short sale lawyer: BEWARE STRATEGIC MORTGAGE DEFAULT? FANNIE AND FREDDIE LOOKING FOR YOU! - 10/20/13 09:47 AM
For those homeowners and former homeowners that did a “strategic default” or just ignored (OR ARE IGNORING) the mortgage foreclosure filed against their property, a strong wake-up call occurred last month when Fannie and Freddie were told to start collecting on these potential income sources to shore up their own financial condition – that means they need to get deficiency judgments from borrowers that walked away from their homes and collect on them!
Deficiency judgments are available in “recourse” states where a foreclosure occurred and the amount of the value of the property at the time of the foreclosure sale was … (3 comments)

short sale lawyer: BANK OF AMERICA SHORT SALE APPROVAL LETTER - NEW EXAMPLE - 09/16/13 11:17 AM
What was once the area of vague innuendo and assumption and presumption of DEFICIENCY WAIVER intentions and meaning behind Short Sale Approval Letters is finally – after 5 years of confusion – becoming clear and concise.  The question of course is – IS THE BANK WAIVING THE DEFICIENCY?  Bank of America has now addressed that issue, at least for some of the loans they service.
Below you will see an approval letter received in September 2013 from Bank of America.  Compare it to the one a few years ago found about the 2010 letter changes at BoA in my article Bank … (39 comments)

short sale lawyer: NEW FLORIDA FORECLOSURE CHANGES – DOES IT AFFECT BROKER ADVICE? - 06/24/13 01:49 PM
If you have a client that has a just filed or soon to be filed residential foreclosure action in Florida, what new timelines can you expect under the new Florida Foreclosure Law?  Effective with all NEW lawsuits filed on or after July 1, 2013 the new streamlined foreclosure procedures law will govern how fast the lawsuit will proceed – or at least that is the theory behind the new law.  Reality can be quite something else.
Under the law as it existed before June 7, 2013 (the date Governor Scott signed the legislation) an uncontested or minimally contested foreclosure action could … (3 comments)

short sale lawyer: A SHORT SALE ADDENDUM FORM THAT WORKS - FINALLY - 10/07/12 06:12 AM
The short sale addendum is evolving again - this time the Florida Association of Realtors has done an excellent job of fixing the shortfalls of their previous two versions that were harshly criticized by me when they were published.  Key elements of the "fix" that came out in September 2012 include allowing a choice of when the property inspection period is to occur and finally recognizing that a mortgage release alone is not necessarily a waiver of a deficiency of the promissory note.
My criticisms and copies of the previous two versions of the FAR short sale addendum forms are contained in these … (4 comments)

short sale lawyer: QUIET TITLE USED TO ELIMINATE MORTGAGES - EXAMINED - 09/22/12 06:30 AM
ALERT - ALERT - THE FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL YESTERDAY OBTAINED AN INJUCTION AGAINST A FIRM TOUTING ELIMINATION OF THE MORTGAGE BY USING LAND TRUST SCHEMES.  SEE THE NEWS RELEASE AND A COPY OF THE COMPLAINT.
The issue of Quiet Title lawsuits brought by borrowers to invalidate their mortgages is gaining interest based upon flimsy default judgment success in a few isolated instances. Borrowers that are thinking of pursuing this avenue of “resolution” can’t point to a definitive “win” in court using this procedure, and the long term “resolution” desired of invalidating the mortgage still leaves the promissory note unpaid for … (30 comments)

short sale lawyer: FORECLOSURE DEFENSE - JUDGE SAYS SHOW ME EVIDENCE YOU ARE THE LENDER! - 04/05/12 11:31 AM
A Florida appellate court decided earlier this week that merely stating that the Plaintiff loan servicer has the authority to foreclose the mortgage is not enough.  In Elston vs. CW Capital Management, decided April 4, 2012, CW Capital stated that it “has been and is duly authorized by the Trust to prosecute this action as agent and special servicer for the (mortgage and promissory note holding) Trust.”
It just so happened that I was in court yesterday morning, April 5th, and although I did not have the case just decided by the appellate court, the trial judge did!  My argument was … (7 comments)

short sale lawyer: STAYING AT THE TOP OF THE PILE IN A CHANGING ECONOMY - 03/22/12 07:42 AM
I was honored this week by being the Featured Member of Attorneys Title Insurance Fund – known in Florida as THE FUND, one of the premier title underwriters in Florida, in their first monthly MEMBER SPOTLIGHT.  The initial part of the article is accessible at www.thefund.com.  The full article is reproduced below.  The crux of the article is that being a real estate attorney and staying a real estate attorney has been very challenging since late 2007, and like real estate agents, rediscovering oneself and understanding and reacting to the needs of your community of potential and existing customers / clients, … (3 comments)

short sale lawyer: TAX RELIEF FOR SHORT SALES EXPIRES IN 356 DAYS - 01/11/12 11:33 PM
The clock is ticking until the expiration of the 2007 Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act expires on the last day of December this year.  Previously set to expire earlier, Congress extended the expiration date to end in effective January 1, 2013.  Will it be extended again?  Is it necessary?
 
The extension should be extended again – but that is up to Congress.  The effect of the Act is to allow the income that is created when a mortgage is reduced in principal to be exempted from ordinary income.  That saves significant amounts of money for the borrower.
 
As an example, … (6 comments)

short sale lawyer: HERE IT IS - THE FIXED FREDDIE MAC SHORT SALE AFFIDAVIT - 01/11/12 03:18 PM
Here it is! The 2012 version of the much despised short sale addendum from Freddie Mac!  As reported in several preceding articles, thanks to the American Land Title Association and others, the "sting" of being liable for any other party's misdeeds in a short sale transaction has been more or less alleviated.
Strangely, it is still called an addendum, not an affidavit, and refers to an affidavit, which in fact is the addendum. Go figure......
The new form has a new paragraph 14 along with other subtle changes, but the end effect is that it is clear that you know what … (8 comments)

short sale lawyer: CAN YOU AVOID ASSOCIATION FEES THROUGH BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION - 12/23/11 12:29 AM
The right of a condominium association or homeowners association or property association to charge and collect maintenance and other assessment fees is pretty typical in all states.  The obligation to pay the assessment is attached to the ownership of a particular parcel of real estate.  Unlike real estate taxes which are ONLY a lien on the real estate, an association assessment can be both a lien on the real estate and a personal obligation of the owner to pay the assessments.
Now taking this to real life - You live in or lived in a home with association expenses you did not pay.  You filed for … (13 comments)

short sale lawyer: SHORT SALE APPROVAL LETTER WAIVER OF DEFICIENCY CLEAR AS MUD - 11/16/11 08:56 AM
Question we sent to BoA on approval letter – “It is confusing.  How do we get deficiency waived?”  BoA Answer - “This is the only approval we have.  It clearly states it’s waived.”
You be the judge.  Just see below.
First, if this is the only approval letter they have, it is the first time I have seen this form – and we usually see a few a week from BoA.
Second, I don’t understand the “clearly states” as described in the email.  First it says that the lender and insurer retain the right to pursue collection of the deficiency.  Next … (40 comments)

short sale lawyer: SHORT SALE RESCUE FRAUD ON DESPERATE HOMEOWNERS - 11/08/11 11:53 PM
I don’t know where to start, this story is so typical of ripping off desperate homeowners thanks to many “get rich through short sales” seminars and those practicing what they were preached.  In this case, congratulations to the fraudster – he pocketed $60,000 with no investment! – But now he has a real risk of going to jail.
Mrs. Smith, a Haitian that speaks little English, was current with her mortgage but having problems making ends meet.  The mortgage amount was greater than the value of the home (the home was upside down) and after hearing and reading about mortgage modification … (46 comments)

short sale lawyer: SHORT SALE SUMMIT REVELATIONS BY BANK OF AMERICA - 08/16/11 04:49 PM
Some of my short sale staff and I met with Bank of America in Miami today at their “Short Sale Summit”.  We had a nice small group that met twice this afternoon - and I got to ask and have answered several questions which I think are important to those agents who are working short sales.  

THEY SENT THE BIG GUNS 
First, we definitely had the top end management for this discussion. Bob Hora is the Short Sale, Deed in Lieu, REO, LandSafe Field Services Executive for Legacy Asset Servicing at Bank of America.  He leads a team … (47 comments)

short sale lawyer: SHORT SALE - REVERSE MORTGAGE SOLUTION TURNED INTO FRAUD - 07/07/11 01:02 AM
There are sometimes opportunities where a homeowner qualified for a reverse mortgage is having problems meeting the day to day expenses of life, resulting in financial hardship.  Often this results in the homeowner scrimping on drugs, or food, just to pay the mortgage and electricity.  A reverse mortgage can be a very viable solution to those with equity in the home. 
The equity can be realized in several ways - the valuation of the property may be sufficient to show equity over existing mortgages, or perhaps the home is in foreclosure and the lender will agree to a short payoff and … (11 comments)

short sale lawyer: FREE ATTORNEY REPRESENTATION IN SHORT SALE OR LOAN MODIFICATION - 05/13/11 01:20 AM
I still see real estate brokers and even some title companies and "case workers" advertising that if you use THEM, they will supply for free an attorney to represent YOU for your short sale or loan modification.  I wrote about this issue once before (see No-Conflict Considerations in Short Sale Fees), but today I got an email from a real estate broker involved with a short sale we are handling and when looking at his website I saw the statement, "You get FREE attorney services with us! Not all companies that do short sales for clients provide this."
FREE WORK ?  HARDLY
(26 comments)

short sale lawyer: TOP SECRET SHORT SALE APPROVAL DOCUMENTATION LEAKED - READ IT HERE - 05/01/11 08:55 AM
It is not too often we "in the trenches" of short sale negotiations get to understand why lenders act the way they do through "behind the scenes" documentation.  However a couple of months ago we did get some "lender to servicer" documentation that I thought was interesting enough to pass on to my ActiveRain readers.  Note: the documentation you are about to read states in BOLD CAPITALS, "YOU MAY NOT GIVE A COPY OF THIS COVER LETTER TO THE BORROWER, THE CLOSING ATTORNEY/SETTLEMENT AGENT, REAL ESTATE BROKER, OR ANY OTHER PARTY".  I would add that I am not sure how we … (25 comments)

short sale lawyer: DO LENDERS MAKE SHORT SALE DEMANDS THAT ARE ILLEGAL? - 03/13/11 02:48 PM
I am very troubled by the actions of lenders in their encouragement of surreptitious dealing, especially by second lenders, regarding the distribution of proceeds of a short sale to the detriment of first lenders.
Below is a Suntrust Mortgage document recently received from Suntrust that is being provided and required to be signed by the BUYER of the property.  The transaction demanded by Suntrust is as follows (the numbers have been changed somewhat to mask the actual transaction):
Purchase Price as stated on the contract is $625,000; Required addendum to the Contract that Buyer will pay to Suntrust in addition to the Purchase Price, … (17 comments)

short sale lawyer: MORTGAGE IS NOT AN OBLIGATION TO PAY - COMMON MISTAKEN ADVICE BY AGENTS - 03/08/11 01:46 AM
Today I received a question from a trusted broker about the result of a foreclosure of a first mortgage upon the second mortgage.  He told me that many brokers / agents provide advice to their clients (and non-clients) that if the first mortgage forecloses, the second mortgage gets nothing and is wiped out.
Without getting into the discussion of whether giving that advice is legal advice or not - the first thing to realize is that the advice is absolutely correct.  The second thing to consider is that the advice is totally incorrect.
Let me explain.
A mortgage is actually two … (55 comments)

short sale lawyer: CLEARING BUYER FUNDS – "CAN'T YOU USE OTHER MONEY IN YOUR ESCROW ACCOUNT FROM OTHER DEALS?” - 01/02/11 10:22 AM
We closed a record number of transactions in December - a record at least for us - and one closing stands out for a disturbing statement by the buyer's real estate agent.  As the closing agent and because this was a short sale and funds had to be disbursed to the lender immediately at closing, we advised the buyer that we needed wired funds so they would be immediately available.
The buyer's agent went apoplectic upon our mentioning that we needed wired funds instead of local bank check.  When we advised that if it was a bank check, even a local … (39 comments)

short sale lawyer: IRS LIENS ON SHORT SALE PROPERTY - RESOLVING PHANTOM VALUE CLAIMS - 12/02/10 03:28 PM
One of the weirder roadblocks we have been seeing is the clearing of IRS liens against a taxpayer (property seller) when the taxpayer is trying to short sell a property.  Typically if an IRS lien is on a property the attorney or accountant will present to the IRS a waiver of lien request with requisite proposed settlement statement, recent appraisal of the property, and reason for the lien waiver request.  But the IRS started interpreting a rule that caused the IRS to demand the monies that were to pay the transfer (in Florida the "documentary stamps") tax to instead be paid to … (25 comments)

 
Richard Zaretsky, Florida Real Estate Attorney (THE ZARETSKY LAW GROUP - Board Certified Real Estate Atty and AUTOMATED LAND TITLE COMPANY) Rainmaker large

Richard Zaretsky

Florida Real Estate Attorney

West Palm Beach, FL

More about me…

THE ZARETSKY LAW GROUP - Board Certified Real Estate Atty and AUTOMATED LAND TITLE COMPANY

Address: 1615 Forum Place, Suite 3A, West Palm Beach, Fl, 33401

Office: 5616896660 x 107

Mobile: (561) 329-2279

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