Home Foreclosure document and legal gavelLanguage in almost every single Mortgage requires that your lender send an “Acceleration Letter” or “Notice of Intent to Accelerate” or more commonly known as the “Default Letter” with very specific language before they can foreclose or initiate foreclosure against you in court for non-payment or default of a mortgage. Standard Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages contain this language in paragraph 22 of the mortgage instrument. However, depending on who was your lender and the type of loan, the language may be found elsewhere.

The reason this is important is that the law affords the homeowner a chance to reinstate the loan, and bring it current before the foreclosure is started.  It also alerts or puts the homeowner that has defaulted on their mortgage, that the lender bank can take their home away in order to satisfy the debt that is owed under the Note and Mortgage.

The specific requirements of the acceleration notice are spelled out in Paragraph 22 of the mortgage.  That is the notice must:

  1. specify that the borrower is in default;
  2. specify the action required to fix or cure the default;
  3. specify the date, not less than 30 days from the date of the letter, by which the default must be cured; and,
  4. specify that failure to pay the loan and cure the default, may result in the full balance being owed at once (acceleration).


The most overlooked requirement by the lenders is that they fails to clearly state that the action required to cure the default is pay “a specific amount”.  Even if payment becomes due during the default, the borrower must know the exact amounts necessary, including late fees or otherwise, to bring the loan current.  The lender usually omits this or includes the wrong amount.

Or, the lender states “call us to obtain the exact amount owed”  The mortgage requires that the letter itself identify “the action that is required”.

In Florida, many lenders either do not sent this letter, do not send the letter with the correct language, or the wrong entity sends it.  The loan may have already been assigned and the letter comes from a prior owner of the note that no longer has the right to collect on the loan.

This error by the lender, results in immediate affirmative defenses that the borrower can claim in order to defend the foreclosure lawsuit and protect themselves so they do not lose the home or property.

If you face foreclosure and are unsure whether your lender has provided you with the correct acceleration notice, contact us today to review it and provide accurate legal advice as to your defenses against foreclosure.



TEL.  305 | 669 | 5280


Loan Modification Green Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky. Recent changes in the handling of FHA loans under the Making Homes Affordable Program  under the Home Affordable Modification Program, has now made it significantly easier for underwater homeowners with FHA loans to qualify.  Many obstacles and requirements were removed, making those with FHA loans that were previously turned down or ineligible to now qualify.  These key changes have paved the way for millions of borrowers who were once denied, to now be eligible for a loan modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program / Making Homes Affordable.

These significant changes explained in detail under the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Mortgagee Letter 2012-22 requires that “lenders must begin to assess mortgagors in default under FHA’s loss mitigation priority order and policies herein” within 90 days of the letter which is dated November 16, 2012.

What do the key changes mean for borrowers?  Well, among other things the following:

1.   Eliminates the requirement that the mortgage be no more than 12 months past due.  This was one of the most significant changes. Previously, on FHA loans that borrowers had stopped paying and tried to obtain a loan modification under the Making Homes Affordable, if they were more than 12 months past due, they were turned down as ineligible.  This is now removed and the borrowers that  need the most help may now apply and qualify.

2.  Permits Borrowers who defaulted on a prior Modification Trial Period to re-apply under FHA-HAMP.  Previously, HAMP was considered a “once in a lifetime” modification. If a borrower was lucky enough to get it once, but inadvertently failed to make a payment or a change in circumstance caused them to default, they were not permitted to reapply. Rather the lender could only consider them for an in house modification at the lenders discretion.  Now, borrowers that have defaulted on a prior trial period are free to reapply.

3.  Eliminates the FHA-HAMP Back End Debt-to Income Ratio requirement of 55 percent.  This is a calculation that we make in our office to determine if a borrower with an FHA loan is eligible.  Primarily, the borrower would not be considered and would be ineligible for a HAMP modification if his or her monthly housing costs including PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) consisted of more than 55% of their monthly gross income.  Now, this rule is removed and borrowers who were once turned down may now qualify.

These are just a few of the changes made under the FHA Mortgage Relief/Loss Mitigation new rules.  As always, we encourage homeowners to speak with qualified professionals such as our firm to see whether you qualify before submitting documents to the lender.

Often times, borrowers believe they know how to fill out the RMA (Request for Modification and Affidavit) forms and do so, only to be turned down by the lender after months and months, because the calculations were done incorrectly.

At my firm, we have the privilege of possessing computer  programs with built in calculations used by the Making Homes Affordable and Home Affordable Modification Program which allow us to qualify individuals right in our office.  Once we run the numbers and know what the borrower is eligible for, we know exactly what the lender is or is not required to do.

This is how we have been able to modify such a large number of client loans with great satisfaction.

Call us today for a free consultation.  Our reviews speak for themselves!



Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA
Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.
706 S. Dixie Highway
Second Floor
Coral Gables, FL 33146
Tel: (305) 669-5280


Stacks of One Hundred Dollar Bills with Small House.This is the million dollar question asked by homeowners that are looking to sell their property in today’s market.  Many clients are visiting our offices with the notion of a short sale or loan modification. However, once we are able to run the property on the MLX and prepare a Comparative Market Analysis by square footage, the property may be worth far more than originally anticipated.  This puts the seller in either a great position to sell, or in a terrible position with a second mortgage unable to short sale or modify or sell for a profit.

If there is no equity, second mortgages can still be settled for pennies on the dollar,  thus creating equity.  Then, a regular sale, not a short sale, can be had.  A short sale requires that the property be worth LESS than the first mortgage balance.  And the balance will be what the final judgment reveals after the foreclosure, if the property was foreclosed. Only an attorney can assess the true value and determine whether it is a short sale or not.

IF trying to modify, again the primary question is what is the property worth? The existing value of the property will be the single most important factor to determine whether qualify.  If the property is not upside down, that is the mortgage balance is less than the fair market value, then the lender will typically not modify.  The loan will most probably not fall into the Making Home Affordable Program.  The homeowner is then found in a bind because they can not sell, they can not modify and they can not short sale.  The only option left is to try and negotiate the balance with the lender.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we have a staff of  attorneys, realtors and accountants, all knowledgeable in every aspect of the real estate field, to provide the most accurate and expert knowledge so that our clients can make an informed and proper decision with regard to their properties.

Call us today for a free consultation.  To see what your property is worth and whether a short sale or loan modification is in your future.

Offices in Coral Gables
Tel:  305 | 669 | 5280
Or email us at J.Salcines@Salcineslaw.com


House and lawUnderwater borrowers these days have many options… and bankruptcy does not have to be one of them.  Often time, a borrower comes into my office, has stopped paying his or her mortgage, and has reached the conclusion, albeit the erroneous one, that filing for bankruptcy is the only way.  Many have been provided wrong or inaccurate information from the neighbors or friends, or have drawn these conclusions on their own, because they have simply not been educated on the many options that exist for underwater properties.

While a bankruptcy can wreak havoc on your credit report, and such derogatory information can last for many, many years, other loss mitigation options are less damaging to a borrowers credit and can allow the borrower to obtain a new loan and recover from the nightmare quicker.

For instance, a short sale.  In a short sale, the borrower remains in their home until the sale gets to closing.  This may mean many months of nonpayment of the mortgage, which while damaging to a credit report, at the time the closing takes place, the lender will most likely report the sale as “settled for less than agreed” or simply “settled”.  The lender will also remove the mortgage balance and replace it with a zero balance on the credit report, which may automatically improve the borrowers debt to asset ratio.  Usually borrowers are able to purchase homes and obtain new loans within a year with this option.

There is also a loan modification option with a settlement of the second loan.  Many lenders are approving loan modifications these days at record speed. Moreover, they are making huge principal reductions, as evidenced by our recent client who obtained a $300,000.00 mortgage write off under the Making Home Affordable program and a new interest rate of 2%

The second lender, if the property is upside down, may agree to accept a 10% settlement for their loan and cancel the loan altogether.  This means the borrower can keep their home with a mortgage value of what the property is worth.  Again, avoiding bankruptcy all together.

A deed in lieu of foreclosure also allows the borrower to deed the property back to the lender, with a possible write off of the mortgage is properly negotiated and primary residence of the borrower. Again, this option avoids bankruptcy.

So for all the borrowers out there that think bankruptcy is their only option, think again.  While many bankruptcy attorneys like to have the borrowers believe this (and I am not knocking any colleagues here) many are simply not knowledgeable enough to provide other options.  Bankruptcy is all they know.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we make it our business to know all the possibilities that exist and all the programs out there to assist homeowners.  Attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq. personally sits down with each and every prospective client to run their numbers and qualify the person for one of the programs above.  If you don’t qualify, then we do not take your case on.

But most important, we are here to help.  We know how damaging bankruptcy is to your credit and will do everything in our power to have our clients avoid that.

Our offices are located in the heart of Coral Gables. Call for  a free evaluation of your case today.

TEL.  305 .  669.  5280




Stacks of One Hundred Dollar Bills with Small House.Si Usted a tenida problemas de trabajo, de salud, de matrimonio o cualquier otra dificultad que ha hecho perjudicar los pagos hipotecarios, y esta buscando una manera para salir adelante, el short sale or programa de modificacion de Making HOme Affordable puede ser su mejor solucion.

El programa de short sale de HAFA brinda grandes ventajas.  Si es su residencia primaria y califica bajo el programa HAFA, puede ser que al terminar el Short Sale, el balance quede completamente borrado, puede Usted recibir incentivos monetarios de su banco, y evitar penalidades del 1099-C con el IRS.  Nosotros negociamos directamente con su banco para determiner el previo de venta acceptable por adelantado, para asegurar su mayor proteccion.

Si Usted tiene ingresos y quiere quedarse con su vivienda, el Programa de Modificacion bajo el Making Home Affordable es su mejor solucion para ayudarle a reducer los pagos hipotecarios, sea el balance o mensualidad, y reducer el interes, muchas veces hasta el 2%.

Y existen muchas otras alternativas!

Con tanto en juego, Usted se beneficiaria de la ayuda de un expert en viviendas.  Permita que la firma de abogados Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA revisa su estado financiero, a ningun costo para Usted.  Una vez que se revisa, se le ofrece la mejor solucion a su problema hipotecario.

Tambien ofrecemos foreclosure defense, defense de foreclosure, para parar su caso en la corte mientras buscamos su mejor alternativa.

Llamenos hoy para una consulta con la abogada Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq., completamente gratis.


Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA
706 S. Dixie Highway
Second Floor
Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Tel:  305 | 669 | 5280


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


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


Way Signs "Bailout - Collapse"As the third round of foreclosure review checks went out Friday, my office is inundated with calls as to what these checks represent, and more importantly, will depositing them waive the borrowers rights to pursue banking and lending violations by the lender?

As of April 25, 2013, 1,150,328 recipients have cashed or deposited $1.1 billion in checks from the settlement reached in January between 13 servicers and federal regulators.  The servicers include Aurora Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, Morgan Stanley, PNC, Sovereign, SunTrust, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

This new agreement, which  replaces the poorly structured and obsolete “Independent Foreclosure Review process”, which required consent by the borrower, automatically calculates the amount of funds owed the borrower based on the amount of the loan, and arbitrarily remits checks by mail to the borrower.  Unlike the Independent Foreclosure Review, the new settlement is based on the “unpaid balance of the loan” and not the amount of assistance provided to the borrower.    This shifts the focus to assist higher priced homes with larger unpaid balances.  About 2.3 million borrowers will receive $300.00.

The payments will range between $300.00 and $125,000.00, depending on how much harm a borrower potentially suffered as a result of actions by the mortgage servicer.  The vast majority of the recipients of the $300.00 check, include borrowers who had a loan modification request approved but still ended up in foreclosure.  They also include more than 800,000 borrowers whose servicers did not participate in the loan modification or failed to offer any help, when their loan clearly merited it.

It is estimated that up to 1082 borrowers who lost homes in foreclosure even though they were protected by the military services may get up to $125,000.00 as well as those who lost homes in foreclosure and were not even in default. As crazy as that sounds, it has occurred.

Borrowers who were in an active bankruptcy  and the foreclosure sale went through anyhow, may be eligible to receive between $62,500.00 and $31,250.00 .

Overall, borrowers will only get a fraction of the amount they are truly entitled to based on bad banking practice and violation of law.

The banks that did not join the settlement include OneWest, EverBank and GMAC Mortgage.

The new agreement also does not require banks to fix a borrowers credit, specially if it was reported erroneously.  The borrowers would need to go after the bank independently to get any erroneous information removed or corrected.

The settlement will do little to repair the long standing effects of wrongly filed foreclosures, or sales of properties in foreclosure that should have never been sold. However, it is a start.

The final million dollar question remains …” will depositing the check result in a waiver and release of claims by the borrower against the servicer”.  As with all legal settlements, you are urged to consult with an attorney to review the specific terms of your particular settlement in advance of depositing any check, to see what, if any rights, are being waived.

Call us for a free consultation regarding your eligibility.

Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

706 S. Dixie Highway

Second Floor

Coral Gables, FL 33146

305  |   669  |   5280




Loan Modification Green Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

In a push to simplify mortgage modifications and assist homeowners that could not previously qualify under the traditional modification and Making Home Affordable Program, the FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) announced on March 27, 2013, a new simplified modification program.  Called the Streamlined Modification Initiative, the program was created for all Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac backed loans,  to assist borrowers in maintaining homeownership.  Many borrowers who were ineligible or disqualified on the traditional HAMP plans, may now qualify since certain requirements, such are documenting hardship, are now waived under this new initiative.  This will encourage borrowers that have ceased making mortgage payments on their homes, to seek modifications, avoid foreclosures and stay in their homes. And as with HAMP modifications, principal reduction of the mortgage balance may be possible.

The program involves Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgages and in order to qualify, preliminarily, the following criteria must be met:

  • Must be at least 90 days to 24 months delinquent on the mortgage payment
  • Loan must be guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  • First loan must be at least 12 months old
  • May not have modified more than two times previously

“The key difference is that borrowers will not be required to document their hardship or financial situation, but will be able to accept a Streamlined Modification Offer by simply making the trial period payments and agreeing to the terms of the modification.”

Source:  Federal Housing Finance Agency News Release March 27, 2013.

The Streamlined Modification Initiative Program is set to begin on July 1, 2013.  As of that date, servicers whose loans fall under the above parameters must identify the loans/borrowers that qualify and send them an “OFFER LETTER” which will include the “modified proposed payment“.

As with HAMP Modifications, principal reductions may be available depending on ratios and values determined by the lender.

Unfortunately, those borrowers that are more than 24 months past due on their mortgages will not qualify.  The FHFA has determined that with such a high deficiency/arrearages, the loan to value ratios will eliminate them from the program.

Second home loans owned and/or serviced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also eligible under the Program as well as investment properties.

To find out more, visit our website at WWW.SALCINESLAW.COM or call attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq. at (305) 669-5280 for a no cost consultation, to see whether your loan is owned/serviced or guaranteed by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and whether you qualify.



The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Rising Prices of Homes has drastically shrunk the ranks of Underwater Borrowers”.  Source:  The Wall Street Journal  February 25, 2013.  To read the full article click the following link:  http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2013/02/21/rising-prices-shrink-ranks-of-underwater-borrowersHome floating on a life preserver.

In fact, according to the Article, and citing from reports by Zillow, “around 2 million homeowners moved back above water last year”.

So what does this mean for our South Florida market.  Well, what once was considered a short sale, may in fact now be a regular sale.  Sellers that were forced to sell their homes because of trouble making mortgage payments due to either having entered into subprime loans, adjustable interest rate mortgages and fast approaching balloon mortgages, may now have equity. This equity translates into the ability to refinance their home and take advantage of  low mortgage rates OR sell their home and make a profit.

“While the looming release of shadow inventory is expected to affect prices and perhaps “burst the bubble” once more, South Florida home owners can take advantage of the rise in prices to set their objectives in place”.  Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq, real estate attorney.

Now is the time to consult a real estate expert to find out what your home is worth and decide whether to sell the home or refinance.  In reality, nobody knows how long this new bubble is going to last and one might as well take advantage of the life preserver.