Foreclosures

Experts Warn of New Foreclosure Crisis in South Florida

With the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures set to expire, housing experts are predicting a new foreclosure crisis in South Florida.

The crisis began for many last year as COVID-19 forced thousands of Floridians out of jobs. It was not until April 2020 when the Trump Administration and many states hit the pause on all foreclosure and eviction proceedings on federally backed loans. States and the federal government extended these moratoriums throughout 2020 and into 2021. These extensions allowed individuals to remain in their homes and postpone the foreclosure process. 

Federal moratoriums offered through three federal agencies, including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending programs, are scheduled to expire finally on July 31.   

With foreclosures expected to begin again in the second half of 2021, housing experts fear that the courts will now be flooded with a wave of foreclosure cases that will not only clog the courts but will also depress the real estate market for South Florida.  

Members of the Miami-based nonprofit, Floridians for Honest Lending, say they worry that with property values going up, banks will have a big incentive to proceed with filing foreclosures. As the courthouses will likely be flooded with cases, pressure will increase to clear these cases from the books, which means that homeowners could be pressured to settle when the otherwise would not agree to do so.  

A similar situation was seen in 2008 where the number of cases hitting the courts led to what experts called “rocket dockets” or courts pushing for clearing as many cases as possible, leaving homeowners at the short end of the stick.   

After the 2008 recession, reforms were passed to prevent this situation from occurring and ensuring that predatory lending practices were barred, and homeowner rights preserved. Experts believe that the upcoming situation will put these regulations to a true test.  

Normally, these cases are either resolved by a short sale or auction, or the owner can work out an agreement with the lender, including a loan modification. The rocket-dockets that were seen in 2008 tended to discourage any type of agreement that would otherwise benefit the borrower in resolving these cases. This risk goes up when prices are up, and banks can get more money from seeking out new customers instead of working with existing ones.   

Currently, 2,110 foreclosure cases are pending in Broward County.  However, pending cases only tell part of the story. Thousands of other cases have yet to be filed due to the ongoing moratoriums. Thus far in 2021, 468 new foreclosures have been filed in Broward County, which pales in comparison to the 1,365 filings that were pending at the same time in 2020. Miami-Dade County has seen 650 new cases filed by the end of May 2021, as compared to the 2,500 that were pending at the same period in 2019. 

Cases are expected to begin coming in after the moratorium ends August 1.  In the meantime, homeowners struggling to pay their bills are still recommended to work with their lenders on forbearance measures or loan modifications. 

Please click here to read more.  

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between keeping your home or losing it in foreclosure. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com 

COVID-19, Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosures

Emergency Mortgage Relief Could Extend Through 2022

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of homeowners have benefited from the mortgage relief programs offered by the federal government, and some private lenders.  Now that a year has passed, approximately 2.5 million homeowners are still enrolled in some sort of mortgage relief program, whether it be payment suspension or mortgage forbearance, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) 

It is for this reason that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) wants to extend these provisions and programs further into the future to ensure that these homeowners are not forced into foreclosure.  

Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosures

How to Save Your Home from Foreclosure in Florida

Many Americans have been able to utilize the federal and state mortgage foreclosure moratoriums during the COVID-19 crisis to stay in their homes. But a record number of homeowners have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. According to statistics from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the number of Americans who have fallen three or more months behind on their mortgage payments increased by 250 percent in 2020, reaching a record of over two million households nationwide. These figures have not been seen since the Great Recession.  

It is estimated that the total amount owed is nearly $90 billion in deferred principal, interest, insurance, and tax payments. Financial analysts predict that the nation will soon see a wave of foreclosure lawsuits hitting the court system. However, it is possible for a consumer to stop the process from getting out of control and allow the individual to stay in his or her home.  

The first step should always be for the homeowner to reach out to his or her mortgage lender. Pursuing a foreclosure costs the lender money. In fact, they end up losing more money through that process than they would gain if they worked on a deal with the homeowner to stay in the home, which is why so many of them are more than willing to negotiate 

Many mortgage lenders are offering loan deferral programs or are either lowering or deferring interest payments for a temporary period. They may also be willing to waive late fees and penalties. The key is the homeowner needs to ask, first. The lender is not going to proactively reach out to the homeowner to see if he or she needs assistance. Ultimately, it is up to the homeowner to request this.

If the consumer has already reached out to the lender and is not able to realistically catch up on payments and late fees, it may be best to sell the property to pay back what is owed. For this plan to truly succeed, the borrower needs to price the property to sell. The longer the home stays on the market, the longer the homeowner will be behind on his or her payments, making the home even more difficult to sell.   

While the home is in default or foreclosure, the homeowner will likely be receiving mail from the court or lender regarding important dates and opportunities to make a deal on his or her payments. It is extremely important that all mail related to the home be opened immediately, be read, and if a response is required, be responded to quickly. The last thing the homeowner wants to do is miss an important court date or fail to take advantage of an opportunity if the lender is offering lower payments or a deal that could allow the person to remain in his or her home 

Lastly, to keep the home, it is important to continue making mortgage payments, if possible. Many people will take the idea of a moratorium and assume it means he or she does not have to pay on the mortgage debt during that periodThe problem is, during a moratorium, mortgage bills continue to incur, and if payments are not made, the homeowner will fall behind even more than he or she was at the start of the moratorium. The mortgage bill is arguably one of the most important payments the homeowner makes, even above other bills or debts, such as credit cards or medical debt.

Filing for bankruptcy can help. It may seem counter-intuitive, but when someone is facing foreclosure and is in the middle of a major financial crisis, bankruptcy can be a viable option to help save that person’s home. Ultimately, it depends on your specific financial situation and the type of bankruptcy you file – but bankruptcy can be used as a tool to help keep your home.

The Power of the Automatic Stay

If your home is already set for a foreclosure sale, you may be asking, “how can I make it stop?” Filing for bankruptcy can put a stop to the process or at the very least postpone it. As soon as a petition for bankruptcy is filed, the court issues an order called an “automatic stay,” which puts an immediate halt to all collection activities that were happening to the homeowner before the petition was filed. This automatic stay also applies to foreclosure cases.  Creditors (including your mortgage lender) must immediately cease collection attempts. Even if the mortgage lender has the home scheduled for a foreclosure sale, the sale will be postponed during a pending bankruptcy.

Please click here to read more.  

Choosing the right attorney can make the difference between keeping your home or losing it in foreclosure. A well-qualified Miami foreclosure defense attorney will not only help you keep your home, but they will be able to negotiate a loan that has payments you can afford. Miami foreclosure defense attorney Timothy Kingcade has helped many facing foreclosure alleviate their stress by letting them stay in their homes for at least another year, allowing them to re-organize their lives. If you have any questions on the topic of foreclosure, please feel free to contact me at (305) 285-9100. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com 

 

Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosures

Foreclosure Report 2021: What to Expect in the Coming Months

Foreclosures have been essentially at a standstill due to the moratorium issued by state and local governments on foreclosures and evictions, as well as forbearance programs to help keep families remain in their homes during this difficult time. However, these efforts will expire at some point, which has many worrying about what will happen once these programs end.  

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, approximately 500,000 borrowers avoided foreclosure during the last quarter of 2020 due to various relief programs available to them, including the forbearance program offered through the CARES Act.

COVID-19, Debt Relief, Foreclosures

Biden Extends Ban on Evictions and Foreclosures through March

Shortly after being sworn in as the nation’s 46th president, Joe Biden signed several executive orders. One of these signed orders included extending the ban on evictions and foreclosures for individuals affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

This new order extends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) moratorium that was set to expire on January 31, 2021. The CDC’s order first went into effect in September 2020. This new executive order extends the ban for at least an additional two months past the expiration date.

Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosures

Tax Implications Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Encounter from the CARES Act

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has thrown countless Americans into a financial tailspin. Many consumers were pushed out of jobs and put into the position where they are not able to pay the most basic of living expenses, including mortgage payments, to stay in their homes. As the pandemic continues, these homeowners are now put in a terrifying position, facing the real possibility that they could lose their homes.

At the start of the pandemic, lawmakers worked hard to try to keep Americans from facing this possibility by passing the CARES Act. One major part of this stimulus package was the ability for borrowers who carried federally backed mortgages to request a forbearance for up to 180 days on their loan obligations. The hope was this measure would give distressed homeowners breathing room and a chance to stay in their homes during this time of financial difficulty. If needed, borrowers could then request an additional 180 days of relief.

Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosures

Mortgage Foreclosure and Eviction Relief Extended by Governor DeSantis

The order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis offering Floridians facing eviction or foreclosure relief has been extended through July 1, 2020. The order was issued at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to help individuals facing financial stress. Given that the economic fall-out from COVID-19 is ongoing, Governor DeSantis has extended this relief into mid-summer.

This news comes at a good time, as unemployment is still at a record high. Florida’s unemployment system has still been failing many who have applied for benefits. Thousands of individuals are still waiting to receive their unemployment so that they can pay necessary living expenses, arguably the most important of these being rent and mortgage bills.

Bankruptcy Law

Timing is Important When It Comes to Filing for Bankruptcy

When it comes to filing for bankruptcy, it is not always a matter of “if” but rather a matter of “when.” Depending on a person’s financial situation, it can pay to properly time out a bankruptcy filing. Whether it is the right time to file for bankruptcy can depend on several factors including whether someone is facing foreclosure, vehicle repossession, wage garnishment, or any of the following.

Mortgage Modification

When someone is facing foreclosure, a few different steps can be taken to delay or even prevent the process. One of these solutions is through a mortgage modification. Homeowners facing foreclosure should try this approach first before filing for bankruptcy.

Foreclosure Defense, Foreclosures

Foreclosure Rates in U.S. Dip to a 20-Year Low

 The national foreclosure rate has fallen to the lowest levels seen in two decades following housing reports from July 2019. Financial experts believe this drop is due to a stronger job market and a lower unemployment rate.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low of 3.5 percent as of September 2019 with 136,000 jobs being added to the market. In addition, the hourly earning for all employees has gone up 2.9 percent from the prior year. As Americans have more money to spend, the chances of them falling short of meeting their monthly expenses also goes down.

Foreclosures

Facing Foreclosure? Here’s When You Actually Have to Move Out in Florida.

When someone receives a foreclosure notice, the first thought that often comes to that person’s mind is the fear of losing their home. A foreclosure notice does not mean that someone is automatically out of his or her home. As a homeowner in Florida, you have rights. It is important that any person in this situation understands clearly what those rights are.

Understanding the Timing

A notice of foreclosure does not mean that it will happen immediately. The homeowner has the legal right to remain in the home until the lender successfully completes all foreclosure procedures and sells the home, which can take several months, depending on the circumstances involved.