It is estimated that 40 percent of loan modifications fail and the borrowers default the first time around.  It is no surprise, as many are locked into a price that they can afford. However, due to the fact the Making Home Affordable HAMP Program obligates the borrowers to include escrows (taxes, insurance and PMI) in their loan modification payment, as soon as taxes or insurance rise, so does the payment. This results in the borrower once again defaulting. Loan Modification Green Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

A recent report prepared by Barclays revealed that “75 percent of remods occur after 18 months of the previous modification, and about a quarter of those remods were given to borrowers who were current”.  Source: DS News February 18, 2013.

Moreover, as more bank have faced an avalanche of lawsuits, investigations, audits by the Department of Justice as well as penalties, when older loan modifications did not see principal reductions, nowadays the lenders are much more agreeable to reducing principal and interest rates.  “Our largest principal reduction to date was $302,000.00 off a primary loan”  Says Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq., an attorney handling loan modification in Coral Gables, Florida.

“The best advice I can give to anyone out there looking to modify their existing loan is  do your homework.  Make sure your lender participates in HAMP. Make sure your numbers are right. Many borrowers submit RMA Loan Modification Packages thinking they have to show a deficit every month.  That is, more expenses than income.  This criteria will actually get you denied, FAST.  You must follow the ratios of the bank to make sure your numbers qualify you. And if they dont, there are avenues to pursue to get them there.  Lenders allows contributions to income from food stamps, family members, rental of rooms inside the home, cash tips, etc.  But if the borrower does not know this, provides their financials over the phone and gets disqualified, there are no second chances.” Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.

If you are having trouble making your mortgage payments, consult a Loan Modification professional that is familiar with the rules and regulations specific to each lender.  Make sure your numbers are run before you are charged.  “At my firm, my practice is to qualify the borrower first and foremost during the initial consult. Unless you qualify, I will not take your case”.  Jacqueline  A. Salcines, Esq., Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

Call us anytime for a no fee consultation to see if you qualify. Even if you have modified in the past, you may still be eligible for a principal reduction and lower interest rates under the new regulations.


Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

Telephone:  305  |  669  | 5280


According to The Miami Herald, “Florida claimed first place in the nation in foreclosure activity in January – eclipsing much larger California, according to data in RealtyTrac.”  – The Miami Herald, Thursday, February 14, 2013. short_sales

The Realty Trac report shows:

The Florida foreclosure rate ranked highest among the states for the fifth  month in a row. One in every 300 Florida housing units had a foreclosure filing  in January — more than twice the national average. A  total of 29,800 Florida properties had a foreclosure filing during the month, up  12 percent from the previous month and up 20 percent from January  2012.

With one in every 344 housing units with a foreclosure filing in January,  Nevada posted the nation’s second highest foreclosure rate for the fourth consecutive month. Overall  Nevada foreclosure activity decreased 43 percent from a year ago, but  foreclosure starts (NODs) increased 19 percent from the previous month and were  up 87 percent from January 2012 to a 16-month high.

A 32 percent month-over-month jump in scheduled foreclosure auctions helped the Illinois foreclosure rate  rise to third highest among the states in January. One in every 375 Illinois  housing units had a foreclosure filing during the month.

Read more:  Great Foreclosure News, Except for Florida and California — RealtyTrac – 24/7 Wall St.

The burning question is… will this affect our incredible recovery here in South Florida? Will prices take a hit once the  thousands of expected foreclosures are filed in the coming months?  Only time will tell.  Obviously, by placing more distressed homes into the market, inventory of homes will go up, and values are destined to decline. But, short sales and distressed property sales rely on BPO’s , or market appraisals.  Market appraisals take into consideration what is selling, what has sold, distressed or not.  So, while this may be bad news for the investors looking to pick up some more distressed properties, it is good news for sellers of non-distressed properties.

“My prediction…values will take a small dive, but our upward climb will continue and we will once again be at 2004 and 2005 values, in a short time”.  – Jacqueline A. Salcines. Esq.

Don’t go it alone.  Rely on the services of a qualified Real Estate Lawyer to analyze your current situation and provide you with the best knowledge available to make an informed decision.

Call for a free consultation.     305  |  669  | 5280




September 2012 saw the priciest home sale in Florida history, with the sale of 3 Indian Creek Drive at $45 Million.  Few can believe that the Florida housing market is experiencing such a quick recovery and how rapidly it has turned into a Seller’s market again.  But the proof is in the listings.  Take for example the following:

4 Tahiti Beach Island Road currently listed at $30,000,000.00 or 41 Arvida Parkway in Gables Estates listed at $27 Million and 9151 Arvida Lane in Gables Estates listed at $18 Million.

Are we safe to assume that South Florida is out of the woods and back to the 2005 home sales era?  Well that’s just whats happening is some of the nations most competitive and sought after housing markets such as Coral Gables, Pinecrest and Coconut Grove.  Sales of upper high-end properties are booming in the double digit figures, with tight supply driving prices of highly desirable prices skyrocketing and creating bidding wars (who ever thought we would use that word again so soon).

So what is driving the prices high and creating this Seller’s market?  Well, across the nation there are various explanations. But, in South Florida, a few come to mind.

1.   Turmoil in Europe and South America.  The luxury market is clearly being driven and often times kept afloat by the flurry of foreign investors seeking to place their capital in a safe environment.  Countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, as well as now shaky Europe. These investors are coming in droves and pouring their money here, be it individual investors  or by pooling their capital through LLC’s and seeking EB-5 Visas for automatic residency.  Cities such as Coral Gables, Miami and Pinecrest are reaping the rewards of foreign global financial markets that have been thrown into chaos such as Europe.  Paul Bishop, Vice President of Research at the National Association of Realtors agrees.  “foreign buyers are very active for many of the same reasons domestic buyers are”.  “Assets in the U.S. including real estate, look pretty appealing as opposed to other parts of the world”.

2.  Financial Flexibility. Buyers that are considering large purchases, are generally borrowing at very low interest rates, or have the liquid cash on hand.  And what better place to invest then a recovering real estate market, that will offer a return on investment far exceeding any national institution.

3. Perception of Value. Even at the very top of the real estate market, buyers still want to ensure that their money is being invested correctly. This means that once savvy home buyers who were holding off in prior years, now are seeing the market recovering.  And the recovery is blazing.  While years previous have shown large declines, luxury home buyers seem to think, as do market professionals, that the luxury market has seen its worst and is now headed to the top once again.  Therefore, the time to buy is now before prices get any higher.

4.  Low Inventory.  Many seeking high end homes in either Gables Estates, Cocoplum, Old Cutler Bay, Star Island and other secluded sectors, have found inventory dwindling.  So when a house goes on the  market, the high end buyers are jumping on it.  “Take for example, the recent sale of Pat Riley, former Miami Heat Coach’s pad” says Jacqueline Salcines, Esq. with the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, P.A. “This luxury home recently sold for $16.8 million and it is reported that the buyer intends to demolish the current structure and build anew”. This was unheard of in the recent South Florida real estate market but truly a sign that the market has taken a turn for the better and is recovering at record speed.”  What better proof than the boom in condominiums going up in the Downtown, Brickell and South Beach area.  “Being of Argentinian decent, I can definately attest to the fact that … the Argentinians are coming in swarms” says attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.

All said, what is one to expect in the coming months?  “If my 15 years experience in the housing market and practicing real estate law serves as a guide, we will see a continued influx of foreign investors, Brazilians, Argentinians, Venezuelans, and perhaps a few new ones, Russians, Italians, all looking to reap the rewards of a stable and blazing hot real estate market.”  South Florida is the poster child of a quick recovery and I am honored and excited to be a part of it.” -Jacqueline Salcines, Esq.

Dont Go it Alone.  Seek the assistance of an experienced Real Estate Attorney to assess your investment, review title, and make sure that your investment is a sound one.

Call me today for a no fee consultation.


305 |669 | 5280

You’ve all heard the story before, months and months of laboring to get the short sale approval, you finally get it and the second lien holder or mortgage company will not accept what the first lien holder is agreeing to pay them.  Result:  Now your short sale is held hostage.  The first will not pay more, the second will not accept less.  What are the alternatives to get this approved after so much hard work?short_sale

Well, first of all, anyone negotiating or selling their home in a short sale must be familiar with their rights. Under the HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative) Program, the first lien holder MUST, not may, MUST, pay the 2nd lien holder $8,500.00. There are rules that regulate this payout and therefore the 1st lien holder can not wiggle its way out of this.  And the 2nd lien holders are keenly aware of these regulations.

Now, if the short sale falls outside of the HAFA Program, then you have a dilemma.  For the most part, the 1st lien holder will request a payoff statement of the first and typically (I say typically because in short sales there is nothing typical), they will pay 10% or a maximum of $6,000.00

“I have been negotiating short sales for quite some time and they (the lenders), for the most part, do adhere to the 10% rule.  But, in the event they pay less and the 2nd lien holder demands more, this is NOT necessarily the end of the line.  There are still options.  If the borrower is receiving an incentive at closing from the 1st lien holder, the 1st bank will allow the borrower/seller to contribute that money towards paying off the 2nd.  They will also permit you to enter into a promissory note, usually at 0% interest, ten (10) years, in order to reach that number.  Or, in the alternative, all the other parties in the game can make some contributions. Often times, realtors as well as the buyer are agreeable to making certain concession in order for the great deal to go through.  After all, if the closing falls through, the nobody gets paid and the buyer doesnt get their property.”  –  Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.

So, while the 2nd lien holder can certainly hold a short sale hostage and there are no laws you can use to force them to agree to a payout, there are still some alternatives to make the short sale go through to closing.

Short sales are crafty games played by crafty players.  Everyone has to have some skin in the game to make the process work smoothly.

And, if it goes smoothly, then as in any games, there will be many winners, and perhaps a few losers (the banks).

Dont go it alone. Consult a professional real estate lawyer to handle your mortgage problems.  We are a phone call away.


JACQUELINE A. SALCINES, ESQ.     TELEPHONE:  305  | 669 | 5280



The Responsible Homeowner Refinancing Act of 2013 was reintroduced this week for approval by Congress. Home floating on a life preserver.

This bill, if passed, will benefit responsible homeowners who have stayed afloat and maintained their mortgage payments current, despite their home values being upside down.  Responsible for the introduction of this bill are U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Barbara Boxer (CA).  First introduced in the 112th Congress but not passed, the bill is now gaining momentum again.  Perhaps more relevant now that the housing market is experiencing a recovery, though not quick enough for underwater homeowners  who have been unable to modify for too much income, and unable to refinance for too little equity.  This bill will also affect the impending wave of new foreclosures predicted for 2013, removing some homeowners from foreclosures all together.

Under the proposed bill, hardworking, responsible homeowners who entered into high interest, or interest only loans, will be able to refinance,  and reap the reward of current interest rates which are at 3.53 percent.  Responsible homeowners will be able to avoid foreclosure and have some money in their pockets.

The bill, which will enchance the current HARP program, seeks to eliminate the requirements that borrowers verify income or employment, as under the current HARP rules. The bill will also affect that manner in which appraisals are approved and handled, and reduce the cost and time for borrowers and lenders alike.  It will also extend the HARP program by one more year, through the end of 2014.

“This is great news for the underwater homeowner.  The HARP program has been fantastic in throwing a life preserver to the homeowner that is current on their mortgage and we have seen many mortgages reduced through principal reductions.  I am glad that Congress is taking note of the homeowners and how they are suffering in the current state of our real estate market.” Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.

So, this is more good news for underwater homeowners!  Now, if only the real estate market will continue to improve, we sseem to be almost out of the woods!!

DONT GO IT ALONE.  For more information on whether you qualify for a HARP Refinance, modificaiton, short sale or other relief, call me anytime.

Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.

Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA

A law firm dedicated to all of your real estate needs.

305 |  669  |  5280

Many buyers and sellers are on pins and needles… not knowing whether to take the plunge and buy a property or place their homes on the market and take a chance that they are making the best profit.  Certainly no one expected the housing market, paricularly the Miami, Coral Gables and Pinecrest areas, to go up so dramatically since the bubble exploded.  However, the wave of recent sales and the return to the 10 contract deals, has certainly put the market back in the sellers hands. 20130201-182045.jpg

So, to invest or not to invest?  That is the question.  TrustED market researchers and forecasters predict a steady 1% to 3 % increase in home prices in 2013, but is this accurate? Afterall, Miami, Florida is certainly not the norm, and in some areas, prices are inching back to 2003 and 2004 levels.  Certainly, the market has turned the corner and the chances of the bubble burting again, are very slender.

There is also the issues of the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction that will impact recovery. While most tax specialists expect a “cap” rather than a full elimination, for the LUXURY HOME BUYER and higher income folks, this is something that needs to be considered as it may affect their benefits from the tax deduction.

Sales are also being helped by record low mortgage rates, lower unemployment and a decrease in distressed home sales.  This is causing an improved demand for homes, specifically in the South Florida area, where inventory is so diminshed.

The National Association of Realtors reported that while December sales were just slighly below November, sales for the full year (2011) were the best we’ve seen since 2007.  Source: National Association of Realtors.

“As a real estate professional in the business for more than 15 years, the best advice I can give for navigating the 2013 real estate market is to hire the right team of professionals, including a knowledgeable attorney to check title and a realtor who can assess home values, comparables in the area, as well as determine the best price to come in at or list at.  This will remove your competition and provide you with peace of mind that you are buying or selling at the best price, a price supported by our presend day real estate market.”  Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.






Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced new rules, known as the Qualified Mortgage (or QM for short), for mortgage financing. This new regulation, while creating a safer harbor for the lenders, reducing their risks, drastically impacts homebuyers and their ability to obtain loans.

At the start of 2013, lenders will face stricter guidelines in getting their loans approved. This translates into additional safeguards, additional manpower, additional fees and costs to borrowers. The rules will require tighter qualify control requirements for lenders including full documentation of applicant’s income, assets, employment, credit history, etc.

Plus, the Dodd-Frank Law in effect, limits points for qualified mortgages at 3 percent of the loan. This could heavily impact large lenders and home builders who provide incentives for home owners and use affiliated companies for their services, such as appraisers, title and surveyors.
Also affected are jumbo mortgages, which could affect higher end home sales in Counties and Cities with higher sales figures such as Coral Gables, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. Jumbo loan limits in Florida counties are classified as follows:

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Under the new regulations, to achieve safe harbor status, a loan must not have a debt-to-income ratio in excess of 43%. David Stevens, Chairman and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association estimates that “between 22 and 25 percent of all jumbo loans that exceed those limits, have DTI’s beyone that cap” thereby they will be affected.

To read more on this go to:

So, a few tips to make financing your home easier and allowing you to escape this bureacacy:

● Preserve your credit and keep your credit scores high
● Put down at least a 20% down payment on your purchase
● Avoid PMI mortgage insurance
● Use a qualified mortgage banker or broker to find the best possible programs and loans
out there for you based on your particular situation.

And the best advice of all… don’t go it alone.

Hire a qualified attorney to handle your closing! By hiring an attorney and accountant, you pay no more than a title company would charge BUT get additional services from a qualified professional including

● Review of Good Faith Estimates provided by mortgage brokers to check fees and costs

● Review and examination of title on the home you are purchasing to make sure title is free and clear of all encumbrances
● Preparation of the Closing Statement HUD-1 to make sure all charges are accurate
● Attendance at closing and review of all lender documents including mortgage and note

Contact me for more information on our real estate closing services.

Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq. 305|669|5280

Or email me directly at


On Friday, January 18, 2013, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced changes to their servicing requirements for short sales. These changes apply to all Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac short sales, with an offer and without an offer.

• Title Transfer requirement change:

o The buyer is prohibited from selling the property for any sales price for a period of 30 days from the date of the deed.

o After a 30 day period, and until 90 days from the date of the deed, the buyer is further prohibited from selling the property for a sales price greater than 120% of the short sale price.

This restriction runs with the land, meaning that it is not personal to the seller and will transfer to the new buyer.

Below is an example on how to calculate the 120%:

o Purchase Price is $100,000.00
o 120% of the purchase price would be $100,000.00 X 1.2 = $120,000.00

• Relocation Assistance:

o The borrower may be entitled to an incentive payment of $3,000 from Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac to assist with relocation expenses following successful completion of a short sale unless:

1. The borrower is required to contribute funds or execute a promissory note.

2. The borrower has Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders and receives a Dislocation Allowance (DLA) or other government relocation assistance.

3. The servicer has knowledge that the borrower is receiving relocation assistance from another source other than the servicer.

Note: If the borrower receives relocation assistance from a source other than Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac or the Servicer, the difference in the relocation assistance amount up to the $3,000 incentive maximum may be provided. If the borrower will receive relocation assistance from a source other than Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac or the Servicer and the amount is equal to or greater than $3,000, no relocation incentive will be provided.

With all these changes, now more than ever, it is crucial to have an attorney negotiate and close your short sale. THE LAW OFFICES OF JACQUELINE A. SALCINES, P.A. is dedicated to negotiating short sales, and providing both title work and title closing services for all closings. Call us for a free consultation. Tel: 305.669.5280. or visit us on the web WWW.SALCINESLAW.COM


Finally, Congress came to its senses, and extended the debt forgiveness benefits for qualified homeowners. Through the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, qualified distressed homeowners who have any debt forgiven as a result of a short sale, foreclosure or loan modification principal reduction, will not have to pay taxes on any debt forgiven. This protection is now extended through December 31, 2013. Homeowners will still receive a 1099-C form that will need to be reported to the IRS, but will not be liable for any amounts owed to the IRS for such cancellation of debt.

Under the Federal Tax Code, all types of forgiven debt are treated as income, and is subject to taxes. Because of the recently passed Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, homeowners who get their mortgage debt forgiven through either a short sale or loan modification, will not face a tax on the amount forgiven, up to $2 million dollars. “Forgiven Debt” refers to the difference between the amount the homeowner owes on his or her mortgage and the amount the mortgage company receives at closing.

The law had short sellers scrambling to close by December 31, 2012, because had it not been extended, any forgiven debt would be considered taxable income. But now, with this new law, distressed homeowners are free to continue their short sales without having to worry about paying Uncle Sam any amounts after the closing.

Attorney Jacqueline Salcines states “In the advent of the housing market recuperating and so many homes in South Florida being in foreclosure and short sale, there was a dire need for the extension of this protection to homeowners. Many clients were coming into the office, wanting to walk away and face judgments or bankruptcy because they truly had no means of paying any amounts to the IRS. Now, with the protection extended, we can once again freely negotiate these short sale to completion without the homeowner worrying whether they will incur additional costs.”

“It certainly should not have taken so long to have this law extended. And it should be extended beyond December 31, 2013 because with so many homes in South Florida in distress, there will be principal reductions and short sales requiring forgiveness for years to come. This is not going to be cleaned up in one year.” Aida Pacheco, Loss Mitigation Manager at Jacqueline A. Salcines, P.A.

For now, we will have until December 31, 2013 to close existing short sales and modify loans. With our rapid team of short sale processors, we, at the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA can get the job done.