What do you do if your house is in foreclosure? Do you put your head in the sand and enter into the financial crisis? Or do you launch a foreclosure defense?
Roy Oppenheim, a respected Florida real estate and foreclosure defense attorney, offered strategic advice for Florida homeowners in a recent interview on the talk show “Mind of Money” with Asset Protection Attorney Douglass Lodmell.
“The bank crisis is a wonderful opportunity to literally engage the bank in hand to hand combat. There’s an old expression that says to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. You need to bring the bank to you,” Oppenheim says.
Engage the bank like you would engage the enemy.
“Once you’ve engaged the bank, you can then attack them on their fraudulent documentation, if there is any. And more importantly you can engage them to do a short sale, a loan modification or a deed in lieu of foreclosure, or maybe a restructured foreclosure. There are many options.”
Of course, Oppenheim says, before you engage the bank you need to assemble a foreclosure defense team. The good news is the bank is usually willing to negotiate. Oppenheim says banks understand it could take 18 to 20 months—at a price tag of about $1,000 a month—to carry a piece of property that’s in foreclosure. The bank also risks sanctions for any illegal activity with the mortgage. Oppenheim says it’s in the bank’s best interest to find some sort of workout.
What if? The dreaded deficiency judgment.
“At the end of the day, our end game is to make sure that at all costs there is not a deficiency judgment against our clients.” None of our clients that we have defended from the beginning have had a deficiency judgment entered against them. “That may change. If we exhaust all options, we would consider bankruptcy.”
What if Florida homeowners have foreclosure issues and also many thousands of credit card debt? Oppenheim looks holistically at the situation and determines how best to approach it. That may mean asset protection, foreclosure defense, or filing for bankruptcy.
Right now, with banks in crisis, everything is negotiable. As Oppenheim sees it, now is the time to ask the tough questions and decide on the best strategy for your foreclosure defense.
More on what Oppenheim thinks about deficiency judgements and protecting your assets.