Home floating on a life preserver.According to the U.S. Treasury Department, more than 1.2 million homeowners have received permanent modifications through the Home Affordable Modification Program. The average savings being about $547.00 per month on the mortgage payment.   This accounts for almost 40% savings from the previous payment average.

For those that have received principal reductions, there has been granted, according to the Treasury, over 12.1 billion reduction in principal.   However, short sales are up.  The Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, showed less applications by September 2013 for loan modifications, then relief sought through short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure assistance.  The HAFA assistance program, that grants the majority of homeowners that short sale their primary residence, monetary incentives and a deficiency waiver of their balance, saw an increase in applications through September of this year.

As of September, servicers completed more than 226,000 HAFA transactions, up from the same time last year.  This may be caused by the fact that the properties are upside down, and the years of not paying for mortgages, has caused arrears to have increased significantly.  In a short sale, all arrears and balances are waived under HAFA, when it is the homeowners primary residence, or was for months preceding the application.

The top three states for HAFA short sale applications are California, Florida and Arizona.

A short sale application is easy and when the entire negotiation is handled by competent attorney and staff, the process is quick and seamless.  The lender will also pay all closing costs, and taxes and insurance. As well, as off the homeowner under HAFA an incentive depending on certain criteria, which can be as much as $35,000.00

Call us today for a free consultation to see if you qualify for a HAFA short sale or loan modification.  We have the start of the art programs that can qualify you to keep your home under HAMP or short sale it under HAFA.



TEL.  (305) 669-5280


Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.The South Florida housing market, as well as that across the country, has witnessed double digit price increases over the span of a year, from 2012 to 2013.   In fact, industry leaders and professional claim that we are in or entering another bubble in South Florida, due to the lack of inventory.  It is a sellers market once again, with homes being listed for sale and obtaining numerous contracts, at asking price, within hours of hitting the real estate market.  This is particularly true in cities such as Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and other Miami Dade County areas.

The question for Sellers and Buyers alike then becomes, should we list? Should be buy now?  Or should be wait and see if prices flatten out?  Everyone would love to have the answer to this but unfortunately, all we can do is predict.

According to the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Price Indexes, price appreciation is expted to fall out of the double digits, reaching 5.4 percent by the beginning of 2014. And wil continue to drop off even further to 3.4 percent over the next 5 years.

The housing market has witnessed over the past year, increase in housing construction, and all time low inventory.  This will affect home prices for a time to come.  However, in recent months, we have seen investor demand waning, and not steady or increasing as the beginning of 2013.

With this information, the most important bit of advice for any investor, seller or buyer in this market, is to hire the services of a professional real estate attorney and realtor to make sure that the property is priced right, whether buying or selling.

As a real estate attorney, accountant, and realtor, Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq. provides sound advice for investors and sellers alike.

Call us today for a free consultation.  Or email us at J.Salcines@Salcineslaw.com


TEL:  (305) 669-5280


Insurance - Home Icon on Multicolor Puzzle. Anytime a mortgage is taken out on a property, the borrower pledges the property as collateral for the loan.  As part of the mortgage terms, the borrower is then required to maintain property insurance including hazard, wind, and often times flood insurance, covering the property.  The amount of the coverage is usually determined by the amount of the loan or monies loaned by the lender.  If the property insurance is paid by the borrower annually, it is very important that the borrower keep the insurance current and not allow it to lapse. There have even been cases when the insurance was escrowed by the lender but perhaps a bill crossed in the mail or was lost, and the lender allows the insurance to lapse. A Notice of Intent to Cancel should never be ignored. This is a notice from the insurance company that the policy will be cancelled in a certain number of days.

So what happens if the insurance lapses (is not paid and cancelled)?  Well, pursuant to the terms of most mortgages, the bank now has authority, given to them by the borrower homeowner, to purchase their own insurance policy, called Force Placed Insurance, and to charge it to the borrower.  The bank can increase the limits of the coverage and ask for any endorsements or other items on the policy that may result in the cost of the policy rising to two and three times the original amount.  The borrower then will receive a bill asking them to pay the amount in full or, if escrowed, may increase the monthly amount of the mortgage payment by the monthly premium (yearly premium divided by 12).

When homeowners receive this, it is too late and often they can not cancel the force placed and must wait a year. However, they also can not afford the payment nor the lump sum required to be paid by the mortgage company, and fall into default on their mortgage.

This has become one of the main reasons that homeowners are now falling into default of their mortgages and requesting loan modifications and/or short sales.  The bank makes it difficult to work with them when they demand payment in full of sums due, and wont negotiate any terms when it comes to the insurance.  However, there are many ways around it.

In my firm, we recently had a client obtain a proposal from their prior insurance agent, pay the premium, then showed the bank that the premium was paid.  Once this was done, the lender agreed to cancel the forced placed, but there remained the issue of the past premiums.  So this in turn had to be negotiated as well, and a portion may be forgiven, erased or a payment plan can be negotiated.

It is very important to enlist the services of an attorney to fight for your rights when force placed insurance or escrows cause you to become delinquent in your mortgage.

Often times, homeowners are not equipped to take this battle all the way to upper management, or perhaps can not determine when they are being ripped off by the lender.

If is imperative that the homeowner ask for the policy. Request a copy of the invoice and dec sheet or document evidencing the coverage limits, etc.

In fact, there have been a wave of lawsuits against certain lenders who were determined by the court to have worked together with the insurance companies, such as Citizens Property Insurance, and were receiving kickbacks from the insurance companies for putting the force placed insurance in place. Wells Fargo is one of those lenders being investigated for force placed insurance fraud.

If you are having difficulty paying your mortgage due to insurance escrows or insurance amounts being astronomically high, contact us today.

We can assist you in attempts to lower the amounts, investigate the force placed policies, and cancel them so you will not lose your home.

Call us today for a free consultation.