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Foreclosure Defense

Why Fight Foreclosure?

Foreclosure DefenseJust like the bank, you have powerful rights. Rights that include forcing the bank to prove their case which requires more than just saying you are behind on your mortgage. The bank needs to not only prove that you owe them the money, they need to show how they calculated the amount due, and that they actually own the mortgage. Believe it or not, many times that is more easily said than done. If the bank can’t prove the case, the foreclosure stops. .
So what are you going to do? Do you want to roll over and just let the bank take your home? Or do you want to stay in your home as long as possible? If you’re ready to fight – and win – then call me.

Who am I? I’m an attorney who’s been helping people just like you with all kinds of problems for over 15 years. I’m also a father and a husband, a homeowner like you. I know how tough it is to pack up your family and uproot your entire life. I also know there’s a way out, and a way to hold off foreclosure. I’m not talking about bankruptcy, refinance, or workout. I’m not trying to sell you some foreclosure rescue scam. All I’m offering is a chance to fight back against the mortgage company, make them prove the case, and get you a year or more in your home until things get worked out one way or another without worrying about the foreclosure sale.

It is possible to have the foreclosure case dismissed, and in some cases we may argue that your rights have been violated giving you the chance to sue the mortgage company or lender for damages. I’m not making any guarantees, but when mortgage companies break the law they can be held liable.

I can help. But only if you’re serious about saving your home and reducing the stress once and for all. If you are, give me a call.


Stop, Prevent or Reverse Mortgage Foreclosure

The sub-prime mortgage financing crisis has caused severe consequences for homeowners, resulting in an increase in foreclosures all across the country, but especially in the state of Florida. Many borrowers have missed mortgage payments, received default notices and received foreclosure notices.

At the Law Offices of Andrew D. Tarr, P.A. we use our experience with the mortgage lending industry and understanding of the residential real estate market to help clients resolve mortgage foreclosure problems without the need to file for bankruptcy relief.


We have a two pronged mortgage foreclosure defense strategy:


1.Intervention: Prevent, stop, or reverse foreclosure.

First, we intervene on your behalf to defend you in mortgage foreclosure proceedings, or, in necessary cases, to reopen default judgments. Our goal here is to stop the process of losing your house.

2.Aid you in reaching long-term solutions and preserving your financial interests.

We use our comprehensive knowledge of real estate law, sound mortgage lending practices, and residential real estate markets to find the best long-term solution for your specific circumstances.

The first thing to remember is that even if your home is currently in foreclosure that does not mean that the proceedings have to continue to completion. For example, If you were a victim of predatory lending or a mortgage rescue scam (you may be and just not know it), there are many avenues available for your defense, and Florida mortgage foreclosure defense attorney Andrew D. Tarr may be able to help you turn the tables on the lenders. We know the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Home Ownership Equity Protection Act (HOEPA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), as well as an array of state laws designed to protect you.

What if you learned that your mortgage company was deliberately lying to you in order to take your home away from you?

What if the bank didn’t own the mortgage anymore? What if the bank claims that the Promissory Note was either lost, misplaced or stolen?

What if the bank added or made up junk fees and charges just to drain your equity and keep it in their pocket?

Would you fight for your home, or would you just let the bank throw you and your family to the curb?

What if you ran into an unexpected medical expense or loss of your job? Maybe you r adjustable-rate mortgage skyrocketed and went through the roof and before you know it, you were "upside down" on the property and a stranger is knocking on your door with foreclosure papers.


YOU SHOULD FEEL A LITTLE BETTER NOW BECAUSE YOU HAVE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE.

Florida mortgage foreclosure defense attorney Andrew D. Tarr will explain to you that foreclosure is just a lawsuit brought by the bank to take back your home. You have the right to fight that lawsuit. In order for a bank to have the right to foreclose on your home, they must take specific steps, in the correct order, and in the right amount of time.

Be assured that the mortgage banks do their best to hide things from you. Without an experienced foreclosure lawyer like Andrew D. Tarr, you’re probably not going to be able to fight back.

So you are asking yourself, "What do I do? Where do I go from here?

Bankruptcy lawyers will try to get you to file for bankruptcy. Real estate lawyers will try to get you to sell your home. And then there are all the scam artists out there who promise they will “work with” the lender to get you out for foreclosure.

You can follow the scammers, or you can get smart.
Be smart and get serious help from Florida mortgage foreclosure defense attorney Andrew D. Tarr to stop the foreclosure process. Andrew D. Tarr defends foreclosure cases throughout the state of Florida. He can take immediate action to avoid foreclosure and save your home. If you’re in foreclosure and are ready to fight back to save your home, you’re in the right place. Never forget, you are not alone.

I have compiled the following useful information that may help you understand a little bit more about the big picture. It is not legal advice, and nothing on this website should be construed as advice.


RESPA And Foreclosure

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a consumer protection statute designed to help mortgage borrowers level the playing field with lenders, and eliminate illegal fees that make mortgages more expensive. RESPA requires that borrowers receive disclosures that show closing costs, lender practices, and relationships among the companies that provide services before, during and after closing. RESPA also prohibits kickbacks and referral fees. RESPA covers loans secured with a mortgage placed on a one-to-four family residential property.

Disclosures Required At The Time Of Loan Application
When you apply for a mortgage loan, mortgage brokers and/or lenders must give you a Good Faith Estimate of settlement costs, which lists the charges the buyer is likely to pay at settlement. This is only an estimate and the actual charges may differ. If a lender requires the borrower to use a particular settlement provider, then the lender must disclose this requirement on the GFE. The lender must also provide a Mortgage Servicing Disclosure Statement, which discloses whether the lender intends to service the loan or transfer it to another lender. It also provides information about complaint resolution.

Disclosures at Closing
A HUD-1 Settlement Statement shows the actual closing costs. In addition, the lender must provide an Initial Escrow Statement showing the estimated taxes, insurance premiums and other charges expected to be paid from the Escrow Account during the first twelve months of the loan.

Disclosures after Closing
Loan servicers must deliver to borrowers an Annual Escrow Statement once a year. The annual Escrow account statement summarizes all escrow account deposits and payments during the servicer’s twelve month computation year. It also notifies the borrower of any shortages or surpluses in the account and advises the borrower about the course of action being taken.

A Servicing Transfer Statement is required if the loan servicer sells or assigns the servicing rights to a borrower’s loan to another loan servicer. Generally, the loan servicer must notify the borrower 15 days before the effective date of the loan transfer. As long the borrower makes a timely payment to the old servicer within 60 days of the loan transfer, the borrower cannot be penalized. The notice must include the name and address of the new servicer, toll-free telephone numbers, and the date the new servicer will begin accepting payments.


Why Is RESPA Important In Foreclosure?

A lender or servicer that fails to comply with RESPA may be held liable for monetary damages and legal fees. In other words, if a mortgage company or lender decides not to pay attention to the law it could mean big problems – and Florida mortgage foreclosure defense attorney Andrew D. Tarr will be sure to find out.


Foreclosure Alternatives

Foreclosure is traumatic, a terrible experience that uproots your family and forces you to find a new place to call home. But when you fall behind on your mortgage payments and can’t keep up, there are options. Some of them are realistic and others are nothing but scams designed to separate you from your money. Real estate brokers, “hard money” lenders, and foreclosure rescue companies will do everything possible to convince you that there are no options left but what they’re selling. You should always remember that to many people, you are an easy target. You’re seen as desperate, and the vultures smell blood.

It’s important for you to know all of your options, good or bad. They are (in no particular order): Before making a decision, investigate all of your options. Your home is valuable - and not only in dollars and cents. Take the time to make the right decision rather than being rushed or pressured by someone who’s only goal is to take more money out of your pocket.


Deed-In-Lieu

A Deed in Lieu of foreclosure occurs when a mortgage borrower voluntarily surrendered the property to the lender in exchange for being released from all obligations under the mortgage. A DIL of foreclosure may not be accepted from mortgagors who can financially make their mortgage payments.

Why A Deed-In-Lieu of Foreclosure May Not Work . . .
Your mortgage bank may not want to take the house from you, preferring to rack up needless expenses and legal fees in order to drain your equity. Look at it this way – if the bank takes the house back without a foreclosure lawsuit, they can’t tack on additional fees and costs. When they add all of those fees and costs they can still chase you for the money even after the house is sold. It’s a win-win for the bank – they get the house AND they get more money from you.

Why You May Not Want A Deed-In-Lieu of Foreclosure . . .
When you do a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, you are giving up the fight too easily. You surrender your home without forcing the bank to actually prove its case. Your home is gone, your family forced to move, and your credit wrecked for years to come.
Short Sales

A short sale is when a lender agrees to accept less than the full amount due on a mortgage when a property is sold. The lender will sometimes accept the short sale to avoid the time and expense of a foreclosure. Though more and more properties are being sold in short sales, it can be extremely difficult to get these deals done because they require the approval of not only the buyer and the seller, but also the mortgage-servicing company. Before deciding that this is the route to take, remember that this is not a road without bumps. In fact:

• It can take weeks or months to get mortgage companies to respond to an offer.
• Mortgage servicers may balk at the purchase price.
• Homeowners may have more than one loan on the property, slowing the process.

But I Want To Sell My House Today – Not In Four Months!
If your home is going into foreclosure, you don’t have the luxury of a lot of time to get the deal done. If it’s going to work it needs to work fast – and short sales just don’t work that way. The most frequent frustration is the fact that servicers take an average of 41⁄2 weeks to provide an answer on a potential short sale, with some taking two months or more to respond. Deals can fall apart because the mortgage company rejects the price that has been agreed upon by the buyer and seller. Long delays in getting an answer from the mortgage servicer are another obstacle.

Gathering all the information needed to evaluate a short-sale offer can take time – a lot of time. The loan servicer must first determine whether the homeowner really can’t continue meeting the loan payments, then get an appraisal or broker’s opinion of the home’s value. Mortgage servicers also try to ensure that the proposed sale is an “arm’s length” transaction between two parties rather than, say, a sale to a relative on sweet terms. They must also determine whether the buyer has sufficient funds or the ability to get a loan. If all those hurdles are cleared, the servicer may still need to get approval from the investor that owns the loan.

The success rate for short-sale offers is very low - in fact, some industry figures estimate that 20% of short-sale offers in the area lead to completed sales.

More Than One Mortgage Means More Problems
There are additional complications if you have a mortgage and a home-equity loan. In that case, both parties must approve the deal - which is difficult if the sales price may not even be enough to cover the mortgage balance. Your mortgage company may approve the deal, only to have it fall apart when it hits the home equity lender. With a foreclosure looming, the last thing you need is to have the short sale option disappear at the last minute.

Mortgage Companies Hate Short Sales
Some servicers don’t approve short sales because they want borrowers to look into alternatives to keep the home – and ensure that the mortgage gets paid. The servicer will do anything possible to keep you in the home rather than taking a loss. Many would prefer to see you in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because at least they will get paid through the court Plan.

Short Sales = Credit Problems, Tax Problems
Also, the IRS may come after the borrowers for income taxes on the amount of the shortfall. If the shortfall was forgiven, the IRS may consider that forgiveness as income and try to collect taxes on this amount. In addition, a short sale will wreck your credit the same way as a foreclosure. The only difference is that in a foreclosure situation you are going to have the chance to fight the mortgage company – in a short sale, you’re rolling over and giving them everything they want.


Stopping Foreclosure With Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be mistaken as legal advice.

For some homeowners, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be an effective way to stop foreclosure and give you time to catch up on the past due payments. In most cases, something called an “automatic stay” is entered as soon as a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is filed. This stops the foreclosure, giving you the time you need to propose a plan to repay the past due amount over a period of time that can stretch up to five years.

You will be responsible for proposing a Plan that shows your income, expenses, and the amount you propose to pay towards the mortgage arrears each month. You are also required to make your new mortgage payments and to keep them current.

The bankruptcy judge will determine whether your Plan is considered adequate to repay the mortgage arrears. Once the judge confirms the Plan you can rest assured that the foreclosure will not go forward so long as you abide by the terms of the Plan.
Though Chapter 13 is an extremely effective way to stop a foreclosure – and the only legal way to force a lender to stop taking action – it should be the last resort for you. If you file a Chapter 13 and the case is dismissed for any reason, you may be limited in the scope of the automatic stay the next time out.

In addition, when you file a Chapter 13 you are required to make your new mortgage payments as well as propose – and follow through on – a plan to repay the arrears. If you are unemployed or have insufficient income this may not be a realistic option for you.


Foreclosure Rescue Scams

Here’s the situation: your home goes into foreclosure and suddenly it’s as if you’re on every mailing list in town. Everyone is offering something to you, some way to get out of foreclosure.

What’s real and what’s not?
Welcome to the world of the foreclosure rescue scam, where someone waltzes into your life and promises to make it all go away. But remember - if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

The most common form of foreclosure rescue scam occurs when someone takes an up-front fee, usually $1,000 or more, to solve the your foreclosure problems, and then does little or nothing, pocketing the money.

Other versions of the scam involve something called “equity stripping,” when the scammer convinces you to sign over the title to your home with the promise that you will rent for a year or two and then take the title back. Frequently the “rescuer” will re-sell the house and run off with your money - and the profits from the sale.

Sometimes the home owner knows legal ownership is changing hands, counting on the promise to be able to redeem it later. But other times the con artist tricks the owner by burying the title in a mountain of official-looking paperwork to close the deal.

How do you tell the difference between a con artist and a reputable professional? Do your homework - and don’t assume that a slick website means that the company is legitimate. Call the Better Business Bureau, the state attorney general, the Federal Trade Commission and, if the professional is a lawyer, the state bar.

Above all, remember that the best thing you can do when it comes to foreclosure is seek competent legal advice from a local lawyer who has experience in handling foreclosure problems. Whatever the solution proposed, be prepared to take an active role in working through the situation until the end - if you just sit back and do nothing, you’re probably not going to end up happy about the result.


Mortgage Mediation - A Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Florida Supreme Court has offered a lifeline to struggling homeowners who are facing foreclosure of their primary residences.  Before losing their homes to foreclosure, homeowners are now entitled to undergo mortgage mediation before a foreclosure can be finalized.

Andrew Tarr is a Mortgage Mediation lawyer who will guide and counsel you through the process and ensure that the Lender participates in good faith and gives you the opportunity that the Supreme Court of Florida says you deserve.

What is Mortgage Mediation?

Mortgage Mediation is a form of alternate dispute resolution that gives you the right to a face to face meeting with your lender in an effort to modify the terms of your loan in accordance with federal modification programs, or your lender's own in house modification program.  It is a light at the end of the tunnel that could keep you in your home.

Mortgage Mediation starts with independent financial counseling with a State of Florida certified financial counselor who reviews your personal financial situation in advance of forwarding it to the Lender.  The Law Offices of Andrew Tarr will assist you with preparation of the financial package that will be submitted to the certified financial counselor and ensure that your Lender participates in the Mediation in good faith.  We are there for your every step of the way.

What could happen at Mortgage Mediation?

While a loan modification that would enable you to keep your home is one possible outcome, other negotiated agreements might include short sales or simply surrendering the property to the lender through a deed in lieu of (instead of) foreclosure.

What kind of loan Qualifies For Mortgage Mediation?
 
Mortgage Mediation does not apply to second or vacations homes, or to commercial or investment properties.  It only applies to loans involving your primary residence that qualifies as your homestead.
 
Is participation required?
 
Participation is not mandatory for borrowers, who may chose to opt-out. However, participation by lenders is required. Mortgage mediators must be from HUD-certified nonprofit credit counseling agencies

Why should you participate?

Traditional loan modification can be extremely frustrating due to the endless distance between you and your lender.  Mortgage Mediation requires the lender to have their attorney and their representative present at mediation.  If the Lender fails to participate in the mediation in good faith, they may be subject to penalties by the Court and they may not be able to proceed with foreclosure.

The order requires that borrowers have the opportunity to meet with their lender and, with the aid of a certified mortgage counselor, try to work out an alternative solution to foreclosure. The lender would be able to proceed with foreclosure if no agreement is reached.

 

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Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision. For further information about our credentials, please call or write.