essentially, a mortgage forbearance is designed to allow a homeowner who has fallen behind on mortgage loan payments to become current on those payments over a condensed period of time. With a forebearance agreement, the lender basically gives the homeowner an extension, typically 6 months, to bring their payments current.

Sometimes the homeowner is charged for the delinquent amount in equal monthly installments over the forbearance period but some lenders will require the borrower pay part or all of the delinquency upfront. In some situations the lender will agree to a temporary suspension or reduction of mortgage payments. If a lender is willing to agree to reduce or suspend mortgage payments, the unpaid payments will be added to the principal of the loan and will be due when the loan matures. Forbearance agreements are negotiated between the lender and the borrower.

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What if I want to keep my house?

 Posted on December 30, 2011 in Foreclosure

There are many who do not want to leave their home even if they are underwater, meaning the amount owed on the mortgage is greater than the value of the home and property. One option for borrowers who really want to keep their house is a loan modification. A loan modification is when the bank alters the terms of a mortgage to reduce amount of the monthly payment. If the bank will give borrowers a better interest rate it may matter less that the house is underwater, especially if the home has unique characteristics or sentimental value. Sometimes borrowers are also able to obtain a reduction in principle through the loan modification process. It is not unusual to obtain 2% interest rate and extended terms of 40 years to help make mortgages more affordable.

Although anyone may apply for a loan modification, it is recommended that you consult a foreclosure defense attorney if a loan modification is a desirable option. Again, beware of “loan modification specialists” or other entities who will submit a modification application for a fee. Some of these are scams.

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Strategy...strategy...strategy...

 Posted on December 20, 2011 in Mortgage

For many borrowers, a strategic default is a good option. A strategic default is when the borrowers decides to stop making their mortgage payments. A strategic default generally is used for properties that are “under water”, meaning that the value of the property is lower than the debt owed. Why a strategic default? There are many reasons. For example, many banks will not consider loan modifications or other workout options unless the borrower is in default, meaning that the borrower has missed mortgage payments.

However, although a strategic default may be a viable option for many borrowers who are interesting in fighting back against the bank, there are many factors to consider. One such factor is that a strategic default will inevitably result in a negative credit rating. Those interested in pursuing a strategic default should consult an attorney for advice and further information.

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Lost Paperwork? Really?

 Posted on December 10, 2011 in Loan Modification

It is true that banks claim to lose loan modification paperwork. It is also true that thousands of homeowners throughout our country are frustrated by lenders clogging the loan modification process by losing paperwork. It is the norm within the mortgage modification industry that the bank loses paperwork and homeowners must re-submit paperwork over and over again. Bank of America has even been sued for withholding government funds intending to save homeowners from foreclosure and a basis of the claim is the excuse of lost of documents. The allegations are that Bank of America intentionally deferred or wrongfully declined mortgage modifications that should have fallen under the Home Assistance Modification Program otherwise known as “HAMP.” Perhaps this is most frustrating because banks have advised people to stop
paying their mortgage so that they can potentially qualify for a loan modification.

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Keep Proof of Everything...

 Posted on December 06, 2011 in Loan Modification

It is important when applying for a loan modification to have proof that the paperwork was forwarded to the lender to the address or fax number provided. It can be a defense to a foreclosure claim if a lender is not in compliance with what is expected of them under the HAMP program.

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Watch out for scams.

 Posted on December 02, 2011 in Foreclosure

It is not recommended anyone use an out of state service that claims it can help you through the foreclosure process as many of those are scams. Many of these services will also claim to be loan modification experts and offer to help negotiating a loan modification with your lender. Debt consolidation is another popular option to help in these troubled economic times but often fails. The best thing to do is contact a lawyer that works in the area of Foreclosure Defense and Strategic Default.

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Appraisals part of the problem?

 Posted on November 23, 2011 in Real Estate

Why has my property dropped more than 25% in value if housing prices have in general dropped approximately 25% over the past several years?

The answer maybe fraudulent bank appraisals – in many circumstances. Many appraisers were under pressure by banks and mortgage brokers to appraise properties at contract prices even though properties actually were not worth the appraised value. The consumer believed that the bank was willing to appraise the property out then it must be a good investment because why else would the bank loan money on the property. The consumer justifiably so relied on the banks sophistication to justify taking out loans.

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