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Monday, March 07, 2005

Things I Should Have Done With My Law Degree

According to the National Directory of Legal Employers, these are some of the "alternative careers" that fellow ex-lawyers are currently involved in:

Actuarial Consulting
Admissions Recruiting
Adoption Agency
Alderman
Bailiff
Board of Tax Appeals
Career Services
Child Support Enforcement
City Planning Department
Congressional Staff
Consumer Advocate
Dean of Students
Defense Logistics Agency
Election Board
Employee Benefits
Environmental Consulting
FBI
Federal Reserve Bank
Financial Analyst
Freedom Forum
Health Policy Analyst
Human Resources
Immigrant Rights
Inmate Services
Legal Action Center
Lobbying
Mediator
Minority Affairs Specialist
NAFTA
Nature Conservancy
Police-Barrio Relations
Pre-Trial Services
Press Secretary
Public Works Department
Real Estate Development
Refugee Resettlement
School District Administration
Sports Management
Tax Foreclosures
Tribal Attorney

Now, I know that I would make a great Press Secretary or Congressional Staff Member--I just love to talk politics. But I don't like positions that require too much political collaboration, so Board of Tax Advisors and City Planning Department and Election Board are not the places for me. I suppose, if I had seen this list when I was contemplating law, I would have set my sights on Human Resources. The title implies something humane and resourceful, which are, I think, admirable qualities for anyone.

Of course, there's always the Dean of Students. I think I would be good at that. I think the kids would go for me.

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Things To Know And FAQ's About Loan Modification
These are common questions that are asked about Loan Modifications or Mortgage Modification
1. What Is A Loan Modification?
A Loan Modification is a negotiation between a lender and a borrower that results in the terms of the existing loan being restructured without refinancing. The rate and terms of your loan are restructured to fit your current financial situation.
2. How do you do It?
In these market conditions, the banks and lenders have been mandated by the Federal government to do everything they can to work out a payment plan with their borrowers. This is great for today's borrowers, especially for those who are running late on their payments or are having trouble making them on time. The banks and lenders would rather take less money and keep you in your home making a payment that you can afford, rather than go through the expense foreclosing on the home, hiring a listing agent, rehabilitating a home, and letting it sit empty on the market for months, only to lose thousands in the process. We currently work with almost every major lender and several small lenders and banks to secure a Loan Modification to help them help you. In many cases we actually have taught smaller banks and lenders how to go about completing a Loan Modification. Within 24 hours after receiving your package, our legal team will contact your lender to notify them that they will be negotiating a Loan Modification on your behalf. From then on, they will be working with you and your lender in order to find a solution to your mortgage problems.
3. Are lenders and banks really willing to negotiate?
Definitely! Lenders do not want to foreclose on your home, unless they have no other alternative. If you can present them with a realistic professional proposal that makes sense, they are very open and receptive to the Loan Modification process.
4. Who qualifies for a Loan Modification?
Anyone who can prove they are having a tough time. Especially those who are currently a few months behind, those with negative amortizing loans, those with loans that are about to adjust, those who are upside down on their loan and those who would rather keep their home than do a short sale.
Basically, the bigger the hardship you are having, the more negotiating power you have with your lender. Remember, they don't want to foreclose on you. They would rather keep you in your home and create a solution that will be affordable to you rather than go through the cost and expense of foreclosing on your property.
5. Why didn't my mortgage lender tell me about this?
Your mortgage lender is in the business of originating and/or servicing loans. Modification of existing loans and foreclosures are simply a result of being in the business they are in and, as such, they aren't a priority for the mortgage lender.
This program is not that costly and quite frankly, they are so busy dealing with other homeowners who are already going through tough times, that they don't have time to deal with your situation.
6. Why should I choose a Loan Modification?
If you are having trouble and behind on your payments you have several different options to fix your problem.
Reinstatement Plan - Where your lender will reinstate the original terms of your loan once you are caught up.
Repayment Plan - Where your lender will tack on an extra amount onto each payment for a set period of time.
Loan Modification - Where you negotiate a restructure of your current loan terms without
refinancing.
Loan Refinance - Refinancing may be an option if you have the equity and credit required.
Forbearance Agreement - Where your lender negotiates a repayment plan and may force you to list your home for sale.
Short Sale - You sell your property for less than you owe but your lender accepts it as payment in full.
Pre-Foreclosure Sale - You agree to sell your property before foreclosure takes place.
(requires equity).
Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure - You agree to sign your property back over to your bank and walk away.
Bankruptcy - You have to file bankruptcy to protect yourself, but if you miss one payment you will be right back in foreclosure.
A Loan Modification is a good solution if you cannot refinance, are behind on your payment or struggling to make your payments, have experienced a genuine hardship, and you want to stay in your home.
A Loan Modification is a permanent solution to your situation and is not meant to be used as a temporary stop to the foreclosure process.
7. Can I negotiate a Loan Modification myself?
In short, yes you can. You can contact your lender or your bank and see about going through the process of Loan Modification.
But, keep in mind that your bank has their best interest at heart. They neither have the time nor the inclination to hear about what troubles you might be experiencing. What usually occurs is that the bank will negotiate an agreement that helps them, but still leaves you with only a temporary solution.
This also takes many hours of communication and back and forth information exchanges in order to accomplish. It is not easy to complete on your own and the outcome may not be favorable to you. When you contact the bank, they will ask for a "hardship letter" from you. When they receive that letter, they will usually tell you that they will get back to you in about 8 weeks. By the time you get back with them, or if you are lucky enough to get a call from them, you're already in worse shape than when you first started negotiation.
8. How Come You Have More Success?
Our attorneys have been doing hundreds of Loan Modifications every month, working with virtually every bank and lender. They have open lines of communication with most lenders, which gives them the ability to negotiate directly with the person who is in charge of making a decision on your loan.
We also create a professional legal file on your behalf which includes all of your financial data such as income, assets, expenses, and unexpected intangible expenses. They couple this with a full property analysis and package this together in a file that makes it easy for the lender to read and understand, allowing for a more comprehensive and quicker response than you would get through other forms of negotiation.
9. How much does it cost?
The costs associated with an attorney based Loan Modification will vary depending on the value of your property, the type of loan, the lender, and the number of loans held against our property.
The modification cost usually comes close to equaling the same as about one month's mortgage payment. Since every Loan Modification is different, it requires a varied amount of negotiation. After your initial application is reviewed and if the attorneys accept your case, your Loan Modification representative can help determine what the exact cost of your Loan Modification will be.
Our primary goal is helping homeowners who want to keep their homes, find a beneficial solution for their situation. We will work with you to ensure that we can obtain an affordable solution for your Loan Modification needs.
10. What do you need from me to get started?
If our attorneys believe they can help you and accept your case, then we will need to submit a complete Loan Modification file that outlines your current financial situation.
They will contact you directly if other paperwork is required by the lender in order to negotiate a successful Loan Modification. They will also determine the current value of your property and put together a professional proposal for your lender.
11. What makes you different from other companies?
We are not a store front Loan Modification company, but a service provider helping you find the right legal representation needed to negotiate on your behalf. Loss mitigation departments at major banks and lenders give much more credence to modification proposals submitted by attorneys. Maybe it is fear of a lawsuit if they do not negotiate in good faith, but banks and lenders are much more responsive to attorneys than they would be with the actual homeowner or other third party negotiator.
12. Will I have to meet with my lender or deal with any of their paperwork?
Absolutely not. We take care of all the paperwork and all of the negotiating on your behalf.
13. How long does the process usually take?
It can be completed in as little as five days but usually takes from 5 - 12 weeks depending on the lender, type of loan, and individual situation.
14. What paperwork do I need to complete the process?
We provide you with a complete list of the documents the attorney will need in the file to complete the process and will help prepare the file. Of course, no legal representation can begin until counsel has been properly retained and you have given written authorization to proceed.
After we receive these items from you, we can begin your Loan Modification process.
Please contact us with any other questions or concerns. Remember that time is not on your side, so if you are having problems or struggling to keep up with rising mortgage payments, don't delay and call us immediately for a free and confidential consultation.
We want to help you keep your home, period.
15. By utilizing the Loan Modification option to bring an asset current, can the mortgagee include all fees and corporate advances?
Mortgagee Letter 00-05, page 21, paragraph F, "Allowable Provisions" states: "All or a portion of the PITI arrearage (principle, interest, Taxes and Insurance) may be capitalized to the mortgage balance. Foreclosure costs, late fees and other administrative expenses may not be capitalized.
16. Does the repayment plan have to be completed prior to completing the Loan Modification documents, or can the mortgagee attach the plan once the option has been completed?
It is a mortgagee decision as to when to complete the repayment plan for outstanding fees, costs and administrative expenses.
17. When utilizing a Loan Modification option, can a mortgagee capitalize an escrow advance for Homeowner's Association fees?
HUD Handbook 4330.1 REV-5, Paragraph 2-1, Section B, Escrow Obligations states:
Mortgagees must also escrow funds for those items which, if not paid, would create liens on the property positioned ahead of the FHA-insured mortgage.
18. Will HUD subordinate a Partial Claim, should a mortgagor subsequently default and qualify for a Loan Modification?
If a mortgagor subsequently defaults and qualifies for a Loan Modification, HUD will
subordinate the Partial Claim.
19. When an asset is modified is the homeowner eligible for the upfront premium refund at payoff of the loan?
It depends upon when the closing date occurred. For assets closed: After July 1, 1991 but before January 1, 2001, the 7-year unearned premium refund schedule shown in Mortgagee Letter 1994-1 remains in effect. On or after January 1, 2001 that are subsequently refinanced, the 5-year refund schedule shown in the attachment of Mortgagee Letter 2000-46 applies. On or after December 8, 2004, refunds of upfront MIP are eliminated except, when the mortgagor refinances to another FHA insured mortgage. The refund schedule attached to Mortgagee Letter 2005-03 has been modified to a 3-year period.
20. Can a mortgagee qualify an asset for the Loan Modification option when the mortgagor is unemployed, the spouse is employed, but the spouse name is not on the mortgage?
The mortgagee should consult with their legal counsel to determine the legality and validity of such a mortgage instrument.
21. I'm unemployed. My spouse does have a job, but her name isn't on the mortgage. Can I qualify for a Loan Modification?
This isn't a simple question that can be answered "yes" or "no". What typically happens in situations like this is that the mortgagee - your lender - will conduct a financial review of your household income and expenses to determine if the spouse's income is sufficient to meet the new modified mortgage payment, but insufficient to pay back the arrears. Once this process has been completed your lender will then get together with their legal counsel to determine if you're eligible for a Loan Modification, since the spouse is not on the original mortgage.
22. Are there any guarantees on the outcome of my Loan Modification?
It would be impossible for us to guarantee that some other entity (the lender) will do what we suggest that they do. We can say we have a VERY high success rate in obtaining
modifications for our past clients. If no modification is achieved, then you get some or all of your retainer back.
23. How does Loan Modification affect my credit?
If we are successful in obtaining a modification for you, the loan will, from that point forward, be reported as being paid as agreed. Assuming you make all of your payments on time, you may see your credit begin to get better over time. Obtaining a Loan Modification is the least damaging to your credit when compared with a short sale or a foreclosure.
24. Will having a Loan Modification affect my taxes?
We are not CPA's or enrolled agents and therefore can't offer you tax advice. We suggest
you check with your tax professional.
25. Do I have to be behind on my mortgage to qualify?
No. Although falling behind on your mortgage payments is an obvious indicator of financial hardship. Some clients are forced use reserves or credit cards to keep there mortgage payments current. In this situation it is only a matter of time before they fall behind. If an obvious fanatical hardship exists a modification may be possible although the payments are current.
26. Do I have to owe more than my house is worth to qualify?
No. The basic formula is to have less than 20% equity in your home. The less equity you have in your home, the more the investor stands to lose in a foreclosure situation. If you
have negative equity, that is even more incentive for your lender to work with us.
27. Can I have my 1st and 2nd mortgage combined?
Yes. In some cases where the first and seconded mortgage are with the same investor that investor may elect to combine both mortgages into one. Keep in mind if the investors are
different a combined mortgage outcome is VERY unlikely.
28. I'm about to or already filed for bankruptcy, is it too late?
No. If you are currently in bankruptcy and your property is not included in your bankruptcy and you meet all other qualifications you are eligible immediately. If your property is included in your bankruptcy you may be able to ask your bankruptcy attorney to remove it from the bankruptcy. Keep in mind your bankruptcy attorney may charge an additional fee for service to pull the property out of your bankruptcy.
29. I already have a sale date for my home, can I still save my home?
Yes. Traditionally we need a minimum of ten days prior to the sale date to be able to achieve a postponement of the sale. In some cases we are able to postpone the sale as late
as the day before.
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Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to enact "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies ." Under this grant of authority, Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Code" in 1978. The Bankruptcy Code, which is codified as title 11 of the United States Code, has been amended several times since its enactment. It is the uniform federal law that governs all bankruptcy cases.The procedural aspects of the bankruptcy process are governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (often called the Bankruptcy Rules") and local rules of each bankruptcy court. The Bankruptcy Rules contain a set of official forms for use in bankruptcy cases. The Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules (and local rules) set forth the formal legal procedures for dealing with the debt problems of individuals and businesses. There is a bankruptcy court for each judicial district in the country. Each state has one or more districts. There are 90 bankruptcy districts across the country. The bankruptcy courts generally have their own clerk's offices.The court official with decision-making power over federal bankruptcy cases is the United States bankruptcy judge, a judicial officer of the United States district court. The bankruptcy judge may decide any matter connected with a bankruptcy case, such as eligibility to file or whether a debtor should receive a discharge of debts. Much of the bankruptcy process is administrative, however, and is conducted away from the courthouse. In cases under chapters 7, 12, or 13, and sometimes in chapter 11 cases, this administrative process is carried out by a trustee who is appointed to oversee the case. A debtor's involvement with the bankruptcy judge is usually very limited. A typical chapter 7 debtor will not appear in court and will not see the bankruptcy judge unless an objection is raised in the case. A chapter 13 debtor may only have to appear before the bankruptcy judge at a plan confirmation hearing. Usually, the only formal proceeding at which a debtor must appear is the meeting of creditors, which is usually held at the offices of the U.S. trustee. This meeting is informally called a "341 meeting" because section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code requires that the debtor attend this meeting so that creditors can question the debtor about debts and property.A fundamental goal of the federal bankruptcy laws enacted by Congress is to give debtors a financial "fresh start" from burdensome debts. The Supreme Court made this point about the purpose of the bankruptcy law in a 1934 decision:

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