Archive for November, 2011

HARP Calculator

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Earlier this month, the federal government announced its changes to the Home Affordable Program. However, there are still many hoops to jump through and its difficult to tell which of the requirements you meet. Real estate website,, is making it easier to check those requirements to see if you are eligible for the updated Home Affordable Modification Program.

To use the Calculator, you’ll need some basic information, like the amount of your mortgage and the date you took out the loan. You’ll also need to know if the loan is backed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, which the tool can also help you figure out too.

Let us know if you’ve used it and if it helps you!


5 Things You Should Know About California Foreclosure Laws

November 29, 2011 1 comment

Unfortunately, banks depend on the ignorance of homeowners to enforce wrongful foreclosures and therefore foreclose without proper authority to do so. As the new home foreclosure rate continues to edge up, it’s important to understand a few things about foreclosure laws in your state before falling victim to wrongful foreclosure.

While these are just simple facts about foreclosure laws that most homeowners overlook, if you are facing foreclosure, we strongly recommend speaking with a knowledgeable real estate attorney to determine your best options and to assist you in making sure you are not victimized by an unlawful foreclosure.

1.)    Lenders Must Follow State Foreclosure Laws
Lenders often don’t follow state foreclosure laws, a problem that has given way to on-going investigations into foreclosure processes especially using Robo-Signers for mortgage assignment transfers. Every state has rules and procedures that lenders must follow in order to legally foreclose on a homeowner and violating any foreclosure law can void foreclosure sale.

2.)    California’s Judicial And Non-Judicial Foreclosures
The primary method of foreclosure in California involves what is known as non-judicial foreclosure. This type of foreclosure does not involve court action. When the deed of trust is initially signed, it will usually contain a provision called a power of sale clause, which upon default allows a trustee to sell the property in order to satisfy the underlying defaulted loan.

California non-judicial remedies have stringent notice requirements and the mortgage documents are required to contain the power of sale language in order to use this type of foreclosure method. Judicial foreclosures are permitted in California and these usually occur when no power of sale language is included in the loan documents.

3.)    Power of Sale Notice Requirements:
The non-judicial power of sale foreclosure is carried out as follows:

  • Recorded in the county where the property is located at least fourteen (14) days prior to the sale
  • Mailed by certified, return receipt requested, to the borrower at least twenty (20) days before the sale
  • Posted on the property itself at least twenty (20) days before the sale
  • Posted in one (1) public place in the county where the property is to be sold.

4.)    How long does it take to foreclose a property in California?
Depending on the timing of the various required notices, it usually takes a minimum of 120 days to effectuate an uncontested non-judicial foreclosure. This process may be delayed if the borrower contests the action in court, seeks delays and adjournments of sales, or files for bankruptcy. The borrower has up until five days before the foreclosure sale to cure the default and stop the process.

5.)    Stop foreclosure
The defaulting borrower may prevent the foreclosure sale by paying all arrearages up to five days before the sale. And, in a recent phenomenon, many lenders are willing to accept partial payments or renegotiate your mortgage in lieu of foreclosure.

Additionally, you may qualify for a loan modification to help you get back on track with more affordable mortgage payments.

Mortgage Meltdown Only Half Over

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

While the year is coming to an end, there is unfortunately no end in sight yet for the foreclosure crisis.  MSNBC is reporting, new home foreclosures may have edged up again in the third quarter, but the number of borrowers falling behind on their payments has eased a bit.

New home foreclosures edged up, mostly affecting borrowers with subprime adjustable mortgages. Some 4.65 percent of those subprime loans entered the foreclosure pipeline – up from 3.62 percent in the second quarter, a 28 percent increase, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Overall, the pace of new foreclosures for all loans edged up to 1.08 percent in the third quarter from 0.96 percent in the prior three month period. That’s down from 1.34 percent a year before.

The MBA said the rise in new home foreclosures was due in part to an increase in the number of loans that failed to get lender approval for a modification.

At the same time, the rate of borrowers who are three or more months behind on their payments is at about 3.5 percent of all mortgages – which is significantly lower than the peak high at 5 percent in late 2009. However, it’s still three and a half times the “normal” rate of about 1 percent that prevailed before the mortgage meltdown hit in late 2007.

“If you look at the pace of improvement I think we’re three to four years away from the typical pattern of seriously delinquent loans,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s vice president of research and economics.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Whether you are celebrating with a small gathering, or preparing enough dinner for a small country, we at Avid Law Center would like to take a moment to wish our clients, family and friends – including our blog readers – a very joyous and happy Thanksgiving.

We hope you have a very happy and healthy holiday.

Categories: Avid Law Center

A Familiar Story: Homeowners Pay For Mistakes Banks Made

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Dont Pay For Mistakes Made By Banks

Homeowners who have lost their homes in a foreclosure are now able to have their case reviewed by a third party to ensure the banks followed the proper process in foreclosing their home.

This process is a small step in making it right for homeowners but, as NPR is reporting, while banks may now be owning up to their wrongs, homeowners  are facing even more problems.

Wisconsin residents, Christina King and her family, were prime candidates for the Home Affordable Modification Program. A loan modification could have allowed the Kings to lower that mortgage interest down to around 4 percent, which would have dramatically reduced her required monthly payment and made the loan affordable. But when the family tried to get a loan modification Bank of America repeatedly lost documents, and then claimed she didn’t make a payment that she did make. Bank of America denied the modification and foreclosed on their home.

The Kings received a surprising letter from Bank of America this September stating that they made a mistake in processing their application for a loan modification which they were now offering – which would be great news except their house has been vacant for a year and is a wreck.

While the bank has owned up to their mistakes and has promised to assist the Kings in getting their home back in order, this is just the tip of the iceberg as the review program gets under way – there are bound to be tens or even hundreds of thousands of people who feel they’ve been harmed by similar mistakes.

Each case will require extensive legwork to dig into and sort out, and that will be a major undertaking. If you find yourself in a similar situation, we suggest finding a reputable attorney to stand by your side and ensure you receive the reparations you deserve.

Check out the full story at NPR

Beware of Mortgage Scammers

November 22, 2011 3 comments

Beware of Mortgage Relief Scams

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that scammers prey on the weak and in today’s world, scammers prey on the financially distressed and now they have the technology to back them up.

In an ongoing effort to raise awareness of mortgage debt relief scammers we wanted to share the latest news on the fight against them.

According to CNET, last week the Treasury Department shut down 85 alleged online mortgage scams that advertised with Google to target struggling homeowners.

The Treasury Department alleges that the 85 companies lured victims with online ads placed using Google tools. Scammers targeted unsuspecting victims by buying key words from Google for search advertising. The agency also alleges that scammers charged homeowners fees for lowering mortgage payments, a service the companies never actually carried out.

From CNET:

The rogue companies encouraged homeowners to stop paying their mortgage and to cease all contact with their lender. Then, they sought to get homeowners to send them mortgage payments, transfer property deeds and release sensitive personal financial information. To appear more legitimate, the scammers often claimed to be affiliated with the U.S. government, used a government seal on their sites, and sometimes adopted government agency-sounding names.

There are plenty legitimate debt relief services available to help but please beware of services that seem too good to be true. If you are asked to provide sensitive personal financial information, be sure you are working with professionals. Before you agree to hand your money over to any mortgage relief or distressed loan “specialist”, talk to a reputable attorney about your legal options.

First Criminal Charges in Robo-Signing Case

November 21, 2011 Leave a comment

First Criminal Charges in Robo-Signing Case

Nevada’s Attorney General announced on Thursday that two Orange County title loan officers have been indicted for filing tens of thousands of improper documents in a “massive” robo-signing mortgage scheme related to Las Vegas-area foreclosures.  The indictments represent the first criminal charges filed in association with robo-signing, an illegal act of falsifying foreclosure documents.

Gary Trafford, 49, of Irvine and Geraldine Sheppard, 62, of Santa Ana were charged on 606 counts, alleging that the two supervised numerous robo-signings in Nevada between 2005 and 2008. The two title loan officers worked for the firm Lender Processing Services (LPS), a foreclosure processing company which processes loans for more than 50% of all U.S. mortgages. LPS has not been charged with anything related to the indictments but said in a statement that it is working with the authorities.

According to the indictment, defendant Gary Trafford is charged with 102 counts of offering false instruments for recording (felony); false certification on certain instruments (felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (misdemeanor). The indictment charges defendant Gerri Sheppard with 100 counts of offering false instruments for recording (felony); false certification on certain instruments (felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (misdemeanor). The indictment alleges that both defendants directed the fraudulent notarization and filing of documents which were used to initiate foreclosure on local homeowners.

These indictments are the first in what may be a long series of criminal charges in the alleged robo-signing case.