Whatever financial situation you find yourself in, the most important thing to do when facing foreclosure is focus on how you can stay in your home. There are many alternatives and it’s best to explore them all. However, many require a lengthy process with no shortage of hoops to jump through. One popular alternative is Loan Modification. Let’s learn a little bit more about how you can qualify before you face foreclosure.

1. Describe how you got into trouble in the first place. Provide the lender a “hardship letter” about how you fell behind on payments. Make sure to give as much detail as possible.

2. Express how much you would like to stay in your home and that you’re willing to make modified payment in the future.

3. If you have tried to sell your property, make sure to include records of those attempts.

4. Describe how you are willing and able to make modified payments. Are you back in a stable job or back to work after recovering from an illness or injury?

5. Make a statement about how a loan modification will help you get back on track with payments and improve your financial situation. For example, if you do not qualify for this modification, you will lose your property.

6. List your expenses and prove how a lower mortgage rate will put you and your family in a better financial position to pay back your original loan.

7. Have a copy of your free credit report available for your lender. These numbers can help your lender make a final decision about whether or not you qualify for this new loan.

As always, take it one day and one step at a time. Know that you are taking the right steps in order to avoid foreclosure. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you determine what option is right for you. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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Foreclosure is a scary possibility for many of us. As the economy moves up and down, things like job security and cost of living can be unpredictable. It’s important to do as much as we can to stay in the clear – for our financial sake and for our sanity. Here are some ways you can avoid foreclosure even during the tough times.

Refinance: Try refinancing to a fixed-rate mortgage, especially if it’s at a lower interest rate than an adjustable rate mortgage. In order to refinance, however, you need to be able to afford it and the closing costs. If you find you cannot afford this, there are other options.

Mortgage relief: As soon as you figure out that you cannot make that payment, call your lender and let them know the situation. They could be able to extend the period in which they would normally have to foreclose on the house. This mortgage relief can give you some time and a little relief from your mortgage, but do this quickly.

Forbearance: If you find that you are not able to make the payment, the bank will allow you not to; however, this comes with conditions. They will still charge you an interest rate that you would owe on the mortgage payment, so you are not completely free of payment. They may be able to give you a few months of no payments if you find yourself in a situation such as an injury that doesn’t allow you to work for an extended time.

Loan modification: This is a great option for people who are a month or so behind on payments. Call the bank immediately and find out if they can modify your loan. They may be able to extend your payment time or give you a lower interest rate – whatever you need to be able to stay in your home.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you determine what option is right for you. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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It can be difficult to think of foreclosure as a reality. When the economy is going through tough times, we feel it, and it can spell disaster and heart break for families that are threatened with foreclosure. However, there are several alternatives to foreclosure that you may want to look into. Here are a few to explore if you find yourself in this situation.

The first is Loan Modification. This is for homeowners who can pay a portion of their loan amount but not the whole thing. In this situation, the individual and the bank agree on a lowered monthly payment that the homeowner will pay in monthly installments. It sounds easy, but it can be a lengthy process, and even though the bank will let the homeowner pay reduced amounts each month, the interest rates may be higher or the length of the loan may be lengthened to make up for the altered plan.

The second is a short sale. This is a situation where the homeowner sells their property for less than the debt they owe on the property and the bank “forgives” the rest of their debt on the property. To prove that you are eligible for a short sale, you will need to prove that you are in severe financial hardship, you don’t have enough money to cover the remainder of your debt, and your home is worth less than the amount you owe to the bank.

The last is a forbearance. This is an alternative to a foreclosure where the bank allows the borrower to pay a lower amount than what they owe for a certain period of time. The conditions are such that you are experiencing a temporary financial hardship and you have not missed any previous mortgage payments.

These are just a few alternatives to consider if you are facing foreclosure. Stephen K. Hachey is a Florida real estate attorney who can help you make the choice that right for you and your family. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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In short, the fee you’ve been charged is not for a forensic audit. Loan modification companies are not allowed to charge any fee or secure payment for a service that has not yet been completed. Without even knowing it, you may be involved in a mortgage scam.

The possibility of losing your home is frightening, but the reality that you could potentially be scammed while in the process of trying to save your home is even more frightening. Scammers pray on innocent people in desperate financial trouble; they claim to be able to lower your monthly mortgage payments, they promise successful results with a money-back guarantee, and others say that they are affiliated with government or your lender. These fraudsters get away with these scams all too often.

If you are being told by a loan modification company that the fee is for a “forensic audit,” do not trust them. The process is quite sneaky. These “auditors” offer to have an attorney look over your mortgage documents to determine whether or not your lender followed the law. These auditors also promise that you will be able to use their report to avoid foreclosure, speed up your loan modification process, reduce the amount you owe or cancel your loan altogether. These auditors take advantage of homeowners who are desperate for help, and this is where the trouble lies. There is no evidence that forensic audits will help you get a loan modification or any other mortgage service.

The best thing you can do is speak with many lenders and brokers and gather as much information as you can to make a safe and rational decision. It may also be necessary to speak with a lawyer, who can help you navigate this process. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, that can help you make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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The answer in one word: Yes.

The Florida Department of Banking and Finance in Tallahassee handles all aspects and areas of the mortgage license laws in Florida. In July 1992, the most current regulations regarding Mortgage Brokers in Florida became effective, and they affect anyone who solicits mortgage loans on a borrower’s behalf, accepts an application for a mortgage loan, or someone who negotiates the terms of a mortgage loan.

All brokers and lenders have some sort of application fee, and these fees can range anywhere from $150 – $400 depending on the situation and the mortgage broker. Some accept the money up front as a way to offset costs to process your loan, and others take the money upon closing. Try to find a lender that does not take the money up front, as it gives them leverage over you throughout the process. Their level of service may drop or you may risk being involved in a scam. It’s best to negotiate paying the fee after everything is said and done. Also keep in mind that this money is not usually refundable.

Be sure to look around to get the best rate, as well as the best broker/lender for you.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you navigate this often complicated process and ensure your fair treatment. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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There are many companies out there just looking for ways to scam you to gain control of your finances and your identity. And more specifically, debt and mortgage scams.

The national foreclosure rate is at an all time high of 8% of all mortgages, and there are upwards of 6,000 filings for home foreclosures every single day. This rocky and unpredictable environment provides ample opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners by trying to scam them out of money and even their homes. Many that turn to rescue foreclosure or loan modification companies for help find out they have been scammed – and it is oftentimes too late to do anything about it. Every day homeowners are the victim of false advertising and sales pitches that promise to keep them in their homes. It’s all a ploy to draw in customers, then take their money and homes.

How do they do this? Scammers can get personal information and either send flyers in the mail, call you at your home or on you cell phone and even visit you at your home. Whichever way they contact you, they are taking advantage of your difficult situation, and it is your job to be careful who you put your trust in.

If you receive any of these communications, do not respond. If you do not recognize the address or the person calling or visiting you, be wary and do not give out personal information. These types of communications usually come from private companies that are only looking to make money and potentially scam you.

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Certain laws and regulations can get buried, forgotten and overlooked in the midst of financial crisis and/or management. Most people are unfamiliar with certain real estate laws until their finances or their property is in jeopardy. Here’s what you need to know about up-front fees for loan modifications in Florida.

Under Florida law, beginning in 2010, a company that provides loan modification services must have a Florida Office of Financial Regulation license. The office’s mission is to protect Florida residents by carrying out banking, securities and financial laws and to provide regulation of businesses that promote the development of Florida’s economy. The Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Protection Act is a regulation under this that makes it illegal for companies to charge up-front fees for loan modification services. This act came about after a record number of mortgage fraud and foreclosures were reported.

What you need to know is that this law requires that a contract be written and executed by both the person requesting the loan and the company offering it. The law applies to all Florida state businesses as well as businesses out of state that provide services to Florida residents. The only case in which a fee can be charged is if the loan modification results in a material benefit to the borrower. This will be stipulated in the loan modification agreement as well as the details of all services to be provided to the resident.

Make sure you check with your provider for all the details, and do not succumb to illegal fees and/or terms not listed in your agreement.

While the process can be complicated, help is available. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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No one wants to find themselves in this kind of situation: the victim of fraud, theft, manipulation. But unfortunately scammers are out there, and able to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Real estate scammers are among the biggest problem in today’s market. Let’s take a look at some of the scams you may have paid into and what you can do to protect yourself from it again in the future.

The first is renting empty homes. A scammer may find an empty home, which is still owned by someone else, and rent it out to an unsuspecting person. The renter will send money then later find out they had been scammed into paying for a space that is already owned by someone else.
The next is renting foreclosed homes. A common foreclosure scam involves a fake agent taking unsuspecting couples on a tour through a burglarized home. The “agent” offers a fake email address and out-of-service telephone number after payment and the family never hears from him/her again.

Another common real estate scam is renting unavailable apartments to out of town renters. Some renters look for spaces to live for a few weeks while they are on vacation or in town on business. The fake agent will ask renters to wire money directly to them. When the renter shows up, they find out the property isn’t really for rent, and they have nowhere to stay.

To avoid these situations, there are a few things to remember:

1) If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2) Do your homework, and work with a real estate agent to protect yourself from crime.
3) Check online reviews of agents before committing.
4) Avoid using cash or wiring money, and instead, use a traceable form of payment such as checks or credit cards.

Use these tips to protect yourself from real estate crime and scams.

If you are a victim of a real estate scam, there is help. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, that can help you make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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In times of financial hardship, it can be difficult to face the truth: bills may be difficult or impossible to pay, and you need help. The first step is to realize that you need to take control. Getting behind on payments or failing to pay each month can result in bad credit and foreclosure of your home. Loan modification may be an option for you. Loan modification helps borrowers who are facing financial problems work with their lender to change the terms of their mortgage loan to make it affordable.

Those that are unable to make monthly mortgage payments have the option to request a loan modification. In the event of a loan modification, the bank will give you any one of the following: an extension to a 40-year term, temporary or permanent interest rate reduction or a balloon payment, which is a large payment due at the end of a mortgage or loan. However, if you are still able to make payments, you will most likely be denied by your bank unless you stop making payments and risk foreclosure of your home.

But you have options. In the case that your bank denies you loan modification, speak with them about other options you may have. Refinancing may be one. This allows the homeowner to switch to a fixed rate or a lowered monthly payment. This is a great option if you are current on mortgage payments. If you’re behind, ask about a repayment plan. This helps you catch up until your finances are back in order.

Whatever your situation, discuss with your bank as soon as possible. They may be able to recommend the best options for you and your family. Also, if you aren’t sure what your best options are, help is available. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida loan modification attorney, that can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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In the unfortunate event that an owner must be evicted from their home in Florida, there are a series of steps that need to be taken. After a foreclosure, a bank has the right to take the property. However, the previous owner may not yet have a new residence. In order to gain possession of the residence, you must go through the process of eviction, which can take around 30 days or more. Here are the typical steps for evicting a former owner after a home has been foreclosed.
1. Deliver a written notice. The previous owner must be made aware that it is no longer legal for him/her to live on the property. The letter is usually delivered by the bank, and must disclose that you are the new owner and they must vacate the property immediately.
2. File an eviction lawsuit. If the previous owner does not vacate the property, you can file suit three days after you’ve delivered the eviction notice.
3. Meet with the judge. The previous owner is given 30 days to respond before it goes to a judge. The previous owner can try to get the case thrown out. In that case, you will no longer be able to evict the owner.
4. Provide evidence of ownership. During the case you must provide proof of ownership over the property. Both sides will be able to state their case, and the judge will decide whether to set an eviction date or grant the previous owner their property back.
5. Full property inspection. If the previous owner is evicted, you are free to get an inspection and take over the property.

While the process can be complicated, help is available. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, that can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

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