If you missed Oppenheim Law’s November foreclosure defense workshop: Toxic Foreclosures and Bank Fraud, you can view the replay on the Oppenheim Law TV Channel or sign up for the December 8th special edition foreclosure defense workshop hosted by Roy Oppenheim.
Below are some questions and answers from the workshop:
How does a lawyer get the judge to do the right thing in following their responsibilities of a judge?
If a judge makes a bad decision, a judge can be appealed. If the judge is not following law or makes a bad decision, they can be appealed and the decision can be reversed
What typically happens when the bank trying to foreclose does not own the mortgage? Does it get dismissed until the proper mortgage holder is located?
It should get dismissed as a matter of law. However, judges love to give banks a lot of chances to get it right, so the judges will usually allow the case to continue to the summary judgment stage. At that point, if the bank still can’t produce an assignment then the summary judgement will be denied. This is not good law, but rather the judge made lore that has no precedence other than for appellate courts to tell the lower courts to knock it off. That happens frequently these days, but not often enough.
Around 11 million Americans owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Some economists suggest that the government should encourage banks to write down the principal of some underwater mortgages.
How can you guarantee that you are free from any deficiency judgment with a severely underwater mortgage?
As discouraging it is to lose your place to foreclosure, borrowers may still be liable for the deficiency amount. It’s the difference of what’s owed on the house loan and what the bank could sell for at an auction. “Deficiency judgments” can come after ex-borrowers at any unexpected time frame after they have lost their house.
It can be an unpleasant shock for borrowers who have sold their home via a short sale arrangement where the bank approved selling the property for an amount less than the mortgage debt.
Unlike many other states, in Florida, if you are foreclosed upon and the mortgage balance exceeds the property’s value, the Bank will likely try and come after you for the balance. That process is called a deficiency judgment.
If the Bank gets a deficiency against you, the deficiency judgment will be recorded in the public records and will be collectable for up to 20 years. In fact, even after you die the Bank can collect against your estate.
Unfortunately, when South Florida homeowners walk away from their mortgages without hiring an attorney they expose themselves to the likelihood of having their wages or bank accounts garnished. Oppenheim Law tries very hard to avoid our clients ever being subjected to a deficiency. Whether we end off modifying the loan, arranging a short sale or referring the client to bankruptcy counsel, our Florida foreclosure defense attorneys will not let our clients be subjected to the indignity of having to be enslaved to a debt for up to 20 years after loss of the property.
Oppenheim Law has not yet had a deficiency judgment entered against any of their clients. Some clients only come to our South Florida foreclosure defense attorneys after the bank has foreclosed. Oppenheim Law still defends these clients against the bank’s attempt to have a South Florida deficiency judgment entered against them. We challenge the banks and frequently are able to negotiate an acceptable solution.
Strategic default is increasing daily for those who have no other choice. How can Oppenheim Law help homeowners?
Strategic default, or strategic foreclosure, is a process by which homeowners who can afford to continue making their monthly mortgage payments, make a calculated financial decision to default on their mortgage in order to improve the likelihood of getting out from an underwater property.
Strategic default is also often the first step for homeowners looking to execute a short sale, loan modification or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Strangely, banks will usually not even consider a request for any of these real estate options unless a borrower is at least one month behind on their mortgage payments. Homeowners are being forced into default by the banks’ inefficiency and unwillingness to offer meaningful assistance.
After doing the math and watching property values shrink in some instances to less than half of what’s owed on a mortgage, more than 1 million homeowners joined a growing group who have allowed the banks to file foreclosure against them in order to get a strategic advantage in negotiations with the bank.
According to the Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index, strategic default accounted for one third of all the first quarter foreclosures in 2010.
If strategic default is an option you are considering, it is suggested you consult an attorney. Oppenheim Law can protect your rights during the strategic foreclosure process, prevent deficiency judgments and represent your interests during negotiations with your bank.
Need help? Contact Oppenheim Law today.