Stop paying my second mortgage?

On December 13, 2010, in Foreclosure, by Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.

Can you stop paying your second mortgage?

Sure.

Should you stop paying your second mortgage?

Maybe not.

The prevailing theory is that if your home is worth less than what you owe on your 1st mortgage it is highly unlikely that the holder of your 2nd mortgage will bring a foreclosure action against you.

Well, although it may be rare, we did have a homeowner come into our office this year whose 2nd mortgage was being foreclosed although his home’s value was less than the amount owed on the 1st mortgage.  Additionally, lenders can, and some will,  “sue on the note” (bring an action against you to recover the money you promised to repay them) rather than bring a mortgage foreclosure action.

On the brighter side, we have seen 2nd mortgage payments reduced by as much as 80% a month.  Also, some lenders are willing to accept as little as 10% of what is owed on the 2nd mortgage as full payment. Additionally, if bankruptcy is an option, you might be able to “strip off” a totally unsecured second mortgage by filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy (see filing bankruptcy to save home from foreclosure).

We are often asked about paying and not paying second mortgages. Our answer: We can not advise you without knowing your specific situation and considering the particular options available to you.  So, make sure you are fully informed before making a final decision.

As always, The Law Firm of VAUGHN & WEBER, PLLC is here to assist you.  We are conveniently located in Mineola, NY.  You can Contact us at (516) 858-2620 to speak with an attorney.


News: FTC Bans Upfront Loan Modification Fees

On November 19, 2010, in Message/News Board, Real Estate, by Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.

The following is from the website of the Federal Trade Commission:

FTC Issues Final Rule to Protect Struggling Homeowners from Mortgage Relief Scams

Rule Outlaws Advance Fees and False Claims, Requires Clear Disclosures

Homeowners will be protected by a new Federal Trade Commission rule that bans providers of mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their lender or servicer that they decide is acceptable.

“At a time when many Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages, peddlers of so-called mortgage relief services have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of homeowners without ever delivering results,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. “By banning providers of these services from collecting fees until the customer is satisfied with the results, this rule will protect consumers from being victimized by these scams.”

The FTC is issuing the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule to protect distressed homeowners from mortgage relief scams that have sprung up during the mortgage crisis. Bogus operations falsely claim that, for a fee, they will negotiate with the consumer’s mortgage lender or servicer to obtain a loan modification, a short sale, or other relief from foreclosure. Many of these operations pretend to be affiliated with the government and government housing assistance programs. The FTC has brought more than 30 cases against operations like these, and state and federal law enforcement partners have brought hundreds more.

Advance fee ban

The most significant consumer protection under the FTC’s new rule is the advance fee ban. Under this provision, mortgage relief companies may not collect any fees until they have provided consumers with a written offer from their lender or servicer that the consumer decides is acceptable, and a written document from the lender or servicer describing the key changes to the mortgage that would result if the consumer accepts the offer. The companies also must remind consumers of their right to reject the offer without any charge.

Disclosures

The Rule requires mortgage relief companies to disclose key information to consumers to protect them from being misled and to help them make better informed purchasing decisions. In their advertising and in communications directed at individual consumers (such as telemarketing calls), the companies must disclose that:

  • they are not associated with the government, and their services have not been approved by the government or the consumer’s lender;
  • the lender may not agree to change the consumer’s loan; and
  • if companies tell consumers to stop paying their mortgage, they must also tell them that they could lose their home and damage their credit rating.

Companies also must explain in their communications to consumers that they can stop doing business with the company at any time, can accept or reject any offer the company obtains from the lender or servicer, and, if they reject the offer, they don’t have to pay the company’s fee. The companies also must disclose the amount of the fee.

Prohibited claims

The MARS Rule prohibits mortgage relief companies from making any false or misleading claims about their services, including claims about:

  • the likelihood of consumers getting the results they seek;
  • the company’s affiliation with government or private entities;
  • the consumer’s payment and other mortgage obligations;
  • the company’s refund and cancellation policies;
  • whether the company has performed the services it promised;
  • whether the company will provide legal representation to consumers;
  • the availability or cost of any alternative to for-profit mortgage assistance relief services;
  • the amount of money a consumer will save by using their services; or
  • the cost of the services.

In addition, the rule bars mortgage relief companies from telling consumers to stop communicating with their lenders or servicers. Companies also must have reliable evidence to back up any claims they make about the benefits, performance, or effectiveness of the services they provide.

Attorney exemption

Attorneys are generally exempt from the rule if they meet three conditions: they are engaged in the practice of law, they are licensed in the state where the consumer or the dwelling is located, and they are complying with state laws and regulations governing attorney conduct related to the rule. To be exempt from the advance fee ban, attorneys must meet a fourth requirement – they must place any fees they collect in a client trust account and abide by state laws and regulations covering such accounts.

All provisions of the rule except the advance-fee ban will become effective December 29, 2010. The advance-fee ban provisions will become effective January 31, 2011.

Read the entire Press Release here.

Fighting Foreclosure After a Default Judgment.

On May 5, 2010, in Foreclosure, by Robbie L. Vaughn, Esq.

Default Judgment in Foreclosure

Your lender brought a mortgage foreclosure action and obtained a default judgment against you.

So, it’s game over and you are bound to lose your home to foreclosure, right? Not necessarily!

The scenario usually goes something like this:

Your mortgage lender brought a foreclosure action against you and allegedly had you served with a summons and complaint. You failed to hire a foreclosure defense attorney or respond to the summons and complaint. The lender proceeded with the foreclosure action and obtained a default judgment against you.  Now your home is set to be sold at a fast approaching foreclosure auction.

This is not a good situation for any homeowner.  However, you may still be able to defend the foreclosure action and save your home from foreclosure. You might even be able to get a loan modification before it is all said and done. To determine if any of this is possible, you need to contact a knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorney immediately. They will determine if there is still time and a chance to vacate the default judgment and defend the foreclosure action.

If you are facing this type of foreclosure or foreclosure in general, we may be able to stop the foreclosure and give you an opportunity to negotiate a loan modification. We were recently successful in stopping a foreclosure auction and getting the homeowner into a foreclosure settlement conference. The lender has expressed an interest in negotiating a loan modification for the homeowner.

Foreclosure Defense Attorneys in Mineola

As always, the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC is here to assist you.  We are conveniently located in the heart of Nassau County, at 393 Jericho Turnpike in Mineola, NY 11501.  Contact us at (516) 858-2620 to arrange a consultation with a foreclosure defense lawyer.

Don’t hesitate, call a foreclosure defense attorney today! Because,It ain’t over till it’s over.” –Yogi Berra.

Please visit our Foreclosure category to learn more about foreclosure issues.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. This website is Attorney Advertising. It does not form an attorney-client relationship. We are a debt relief agency and a law firm that helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code – Title 11. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Proudly assisting residents of Long Island, Nassau county, Suffolk county, New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan