Shocking news hit the internet last week about Bank of America and its deliberate denial of Loan Modifications to hundreds of thousands of borrowers.  In a pending class action suit, two whistleblower employees of Bank of America, Simone Gordon and William Wilson, both gave startling Affidavits  stating that they were ordered by their superiors to deny loan modifications, lie to borrowers about the status of their modifications and not process them, and lie about documents being received, when in fact they had been.  Borrowers, who often complain that loan modifications are so tedious and time consuming, as well as frustrating with the lenders not receiving documents, now have an explanation. They were received, just not ethically and lawfully processed.

Simone Gordon and William Wilson, and the pending class action, shed light on the practices of Bank of America internally and its role in the loan modification arena. “I lied because I was told to lie” is how Simone Gordon put it.

Thousands of borrowers who may have been eligible for a modification of their loan, may have in fact lost their home in foreclosure due to the unlawful practices of Bank of America.

You can read more about the suit here as well as both affidavits.

Declaration of Simone Gordon

Declaration of William Wilson


If your loan modification was denied or you lost your home and Bank of America was your lender, contact us to see what can be done.

Jacqueline A. Salcines. Esq.

Tel: 305  |  669  | 5280  or email me direct at

Offices located at: 706 S. Dixie Highway, Second Floor, Coral Gables, FL  33146



House and lawMany homeowners that want to short sale their properties are misinformed, thinking that they can not escape the 1099-C tax, and must pay the Internal Revenue Service a capital gains tax on the forgiven debt, under a 1099-C (C stands for  cancellation of  debt).  The 1099-C is a form required  by the Internal Revenue Services and prepared  by the lender or creditor who forgives a portion of debt, be it under a mortgage, credit card or other type of loan.   Borrowers receive the 1099 C and must report them in the tax return the following year.

In a short sale, the very essence of a short sale entails a short payoff, or cancellation of debt.  Since the mortgage lender agrees to accept a sum less than what is owed on the mortgage, it is agreeing to cancel a portion of its debt.  Therefore, it is required to file a 1099-C with the Internal Revenue Service, and copy to Borrower, to advise that a portion of debt has been cancelled.  The borrower is then obligated to file that 1099 C with their income tax the following year and report the cancellation.

The Confusion and misinformation that most homeowners have is that the 1099 C is inescapable and a necessary part of the short sale. They are under the mistaken belief that each and every short sale comes with a catch.  The debt is forgiven, but monies are owed the Internal Revenue Service.


Borrowers whose short sales are primary residences (and that also is open for interpretation) are not required to pay any tax to the Internal Revenue Service.  While they will receive a 1099-C, under the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, they are exempt from having to pay any tax to the Internal Revenue Service.  The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, which extended relief on short sales through December 31, 2013, states that homeowners whose balances are written off in a short sale do not have to pay any taxes to the IRS due to the cancellation of debt.

And this is not a guessing game.  The law is very clear and on the Mortgage Debt Relief Act website, on the Internal Revenue website and many times, the short sale approval letter will state so.

My best advice when venturing into a short sale, is to hire the services of a qualified and knowledgeable attorney/accountant to negotiate the short sale for you in order to make sure, prior to entering into the short sale, that you will be exempt from having to pay anything.  Moreover, you may be eligible to receive up to $30,000.00 from your lender, as a short sale incentive and for moving expenses.”  Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq., Attorney and Accountant.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we have an entire team of short sale negotiators, headed by attorney Salcines herself, who is both an accountant and a real estate lawyer.  We work day in and day out to get the short sale approved on the best terms possible for the homeowner borrower.

Hiring a realtor or negotiator that is not familiar with IRS rules or regulations, is not familiar with the law and most importantly can not charge you to negotiate your short sale up front, therefore reducing incentives to work on it, makes no sense when so much is at stake.  Particularly, since the 1099 protection is set to expire on December 31, 2013 unless extended by Congress.

Call me for a free, no obligation consultation to see whether a short sale is right for you.

We find the best possible solution to your loan problems, including loan modifications, short sale, deed in lieu, or perhaps even a settlement of the loan.

The Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

305  |   669  | 5280


For homeowners who are lucky enough to have equity, and no longer wish to make mortgage payments, a Reverse Mortgage may be the answer.  A reverse mortgage is a special type of home loan that allows homeowners to convert the equity that they have acquired in their home over the years and turn it into cash.  The great thing about reverse mortgages is that you receive money AND are no longer required to make any mortgage payments.  You do not ever have to repay the loan unless the borrower no longer uses the home as their principal residence or they fail to meet the obligations of the mortgage.

Reverse mortgages were started to help people in or near retirement with limited income, so they could use the income they had to pay off debts and for living expenses, never having to worry about another mortgage payment.  The loan is called a reverse mortgage because instead of having the balance reduced, as in conventional mortgages, in a reverse mortgage, the monthly payments to the lender are added to the balance, thus increasing the principal instead of reducing it.

The borrower is not ever required to pay back the loan unless the home is sold or as stated above, the property stops being used as a primary residence.  The borrower must however make the required tax and insurance payments.


In order to qualify, the borrower must be at least 62 years old. A husband and wife or wife with spouse younger than 62 may obtain one, but the name of the younger spouse must come off title.


The loan must act as the primary loan on the property. It can not be secondary to any other loan.

The borrower must remain current on all tax and insurance payments.

The borrower must maintain the property in good condition.


Reverse mortgages are relatively inexpensive.  The regular Origination fee, mortgage insurance premium, appraisal fee and closing fees apply, as with a regular closing. And if there is enough equity, the closing costs can be added to the loan so you do not have to pay anything at closing.


A reverse mortgage is a Closing.  That is, you will be required to have title examined for the lender, a policy written and a mortgage, note and other lender documents signed, as with a regular closing. Therefore, it is prudent to hire the services of a real estate attorney that is a title agent such as Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, in order to examine title, issue the title policy, review the Good Faith Estimate with charges from the lender, and most important, explain each and every document that you will be required to sign at closing.

Call us today for a no-fee consultation. We can explore whether a Reverse Mortgage is right for you and put you in contact with lenders that will find the best possible solution for you, while we represent you every step of the way. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

305 |  669  | 5280

706 S. Dixie Highway

Second Floor

Coral Gables, FL  33146




House and lawWhy do more and more attorneys charge homeowners a monthly fee to defend their foreclosures and do little to earn their trust or save their home?  The practice has been frowned upon by agencies and the motives behind such actions called into question as unethical.

“In my law practice,  I find more and more homeowners coming in to retain me, after having paid other attorneys, thousands and thousands in attorneys fees, month after month, and are now faced with a final judgment hearing or foreclosure sale date, with no solution to save the home or the borrower from  judgment suggested or initiated.”  I am certainly not suggesting  the attorneys named here follow these practices, nor knocking the ones that do.  Everyone has to make a living and the attorneys that charge monthly are certainly not forcing borrower clients to pay.  They do so because they feel they are getting value for their buck. But many attorneys withdraw from the client foreclosure cases after thousands are paid by the client, either because they want more monies or because they tell the borrower that “time has run out” and there is nothing else they can do.  Now the homeowner is left without a home and with a judgment against them.

On a daily basis, clients sit across from me in my office, and tell me that they have paid $20,000.00 in legal fees to a foreclosure attorney, have never once met with the attorney (just the support staff) and their case is set for trial or has a sale date and the attorney is dropping them, having done nothing to save the home.   I find this practice unacceptable.

Why are foreclosure defense attorneys not finding viable solutions for their clients? And often times, by the time they are in to see me, it is too late.  They are 3 or 4 years in arrears and the unpaid balance is just too high that the bank will not even consider a modification.  Other times, the short sale could have been negotiated with a cash incentive to the borrower/seller but the incentive was not preserved or requested by the attorney.

We are here to help.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, every effort is made to protect the homeowner and find the program that is right for them, before they are faced with a final judgment hearing or foreclosure sale date.  Every  potential client sits with attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA and she alone, as both attorney and accountant, analyzes the financial information provide by the client and home values, to determine what options exist.

Thereafter, simultaneous with the foreclosure defense, WHICH IS CHARGED AT A FLAT FEE AND NOTHING IS PAID MONTHLY, the loss mitigation solution is sought.  Be it loan modification, short sale, deed in lieu or short payoff, we fight for you and your rights.

Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Visit our Website at WWW. SALCINESLAW.COM.

VISIT US ON AVVO.COM AND see what other satisfied clients are saying.


Jacqueline A. Salcines. Esq.

706 S. Dixie Highway

Second Floor

Coral Gables, FL  33146

Tel.  305  |  669  | 5280


Hands - Holding HouseGovernor Rick Scott signed a bill that aims to move foreclosure through the court system more quickly, but some homeowners are weary that this will strip them of crucial rights they have as homeowners and mortgagors.  House Bill 87 places on the Plaintiff/Bank, the responsibility of filing cases with a clear “chain of ownership” of the mortgage and note as well a clear chain of how the delinquency occurred. This translates into a more time consuming task for the lender prior to filing suit, but less defenses and time for the borrower once the suit is commenced.

If the lender has filed all the required documents and the file is in order, the Plaintiff/lender seeks what is called a “show cause” order asking the Judge to aware it a final judgment, and ultimately the sale of the home.  Resulting in the home owner losing their home and the bank retaining a judgment against them.

More and more judges have also been appointed to cover the backlog.  Judges that are either retired senior judges or other, which neither face re-election or re-appointment, as required by the Florida Constitution.  So this opens up a whole other can of worms as to accountability, qualifications and credibility.

Florida attorneys, specially in the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, have done a huge disservice to their clients by merely charging a monthly fee to keep their homes in foreclosure, but pulling the plug when the cases are set for trial or sale.  This is when, after $15,000 or $20,000.00 in legal fees, the attorneys usually withdraw or disappear.  Miami Dade County Judges have started the practice of reporting many of these no-show attorneys to The Florida Bar.  Clients show up to court for either a Final Judgment hearing or trial, and the attorney, who claims monies are owed, fails to show.  Even after such sums were paid.  The Judge may enter a summary final judgment against the borrower and now they are left with a balance owed and no home.

The proper foreclosure defense must, in my opinion, entail the finding of a viable solution for the homeowner/borrower.  To merely buy time (which in some cases may work), leaves the borrowers free and clear of a mortgage payment, but with a judgment and no home.  When clients come in to defend a foreclosure, it makes more sense to review their files for either a loan modification or a short sale, whichever the numbers support.  And then start the loss mitigation procedure immediately.

Some short sale homeowners want to continue to live for free for as many months as possible. And while the proper foreclosure defense will certainly offer them this, the property can be listed for sale with a realtor, the package initiated with the lender and a short sale, without contract approved.  Afterwards, once the price is determined, a buyer is sought at their leisure that will come in at the approved price.  It is never advisable to just sit back and ride out the foreclosure without a solution in sight. While this may pad the pockets of attorneys charging monthly, many of which have already been disbarred or cited for their behavior, mitigating damages for the borrower and lender alike is the far better alternative.

In my firm, when a client is losing a home to foreclosure, we offer sound, clear and knowledgeable defense in court. But also run the numbers to either advise on a loan modification or a short sale.  Perhaps the borrower can qualify for a loan modification with a reduction of some expenses, or just recently started working and does not have bank statements to prove income.  By counseling them at the time the foreclosure is started, they have time to get their act together, their statements and incomes/expenses in order and then can apply 4 or 5 months afterwards.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, our knowledgeable attorney and staff will review your information and enter it into our loss mitigation programs to determine what you qualify for.  We have been defending homeowners in foreclosures for many years and offer sound legal advise and protection. And the best news of all, we DO NOT CHARGE A MONTHLY FEE. But rather a flat fee paid once for the duration of your foreclosure.

Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation.


305  |   669  | 5280





Home floating on a life preserver.At the end of last year,  with homeowners on pins and needles, the government extended the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (“HAFA“) program through December 31, 2013.  This was great news for homeowners that had pending short sales or who were looking to get into a short sale at the beginning of the year. Now, as we approach the middle of 2013, this looming deadline is NOT what is threatening the end of short sales.  It is the rise in property values and the shortage of inventory. 

While many homeowners are still underwater with their mortgages, and owe more than the properties are worth, this is estimated to be less than 50% nowadays.  That means, many homeowners that believe that the home is worth less, are coming to realize once a BPO (appraisal by the short sale lender holding the mortgage) is completed, the value is higher than the homeowner believed, or the price of the contract.  This is fine if there is only one mortgage, but if there are two, now the short sale option is no longer a possibility, because the loan with the first lender is not underwater.

Certainly, costs that the short sale lender pays at closing, such as realtor commissions, documentary stamp taxes and other closings costs come into play and reduce the net the lender is receiving, but the short sale is no longer guaranteed. Second mortgages usually always accept ten percent (10%) of the unpaid principal balance and will agree to erase their loan.  Specially if the property is owner occupied, the majority of the second mortgages will write off their balance and cancel the deficiency, so the homeowner walks away not owing a penny after closing. The borrower must make sure the short sale approval terms are carefully reviewed and negotiated before signing any document that ties them into a bad deal.

It is now common practice for second lenders to file suits coming after the borrowers post closing for deficiency balances that should have been negotiated and cancelled at closing. This is where the services of a savvy  real estate attorney, with significant short sale and negotiation experience comes in.

short_saleWhen values become an issue, the appraisal must be reviewed along with any other mitigating factors such as repairs to the home, insurance issues, permitting, liens, etc. to drive the price down.  Then there is the legally binding short sale approval letter with legal terms and consequences, including IRS tax penalties, which again, makes sense to only have a real estate lawyer review and advise.

We are seeing more and more lenders rapidly approve short sales, but one must make sure that the negotiator doing the leg work knows exactly how to submit the package and negotiate the deal through closing. Another important factor on these short sales, is negotiating the incentives.  Many borrowers are not aware that even if they have not paid their mortgage in years; even if they are delinquent on their loans; even if they have not paid the association, even if it is not their primary residence, they are entitled to numerous Short Sale Incentives in the form of cash from the lender.

Bank of America, for instance, offers between $2,500.00 and $30,000.00 in relocation and moving assistance to eligible short sellers.  They even offer the tenants money to help with relocation when it is not owner occupied.

Chase has offered sellers up to $35,000.00 at closing.  This is available on certain loans not only held and owned by Chase but serviced by them as well.  Sellers with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loans are not eligible.

Despite all these numerous incentives, many lenders simply do not give them.  It is up to the real estate attorney handling the negotiation on behalf of the seller/borrower to request them and fight for the bank to pay them.

The VA Department of Veterans Affairs also offers a Compromise Sale program that provides up to $1,500.00 in incentives to its veteran borrowers with VA-guaranteed loans. Whether you are a homeowner that is losing your home in foreclosure, or a realtor that has a client that is in the same predicament, we are here to help.

At The Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, I, Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq., a real estate attorney and accountant, welcome the opportunity to sit down with you, analyze your situation and provide sound advice. Call us for a free, no obligation consultation.  305  |  669  |  5280



The Obama Administration and the housing regulator, FHFA, revamped HARP to allow homeowners with loans backed by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who are current on their mortgages to refinance their properties, no matter how much their home values have dropped, and regardless of what is owed.

A typical refinance requires the following:

  1. Borrower have a good credit score
  2. Borrower have a good credit history with paying mortgages
  3. Home have equity (value of home is higher than the mortgage balance)

In this day and age, when many homeowner/borrowers owe more on their mortgages than the property is worth, a typical refinance is out of the question.  As there is no equity to tap into. Enter the HARP Program.

The program was invented and designed to assist homeowners who have maintained their good credit rating and history but simply can not refinance because the property value is so below the mortgage balance.

On HARP refinances, the principal mortgage balance can be drastically reduced as well as the interest rate, with principal forgiveness so that once the loan balance is forgiven, it never has to be repaid by the borrower.

In order to qualify for HARP, the loan must be as follows:

  1. Must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  You can call us to see if your loan is.
  2. The mortgage cannot be refinanced under HARP previously
  3. The loan to value ratio must be greater than 80%.
  4. The borrower mortgage must be current.
  5. The borrower must have reasonable ability to pay the new mortgage

These are only a few of the qualifications.

The program expires on December 31, 2013 so don’t wait. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation.

The Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, 706 S. Dixie Highway, 2nd Floor, Coral Gables, FL  33146

Telephone:  305 | 669 | 5280  or visit our website at



June 12, 2013

Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.Way Signs "Bailout - Collapse"

It appears that all these penalties to lenders for failing to modify borrowers’ loans is finally doing homeowners some good.  The Streamlined Modification program is really taking off and really working to assist borrowers.  The Freddie Mac Streamlined Modification program provides remedies to seriously delinquent borrowers that may not qualify under other programs.

While the Streamlined Modification program offers the same terms and conditions as the standard modification program, the program is intended for borrowers who have stopped paying on their mortgages at least 90 days but no more than 720 days delinquent.    You can not have stopped paying your mortgage for more than 2 years.

If you are eligible for this program, you may have already received a letter in the mail from your mortgage servicer offering you the service and sending you an application to apply.  Upon receiving the solicitation letter, the borrower can contact us to help fill out the forms and make sure that they provide accurate numbers to qualify for the program. It is extremely important that figures for the financial worksheet be provided accurately since you get one shot at getting it right, or risk being declined.

The following properties are eligible for this program:

  • Primary Residence
  • Second Home
  • Investment property (whether owner occupied or not)
  • Vacant properties and,
  • Condemned properties

To be eligible, the borrower must have the following (including but not limited to):

  1. Be behind on their mortgage by at least 90 days but no more than 2 years;
  2. Market to Market loan to value ratio must be greater than or equal to 80 percent (we figure this out for you).
  3. The mortgage must have originated at least 12 months prior to the date applying for the modification
  4. The mortgage must be a conventional first lien mortgage


There are numerous other qualifications and numbers that must be calculated.  Call us for a free, no obligation consultation to see if you qualify.

The Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

706 S. Dixie Highway Second Floor

Coral Gables, FL  33146

Tel: 305 | 669 | 5280


short_saleMany homeowners, and realtors alike (offering short sale advice to their clients), are unaware that a short sale on a primary residence in Florida, will result in a complete forgiveness of debt to the homeowner seller.  The American Taxpayers Relief Act of 2012, which extended the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through December 31, 2013, provides full protection to homeowners who sell in a short sale and have part of their mortgage debt written off or forgiven.  Under this Act, if the home is the primary residence of the borrower and either a short sale, deed in lieu or certain other loss mitigation was completed, resulting in the forgiveness of debt to the homeowner, then that loan forgiveness is tax free and forever waived.  The lender can never again pursue the borrower to claim any penny of it.

Many homeowners in foreclosure wrongly think that “riding it out” is the answer.  They arrive at the incorrect conclusion that they can live years mortgage free and then, once the home sells in foreclosure, they are wiped away of the debt.  This is an INACCURACY.  If the foreclosure sells at auction, the lender may still claim the judgment or difference against the homeowner, which could result in a garnishment of wages, a freezing of debtors assets, bank accounts, seizing of any cars or boats or other methods to satisfy the debt. While unfortunately many colleagues continue to charge monthly for foreclosure defense,  all they are buying is time.  At the end, a trial or motion for summary judgment will creep up and if the borrower has done nothing to try and sell the property or modify, then most likely a judgment will result against them.

I always encourage foreclosure clients that I defend to find a solution early. Finding a solution early does not mean you have to move out.  On the contrary.  You may actually buy yourself more time, while a solution is found.  Be it either a short sale, loan modification, a deed in lieu of foreclosure, a HARP refinance or any other alternative that exists today, simply riding it out is not the solution.

Contact me for a complete analysis of your financial situation to see if you qualify for a short sale, for a loan modification and whether your home can be saved.  Only by hiring the services of a professional attorney will you be provided accurate and complete information to save you from a deficiency.


Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

706 S. Dixie Highway

Second Floor

Coral Gables, FL 33146

305 |  669  | 5280