Foreclosure Solutions are varied and need to be combined and tailored to every client’s specific circumstances to maximize a client’s ability to save their home.
a) The Foreclosure Crisis – As you must be aware there is presently a foreclosure crisis in the United States, which has seriously affected our Long Island and New York areas, due to many factors: sub-prime loans, overly aggressive lending and borrowing, a rapidly rising and rapidly falling real estate market and many other global forces that are decreasing our ability to earn the same real incomes as in the past. In this turmoil many homeowners to their dismay have found themselves in arrears on their mortgages and in foreclosure or threatened by foreclosure. Yet, despite the many hardships caused by this crisis, in the last few years more programs, policies, court decisions and laws have been enacted to give homeowners a better chance to save their homes. Because homeowners are frequently confused as to their options, and because the advice of their mortgage holders can be inaccurate and/or misleading, a homeowner threatened by foreclosure or in foreclosure needs to quickly get reliable information from an attorney who concentrates in this area.
b) Foreclosure Solution Strategies – Saving homes from foreclosure often involves combining strategies: Defending AND Negotiating. A homeowner in arrears with their mortgage or in actual foreclosure needs to gain both Time AND Leverage in order to best increase their possibilities of successfully saving their home. The different solutions to foreclosure – modification negotiations, foreclosure litigation defense, and bankruptcy – overlap and often reinforce each other. We represent clients in every type of foreclosure solution.
c) Deciding on Which Foreclosure Solution to Pursue– Foreclosure Solutions are varied and depend on many factors; they include litigation (answering the Complaint, defending the foreclosure action, and Emergency Orders to Show Cause), negotiations (mortgage modifications, forbearance agreements and short sales), and bankruptcy (chapters 13, 7 or 11). We can advise and represent our clients in all of the possible solutions to the foreclosure process; these potential solutions are reviewed based on the client’s goals and the stage of the foreclosure proceeding. In order to decide which Foreclosure Solution to pursue, we ask our clients several important questions as follows: i) At what stage is the foreclosure?; ii) What is your main goal as to the house?; and iii) What is your main financial difficulty in terms of the mortgage? We explore and offer to our clients the possibility of all Foreclosure Solutions as follows:
- A Negotiated Modification Agreement with the Mortgage Holder – A modification negotiation can be attempted when the homeowner first falls into arrears and prior to and throughout the foreclosure proceeding. However, it is usually a strong option prior to the initiation of the foreclosure, and in the early/middle part of the foreclosure process, for a client that hopes to keep their home. By obtaining an advantageous change in their mortgage terms (the rate is lowered, the duration of the loan expanded and the arrears are resolved over the modified loan), homeowners end the danger of foreclosure and are in a better position to keep up with their payments which are often lowered. Because modifications are consensual on the part of lenders, the effort to modify is often accompanied by other legal efforts on the part of the borrowers.
- A Litigated Defense of the Foreclosure Action – A litigated defense of the foreclosure action, initiated by filing an answer or motion to dismiss, needs to take place 20-30 days after a client had been served with the Summons and Complaint in the foreclosure action. Foreclosure Defense also involves discovery, motion practice and attending settlement conferences. If the foreclosure is nearing the end and/or if a foreclosure sale is scheduled, an Emergency Order to Show Cause in the state supreme court may obtain a “stay” of the foreclosure sale. Foreclosure defense focuses on defects in the foreclosure process and is used to slow down the foreclosure to give time and leverage to the client so as to increase the likelihood of a successful resolution through other negotiated means.
- A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case Designed to Allow a Cure Over Time for the Mortgage Arrears – A Chapter 13 case, unlike a mortgage modification, is non-consensual and therefore allows more certainty in stopping the foreclosure action through the “automatic stay” which goes into effect immediately upon the filing of a bankruptcy case. Under Chapter 13 the client needs to catch up on mortgage arrears under a 5 year plan while going back to making regular mortgage payments. Chapter 13 is usually filed later in the foreclosure process by homeowners who have not been able to or who do not want to wait to get a modification, or who need to stop a foreclosure sale. Assuming that a client can make the monthly payments required under the Chapter 13 plan, this is good structured method of saving a home from foreclosure.
- A Voluntary Sale of the Property, Pursuant to a Contract of Sale – A voluntary sale is often a “Short Sale” since many properties in foreclosure are “upside down” in that the mortgage payoff exceeds the fair market value of the property. A voluntary sale requires a qualified buyer who has entered into a contract with the homeowner in foreclosure. If the sale is a short sale the contract needs to be conditioned on consent by the lender who needs to agree, pursuant to negotiation efforts, to accept such lesser amount as the full payoff.
- A Refinancing of the Property – If there is still equity in a house and the homeowner is eligible for refinancing or a reverse mortgage, obtaining a refinancing of the property is a potential method of paying off the arrears that may otherwise cause a foreclosure.
- A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case Designed to Eliminate Debt – Often the homeowner in arrears on their mortgage also has considerable other unsecured debt due to their overall financial difficulty. A Chapter 7 case could discharge the client’s credit card, personal loans and other unsecured debt so that the client may have a better likelihood of obtaining a modification, without the burden of a considerable amount of debt that would otherwise diminish from the client’s ability to make payments under a potential modification.
d) Stopping Foreclosure Auction Sales on an Emergency Basis– If the client is in a foreclosure action that already has proceeded for a period of time, and is nearing a foreclosure sale, the Law Office of Ronald D. Weiss, P.C. can file an Emergency Order to Show Cause or an emergency Chapter 13 or a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, under appropriate circumstances, to stop a foreclosure sale in an attempt to assert the client’ s rights and to give the client more time to attempt to resolve their situation and/or to cure their arrears.
e) The Potential Benefits of Foreclosure Solutions and the Role of our Law Office – The experience of the attorney representing the client is a critical factor in the client’s success when attempting to save their home from foreclosure. Since 1993 we have successfully represented numerous Long Island, Nassau County & Suffok County homeowners in foreclosure and have helped many of them permanently save their homes and re-establish their financial stability. When a homeowner is in foreclosure the legal options available to them to resolve and/or stop the foreclosure need to be carefully pursued. Such legal options are limited in terms of the number of times they can be pursued and when and how they can be pursued. Let us help you in your efforts to save your home with experience and expertise that is both affordable and personable.
Our consultations are free, the advice may be invaluable.
Contact us by phone at (631) 271-3737, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to discuss legal options your legal options in terms of stopping or preventing foreclosure.