Way Signs "Bailout - Collapse"In an announcement Thursday afternoon, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will engage in additional foreclosure protection to consumers. The announcement comes on the heals of a recorded $16 Billion record settlement by Bank of America for violations in failing to resolve its claims related to its toxic mortgages leading up to the financial crisis.

Among the proposed rules would be a requirement that servicers actively participate in extending additional loss mitigation options to its borrowers in crisis. Those targeted are consumers that brought their loans current during the mortgage crisis, either through a loss mitigation option or otherwise, but are still struggling.  Those who obtained permanent loan modifications and have made payments as required, but have suffered an unexpected death of a spouse, medical bills or otherwise, will be targeted for assistance.

Mortgage Heirs.  Equally as important, are the excluded class, that has struggled so hard to obtain loss mitigation options, after the death of the mortgagor, but has faced probate hurdles, with lenders excluding them since they did not sign the note or mortgage.  Mortgage heirs, or successors in interest of the properties left behind by mothers, fathers, deceased spouses, or property transferred through a family trust, or through death of a joint tenant, will be afforded additional protection.  The lenders will be required to work with them to identify and communicate about possible loss mitigation options available to ensure the heirs receive foreclosure protection.

Divorced spouses.  Property transferred through a divorce settlement, wherein one spouse wants to keep the house and is unable to due to the loss of income from the other spouse, will also be afforded protection under the proposed measures.

Additional safeguards are also proposed to ensure lenders work with borrowers once the loss mitigation applications are received. Included in such protections, which has been the center of much complaints over the years since the Making Home Affordable Program began are:

Loan Service Transfers during a pending loan modification.  Under the proposed plan, borrowers will need to be timely notified of any service transfer when the loss mitigation applications are in process or complete. If completed and approved, the new servicer would be required to evaluate it within 30 days of receipt.  If incomplete, other safeguards will be put in place.  For involuntary transfers to new servicers, the new servicer would have 15 days to evaluate it from transfer.

Bankrupt Borrowers.  Servicers will be required to provide early intervention notices to let borrowers know of their options prior to filing for bankruptcy.

And perhaps the greatest proposed measure:

Stalling a foreclosure during the pendency of a loan modification application. This seems to be the number one misconception for many borrowers, particularly the elderly, and non-native Americans, or Hispanics, who are under the false impression that applying for a modification will stop or stall the initiation of a foreclosure.  While measures and protections were already in place with prior CFPB regulations, lenders often failed to follow them.  The proposed CFPB measures will more strictly monitor this requirement to make sure lenders take adequate steps to work with borrowers so that wrongful foreclosures are not initiated, costing millions of dollars in attorneys fees, and costs, for wrongfully initiated foreclosures.

A full summary of the proposal can be found on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.  The rules and disclosures are open for public comment for 90 days after publication in the Federal Register.

For additional information, call attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.  We are well versed in all the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules and regulations as well as hold lenders accountable for their loss mitigation violations.  We work closely with consumers to make sure they are qualified for the type of loss mitigation program they desire,  and then work zealously to obtain those goals on behalf of the consumer client.

Call us today for a free consultation to see if you qualify for a loss mitigation program.


Stacks of One Hundred Dollar Bills with Small House.FHA, VA and USDA all offer programs for homeowners that are upside down on their mortgages, struggling to make ends meet. These programs offer reduce mortgage payments, up to 31 percent of the monthly gross income, making payments affordable. Programs can also decrease the interest rate, stretch out the amortization of existing loans and often provide principal forgiveness on loans that do not have to be paid back.

Proving eligibility for the programs can be tricky however if you qualify, the rewards are significant and can be the difference between losing your home because of inability to afford, to keeping a roof over your head at an affordable price.

Attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA and her staff are knowledgeable about all these programs under the Making Home Affordable Program and can advise what you qualify for. The first consultation is free of charge.


Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA
706 S. Dixie Highway
Second Floor
Coral Gables, FL33146
Tel:  305 669 5280


Hands - Holding HouseYou have stopped paying your mortgage, have been served  with a foreclosure complaint, Lis Pendens, and don’t know what to do.

Although filing an Answer pro se (representing yourself on your own behalf) is better than not filing anything at all, since a reply is required 20 days from the date of service of you will be defaulted,  by filing an Answer you may waive your rights and defenses.

There are many “affirmative defenses” or objections to the complaint that can be filed on the homeowners behalf that, if done correctly, can get the entire lawsuit dismissed.  However, if something is filed and the defenses are not claimed from the beginning, then they may be waived.

The smartest strategy is to hire an attorney to assist you with the foreclosure defense.  By reviewing the complaint, lis pendens and the closing package, defenses are preserved, and the best result achieved.

Foreclosures are often times negotiated and once a settlement or other resolution is reached, it goes away. However, only a legal professional familiar with the complaint, note, mortgage and required legal attachments knows what to do on behalf of a homeowner.

Don’t go it alone.  Defending a foreclosure in court is serious and if done improperly can result in losing your home AND still owing the bank your balance of the mortgage.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline Salcines, PA, we have over 14 years experience in real estate law, defending homeowners and obtaining the best possible outcome desired.  Whether you seek to keep your home and want to pursue a modification, or want to process a short sale, or perhaps even a loan settlement, let my team go to work for you.

We have a fully staffed Short Sale Department, Title Department, and loan modification/loss mitigation department to handle all of your real estate needs.

The first consultation is always free.



TEL:  305-669-5280


Home floating on a life preserver.Beginning January 2014, new CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) rules to protect homeowners and consumers shopping for home mortgages went into effect.  The rules sharply reduce the runarounds and stalling techniques frequented by the banks for both sort sales and loan modifications under the HAMP Making Home Affordable Program.

Virtually every mortgage now issued will be subject to these new rules. The rules set up a new type of mortgage referred to as a “Qualified Mortgage” which determine borrower eligibility to repay, prior to giving the loan.  It considers such factors as borrower income, assets, debt and credit history.

For borrowers seeking Loan Modifications, there are added protections as well.  Mortgage servicers will now have to call or contact the borrowers by the time they are 36 days late on their mortgage.  The borrower can not initiate a foreclosure until 120 days delinquent and by that time, should have already offered certain options to the delinquent borrower with regard to loss mitigation.

Mortgage servicers can also not start a foreclosure while they are working on a submitted application for modification.  This is an incredible win for homeowners in distress that are legitimately and diligently pursuing modifications due to financial hardships out of their control.

If the loan modification is denied, the lender must provide clear and concise information as to why it was denied, sent to the borrower explaining the reason for rejection.

Congress created the CFPB to make sure “financial markets work for the consumer”  For more information you can contract the CFPB at (855) 411-2372 or contact us at the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

We process loan modifications, short sales as well as loan settlements and other loss mitigation options for our clients. We know how to put the new rules and regulations to work for you so that you don’t lose your home due to the banks runarounds.

Call today. The first consult is always free of charge and can provide you with peace of mind.




TEL:  305.669.5280

Home floating on a life preserver.Yesterday we had the honor of calling up yet another client to advise of his loan modification approval and a more than $200,000 principal reduction on his loan.  This put his new mortgage principal at almost fair market value for his home, and a 2 percent interest rate.  His monthly mortgage payment was reduced by more than $1500.00.    And, we did it in less than 90 days!  Happy client. Happy firm.

The good news is that the bank are truly modifying mortgage balance principal and moving the HAMP modifications along in record time.  We have found 90 days to be the average time.  Yet, for all those that get modified, there are still millions trying.

If you modification is not going through, then you need to see who is processing it.  Has a bank negotiator been assigned to your case?  Is there a Specialist at the bank assisting you and confirming receipt of all financial documents?  If not, then this is the first step that needs to be taken so that you are dealing with one person for 90 days.

Corelogic reports today that nearly 6.4 million homeowners are still underwater in their loans in the United States.  This means that they owe more to the mortgage lender than their house is worth.  Florida is in second place behind Nevada.

The key to a successful modification is to make sure that it is handled by a professional that knows what they are doing, that you are qualified beforehand and that you follow up weekly. These are the three most important steps to take to ensure that your modification is approved.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation to see if you qualify for HAMP or any other loan modification program that may get you a principal reduction and interest rate reduction.


Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA
706 S. Dixie Highway
Second Floor
Coral Gables, Fl 33146
Tel: 305.669.5280


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


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.



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