Short Sales and Foreclosure Victories

I don’t usually like talking about short sales and foreclosures, but they have become a way of life in the Sarasota area.  I have successfully completed 3 short sales in the past month.

One was difficult to get done as it had a 1st lien, 2nd lien, Condo fees owed and an IRS lien.  It took about 3 months to complete, but with the help of several others, the property will be closing on 4/23/2013.  What makes this particular short sale unique is the fact that the second was a credit union and we got them to waive the deficiency on the balance of the loan amount.  The trick was to get the first to put in writing that they would only give $6,000 to the second if the second waived their right to seek a judgment on the balance.  Since Credit Unions rarely waive their right to seek a deficiency when they do a lien release, I thought it a significant victory!!  My client was thrilled.  He completed his short sale without an additional tax burden and got the potential deficiencies waived.

The other interesting pre-foreclosure involved a client who had let their foreclosure drag on for nearly 3 years and thought they were in good hands with a local attorney. The ball had been dropped several times and the owner was now faced with a trial that was only 2 weeks away.  At this point in the foreclosure process very rarely is a short sale completed or a modification accomplished by the Defendant. I referred her to another attorney who believed that, while he may not be able to stop the foreclosure, he could get a ruling that favored the Defendant.  He argued that he could get the deficiency waived at this late stage of the game.  In a matter of a week, he had successfully subpoenaed several bank executives and the bank agreed to waive the deficiency.  In essence, because of his efforts, the Defendant was spared a potential deficiency of nearly $400,000.

People tend to just give up on these foreclosures thinking they will not get them done, BUT THEY CAN GET DONE!  It takes work, but as you can see from these two stories, they are possible.

If you are in a situation like this, or know someone who is, have them call me.  I can assist or refer them out to someone who can!!

Posted by Robert Sherman at 9:56 AM No comments:

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tips on Disputing Credit Report Erros

Yesterday, I received a call from a client who had sold their home over 3 years ago as a short sale. They were reaching out because they were interested in purchasing a new home in Idaho.  They had made an offer and were in the process of applying for a new loan.  The loan officer informed them that they would only qualify for an FHA loan which would require that they carry PMI insurance.  The loan officer informed them that they had a foreclosure on their credit report.

I made a call to a mortgage broker to inquire as to whether this was a common occurrence and if it was something that could be fixed.  He told me that these mistakes happen all the time, and with credit harder to secure, this was a huge issue in underwriting.  He shared with me that there are several options for the consumer if they believe a credit agency has made a mistake.

This mistake can cost you as it can lead to higher interest rates on loans and credit cards.  Yes, the task of repairing your credit can be time consuming and frustrating, but the effort can save you thousands of dollars.

Here are some tips that I saw in an article that was recently published on this timely issue.

Get your credit reportsThe first step is to get a copy of your credit report from each of the major credit reporting firms – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Consumers are entitled to a free report every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. You can get copies at

It’s important to review your credit history periodically. For one thing, lenders can make errors when they report client accounts to credit bureaus. And if an identity thief opens an account in your name without your knowledge, that can hurt your credit until you discover what’s happened.

Get your credit reports  The first step is to get a copy of your credit report from each of the major credit reporting firms – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Consumers are entitled to a free report every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. You can get copies

File a dispute If you believe there’s an error in a report, you can submit disputes online at,, (Link all three of these to their respective websites.) You can also submit the dispute by mail or phone, the address or number should be on your credit report.

The FTC’s study found that four out of five consumers who found erroneous information in their credit report and filed a dispute with the credit bureaus had a correction made to at least one of their credit reports.

Be patient Once a dispute is received, credit bureaus are required to respond within 30 days. The credit bureau will contact the lender that provided the information that is under dispute. At that point, the lender looks into the matter. If a fix is made, the lender must alert all three credit bureaus of the error.

When the investigation is complete, the credit bureau must provide written results and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. This report does not count as your free annual report.

Contact lenders Another option: Reach out to the lender on the account where the error showed up and ask that they update the credit bureaus with correct information.

Avoid credit repair firms The Federal Trade Commission has warned consumers against firms that offer services claiming to improve a person’s credit report for a fee. Such firms can’t do anything that you couldn’t do yourself.

I hope this helps.


Posted by Robert Sherman at 6:53 AM No comments:

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Debt Forgiveness Extended Through 2013

Lots of people who have been in the short sale process have been waiting for the government to make a final decision as to whether debt forgiveness would be extended into 2013.  If the government did not extend the debt forgiveness act, many people in their primary properties would not be able to escape the 1099 they would be getting at the end of the year from the IRS.

As it stood, the resolution allowed up to $2 million in debt relief on a primary property.  The resolution was set to expire at the end of 2012 and would expose millions of people to additional tax burdens when they could little afford the additional expense.

People would have to make some very tough decisions about their short sale. They could close them and hope for the best or they could just let them go to to foreclosure. My bet is most people would just let them go to foreclosure.

With the extension, people now have 12 months to get a short sale done and not have to incur any additional taxes as a result of the sale of their home.

To read more about this provision, please read the attached article:

If you had put off a short sale on your primary home, now would be the time to reconsider selling it.  If you have any questions, feel free to call me or email me.

Posted by Robert Sherman at 9:16 AM No comments:

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strong September Sales and Building Perils

The September housing market in Sarasota continued to show strength.  Sales of existing homes stayed steady and applications for new construction rose last month.  With all that in mind, there are still some concerns, especially with new construction.  Several builders are failing and putting their clients at risk if they can’t complete the homes they started.

As the inventory of homes drop, more and more people look for the opportunity to build something new.  In order to protect yourself in the building process, Berlin Patten published an article this week that addresses this topic.  Below are their recommendation:

While there is no substitute for engaging a qualified attorney to address the nuances associated with all construction contract negotiations, some general issues to considerprior to entering a contract for new construction are:

  1. Construction Timeframes.  Does the contract provide for a definitive commencement date and completion schedule, and are there penalties if the builder misses those marks?
  2. Change Orders. Is the scope of the project very clear, and what is the written process (and price) for requested changes?
  3. Deposits. Does the contract require a substantial amount of upfront money be paid to the builder?
  4. Draw Schedule. Does the contract provide for a sufficient number of draws so that the money paid to the contractor is  proportional to the work performed to date?
  5. Inspections.  Does the contract permit inspections as a condition to each draw, and, more importantly, as a condition to final payment?
  6. Punch List.  Does the contract address the manner in which punch list items are to be completed and by when? Does the contract require final payment prior to the completion of punch list items?
  7. Lien Waivers.  Does the contract require lien waivers as a condition to each draw, and more importantly, as a condition to final payment?
  8. Holdbacks/Final Payment.  Does the contract provide for an adequate holdback from each draw, as well as a reasonably sufficient final payment, to better insure that there will be sufficient funds to complete the project if the builder fails to perform?

If you are considering the prospect of building, these import considerations will help in ensuring you sleep better at night.

Posted by Robert Sherman at 9:27 AM No comments:

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