Articles Posted in Loan Modification

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Unfortunately, bankruptcy and foreclosure are often very related issues. Financial troubles leave many homeowners thinking they should simply walk away from their homes, especially if they owe more on the home than it is actually worth.

There may be good news on the horizon. Florida state courts currently have a mediation program that is intended to help homeowners negotiate with their mortgage lender and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. But the program has met a fair amount of criticism as not encouraging honest participation. Parties sometimes fail to show up and don’t always follow the terms of the agreement.

The program was a step in the right direction, however, and Florida’s federal courts have taken notice. And unlike Florida’s state program, the federal program has been very successful so far. It is still a relatively young program, but 90% of those who have used it have been approved for mortgage modifications.

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To say that the state court run Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation program has been a failure is an understatement. This program was created by the Florida Supreme Court in an attempt to help Florida citizens modify their home loans so that they’d not be foreclosed upon for being unable to pay. With only a 3.6 success rate, the Supreme Court of Florida is now considering termination of the program.

On the heels of this debate comes an attractive Federal Court alternative: forcing modification in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and using the threat of giving the home to the bank as a means of lowering principle and interest payments. This method started last year in Orlando, it appears to be working, and it makes total sense.

For a long time banks have been foreclosing on the homes of good people who can’t make their payments only to be unable to sell the property for anywhere near the debt owed. The banks can write-off this difference as a tax loss, but they can only claim so much tax loss each year. Jacksonville judges are now allowing debtors to file motions to force the lenders into mediation where we can show them what they’ll get if the debtor gives the house up in the bankruptcy vs. what they’ll get if they willingly drop principle and interest on the loan.

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Bankruptcy Mediation ModificationJacksonville Bankruptcy judges are following Orlando judge’s lead in granting bankruptcy debtors motions for court ordered mediation. These motions not only require banks to attend mediation in good faith, but they also require the debtor and banks to come prepared -with all the information and documentation that is required to do a modification. Taking things further, the court will require the bank to send an agent who has actual authority to perform the modification.

Many people fail to get loan modifications because the bank either, “lost the paperwork” or the documents became outdated when the bank had time to reviewed them. A lot of these people are eventually foreclosed on and are forced to bankrupt themselves to remove the liability.

Yes, for this to work the debtor will need to file bankruptcy, but it may be just what some debtors need to force banks to modify loans and keep their homes. If you’ve been trying to modify a loan and found the banks unresponsive and/or impossible to deal with, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer or call us at (904) 685-1200 for a free consultation and we’ll explore your options.

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A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement between you and the creditor that holds a secured lien on collateral that you have previously purchased. This reaffirms the debt that you owe the creditor. So if you own a car and you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can either surrender the collateral (give it back to the creditor), redeem the collateral (refinance through another company), or you can reaffirm the collateral by signing a reaffirmation agreement with the creditor and filing it with the court. This reaffirmation agreement basically says that you will be responsible for the debt just as you were before you filed the bankruptcy. If you do not do one of the above options, the creditor can repossess your vehicle.

As for your home, In re: Linderman dictates that you must also do one of the above options for your real property. So if you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and want to keep your home, you must sign a reaffirmation agreement with your mortgage company.

If you need help with your bankruptcy or want to know how to file a reaffirmation agreement, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today.

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No, there is not a minimum amount of debt that you must have in order to file a bankruptcy. You can file with any amount owed to any creditor. However, you will want to analyze whether a bankruptcy is in your financial best interest. Meaning that if you have a very low amount of debt with only a few creditors, it may be in your best interest to negotiate with those creditors to try to lower your amount due to them. A Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can possibly negotiate a debt settlement with your creditors for you. If the creditor has already filed a lawsuit against you, the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can defend the suit on your behalf and try to reach an amicable solution between you and your creditor.

Contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney at 904-685-1200 today for all your consumer law needs!

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Filing for bankruptcy will stop the future sale date of your home, even if there has been a final order foreclosing the property. This is due to an automatic stay that is immediately put into place upon filing for bankruptcy. Under the automatic stay, a creditor cannot take any action against you to try and collect a debt. So your foreclosure suit will halt immediately and your sale date will be cancelled; no more action will be taken in the case until the automatic stay is no longer in place.

The automatic stay will be effective until the conclusion of your bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7, this will probably be a short amount of time, around 4-6 months. But this extra time may give you the opportunity to catch up on your mortgage, achieve a modification, or sell your property. However, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your case will not be concluded until after your Plan payments are finished. This will be anywhere from 3-5 years. Within those years, your Plan will allow you the opportunity to catch up on arrearages and so cure your deficiency with your mortgage company.

There are many ways in which a bankruptcy might be in your financial best interest. Help with mortgages that are in default is just one way a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can help you. Call us today at 904-685-1200 to schedule a free consultation.

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Many people find that bankruptcy is the right option for them if they are having problems paying their mortgage. First, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can give you time to catch up on the arrearages that you owe through a Chapter 13 Plan. Also, your Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can file a motion within your bankruptcy requesting that your Judge order the mortgage company attend mediation, where your Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can negotiate on your behalf to reach an amicable resolution. Finally, if you feel that you cannot or do want to catch up on your mortgage and are ready to walk away from your house, surrendering the property in your bankruptcy will shield you from any liability from a deficiency judgment.

If you are behind on your mortgage, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today to discuss your options.

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bankruptcy-thumb-250x186-1907.jpgThere are many reasons that it would be advantageous to file for bankruptcy, but here are some of the most common reasons:

1. The first reason to file for bankruptcy is to stop a foreclosure sale. Filing for bankruptcy immediately stops a halts a foreclosure suit against you. This can give you time to reorganize your finances, try to sell your home, negotiate a modification, or find another place to live. Your chapter 13 Plan can let you catch up on your arrearages over a 5-year time span and so cure your default. If your home has been foreclosed upon, bankruptcy might be a good option for you.

2. Filing for bankruptcy not only stops a foreclosure suit, it halts almost all legal actions taken against you, such as a garnishment or auto repossession. If your auto is in danger of being repossessed, filing for bankruptcy will keep the creditor from doing so. You can value your auto in the bankruptcy and pay only fair market value to the creditor. This means that if you owe $20,000 on your auto and it is only worth $10,000. you can pay the $10,000 to the creditor through your bankruptcy and own the vehicle outright after your Plan is completed.

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A Florida homestead exemption dictates how much of the equity in your home you may keep away from creditors. This means that any equity you have above that amount must be paid to creditors. The federal homestead exemption amount is $21,165.00. The Florida homestead exemption amount is unlimited under certain circumstances. This means that in Florida, you can have any amount of equity in your home and your creditors cannot take it. This is great news for those in the Jacksonville area who are overwhelmed by their debt and are needing to file for bankruptcy. Contact a Orange Park bankruptcy attorney today to discuss how to keep your home by filing for bankruptcy.

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The original foreclosure mills are starting to drop like flies. The Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers Blog has an article on the fate of the latest victim of the foreclosure fraud crisis, Ben-Ezra & Katz who is shutting down its operations. While not as large as the David J Stern firm who shut down a few months ago Ben-Ezra & Katz had almost 600 employees. The company’s demise began in February when the company lost all of its foreclosure business from Fannie Mae due to the mishandling of Fannie Mae’s foreclosure files.

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