New York City Home Sales Increase

During the past calendar year, there has been a large increase in the sale of homes in the City of New York. During the third quarter of the 2011 calendar year, the average sale price for properties in the five boroughs increased from $780,000 to $786,000. There were approximately 11,000 properties exchanging hands during this period which is a 6% increase from 2010.

City Housing Market Improves

The price of homes in the City of New York, especially in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, have reached the highest levels since 2007. This is according to Stephen Spinola, the president of the Real Estate Board. He also stated “the slow and steady consistent improvement in the market continues to provide strong evidence that New York City residential sales market has made it out of the woods and should only continue to improve.”

During the foreclosure crisis the average price for the sale of a single family home in the City of New York was approximately $669,000.

Manhattan Has the Highest Sales Prices

Manhattan once again was the borough with the highest average price for condo’s, co-op’s and apartments. The average price was $1.37 million. There has been a significant influx of foreign investors to the Manhattan real estate market according to Seth Hirschhorn, a senior managing director of the real estate group Citi Habitat. Foreign investment has been one of the driving forces in the real estate market in Manhattan.

Home prices in both Brooklyn and Queens are now above the 2007 recession levels. The average sale price of a home in Queen’s county was $411,000 while the average price home in Kings County in the third quarter was $619,000.

Foreclosure Rates Continued to Fall

During the month of September 2012, foreclosure rates on a nationwide basis fell to a five year low. There was a 7% decline in default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions of foreclosed properties from August of 2012.

Manage the Flow of Foreclosures Coming to Market

There are still many homes in foreclosure today. However, the banks have taken the position that they do not wish to flood the market with foreclosed homes. Therefore, they are managing the flow of homes into the foreclosure process to keep it at a steady pace and not further upset the delicate housing market.

Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP)

There are approximately a million mortgages modified by financial institutions under the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP). In each of these cases, a home was saved from going into foreclosure. Banks are taking a much more aggressive approach to prevent their borrowers from falling into foreclosure.  They are agreeing to short sales in many situations because they actually lose less money through a short sale than through a foreclosure.

Record Low Mortgage Rates

The record low mortgage rates have also had an impact on the housing market. Homeowners with good credit have been able to refinance their mortgages to lower rates. This has kept them out of foreclosure situations.


As the economy in the United States seems to be limping along, so is the housing market. Although foreclosure rates are down and home sales are up, supply and demand are still not at equilibrium. There are still too many homes on the market. In areas such as Nassau and Suffolk County on Long Island, the flood of homes on the market still acts to depress the real estate market for single family homes.

United States Takes Legal Action Against Wells Fargo for Mortgage Fraud

The United States government sued Wells Fargo under the False Claims Act for mortgage fraud. The False Claims Act provides a penalty for fraud against the government and its financial institutions. The government’s pleadings claimed damages and civil penalties from Wells Fargo. The pleadings specifically alleged for a 10 year period, Wells Fargo engaged in reckless deficient training, deficient underwriting and deficient disclosure while having the Federal Housing Administration paid hundreds of millions of dollars on insurance claims for thousands of defaulted mortgages as a result of false certifications by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo is currently the fourth largest bank in the United States.

Wells Fargo Is Not the First Bank Sued by the Government

The United States government has previously brought lawsuits against Citigroup Incorporated’s unit, CitiMortgage Inc. This lawsuit was settled by Citigroup for $158 million dollars. In a lawsuit brought by the United States governments and against Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bank paid $200 million dollars. In the largest case brought by the Federal Government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn took action against Bank of America Corporation’s Country Wide unit. Bank of America settled this suit for 1 billion dollars earlier this year.

The lawsuit brought against Wells Fargo was pursuant to a program that allows banks to originate, underwrite and certify mortgages for FHA Insurance purposes. The lawsuit claims that Wells Fargo did not follow the FHA rules in underwriting their mortgages. Wells Fargo has stated they plan on vigorously defending themselves against this lawsuit.


It is most likely Wells Fargo will seek a monetary settlement related to this lawsuit. This was the road taken by Bank of America, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank when similar lawsuits were brought against them.

Paying Mortgages With Credit Cards

Individuals facing financial difficulties have been utilizing their credit cards to make mortgage payments. Is this a good idea? At the end of the month, when the homeowner does not have sufficient funds in their bank account to make the mortgage payment, it is very easy today to make those payments with credit cards.

There is divided opinion among financial experts whether making mortgage payments with credit cards is a good idea. On one hand this can have a negative impact on the financial situation of the individuals involved. Since mortgage payments generally involve large sums of money, this creates a significant amount of credit card debt. The high dollar amounts of mortgage payments can cause credit card holders to max out the lines of credit on their credit cards. This causes increases in their minimum payments every month. This can also have a negative impact on the individual’s credit rating.

When there is insufficient cash flow to make mortgage payments, making more than one payment on a credit card is generally a bad idea. Should a family not have sufficient funds to pay all of their monthly expenses, the first payment they should make should be their mortgage payment.

Credit Card Interest Rates

Credit card interest rates are substantially higher than interest rates on mortgages. Mortgage interest rates have reached all-time lows of approximately 2 1/2% in recent months. However, credit card interest rates generally run between 12 and 24%. From an interest rate perspective, the long-term costs of the mounting credit card debt are much greater than the expenses related to falling behind on one’s mortgage.

Financial Emergencies

Credit cards are a valuable tool to deal with financial emergencies. Possibly the best solution to the question as to whether to make mortgage payments on credit cards would be to consider the family’s overall financial situation and how much making a mortgage payment on a credit card will increase the monthly credit card payment.

About The Author

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an attorney practicing law in the metropolitan New York area for more than 34 years. He assists his clients with regard to bankruptcy matters, mortgage modifications and foreclosure defense.

Foreclosure Defense: A Primer

There are a variety of issues an attorney must look into when analyzing the defense of a foreclosure action. One of the first issues that should be investigated is whether the institution initiating the foreclosure action has standing to bring the lawsuit.

Standing To Sue In Foreclosure

The plaintiff, the financial institution, must be the appropriate party to bring the foreclosure lawsuit. The attorney should look into whether the financial institution is the original financial institution and whether assignments from the original financial institution have been made. Have these assignments been filed with the County Clerk or the Registrar of Deeds in the county?

The financial institution must establish it has standing by establishing it is either the holder or the assignee of the mortgage it is foreclosing on.

Ownership Of The Note

Even if the financial institution has possession or ownership of the note, it is still not sufficient to establish they are the holder of the mortgage.  The assignment of the mortgage must take place prior to the initiation of the lawsuit. Assignments cannot be made on a retroactive basis regarding a mortgage.

Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) Trust

Many mortgages are maintained by the Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit Trust. The assignment of these mortgages must comply with REMIC rules and regulations as set out by the Internal Revenue Service as well as the rules provided in the Pooling and Service Agreement (PSA) which acts as a servicing agent governing the agreements for the trust.

The PSA creates rules concerning how the trust operates. It specifically controls “the exact steps necessary for a trust to be created, bundled, mortgages to be transferred into the trust, issuance of securities by the trust to the depositor on the open market, generally to institutional investors and maintenance of the trust to achieve a favorable [REMIC] tax status. This document exists for each specific trust and it is in the public record available through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website.  The transfers within the trust require a very specific language. The language is called “recital of the transfer”. This outlines the steps necessary to transfer the mortgage to the trustee.

PSA requires the financial institution to show an unbroken chain of transfers. It also must show deliveries and acceptances of the mortgage note from the original institution to the sponsoring organization that established a securitization of the mortgage and finally to the designated trustee.

Mortgage Electronic Registration System

The Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS) acts as a nominee and does not own the mortgage. It therefore lacks authority to assign a mortgage. If there is an assignment of the mortgage to the trust with MERS acting as the assignor this is invalid as it violates the chain of title requirements set up by the PSA.

Time Frame Of Transfers

Besides establishing proper chain of title, the financial institution and its lawyers must show that the note and mortgage were transferred to the trust between the time of the origination and closing dates.  This is usually a period of approximately 90 days. Only during that period can the trust accept the mortgage transfer. If the mortgage transfer takes place outside that 90 day window it is invalid.

About The Author

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been representing individuals in foreclosure and real estate related problems and mortgage issues in the metropolitan New York area for more than two decades

Long Island Home Prices Down, National Home Prices Up

There has been a small recovery across the country concerning home prices. Unfortunately, this recovery has not impacted home prices in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island. During a 12 month period from July 2011, through July 2012, pursuant to CORE LOGIC, a real estate data provider, home prices in the United States have risen 3.8%. It is the largest year over year increase in the last six years.

Home Prices Decrease On Long Island

Home prices on Long Island have decreased. During the same period from July 2011 through 2012, prices of Long Island homes have decreased by an average of .06%. The large number of homes in foreclosure and homes being sold in short sales contributed to the decline in home prices in Long Island.

During the housing bubble, Long Island experienced a greater increase than the national average in the value of homes. When the housing bubble burst, home prices on a national basis fell about 33 1/3% while home prices fell in Nassau and Suffolk counties by 35%.

The ownership of a single family home has been the bedrock of the American dream for decades.  Single family homes have become a depreciating asset.  This has to change!

Home Prices On Long Island Should Increase In The Spring Of 2013

It is forecasted that home prices in Long Island will start to rise in the spring of 2013. On a national basis home prices in the United States are currently valued at 27% below their peak, which was in April of 2006. Hopefully for Long Island, and the rest of the country, the economy will improve which will bring about appreciation of home values.

Late Mortgage Payments Increase

During the last quarter of 2011, Trans Union credit reporting agency reports more than 6% of all mortgage holders in the United States were behind on their mortgage payments by 60 days or more.  It should be noted prior to the housing crisis that exists in America, the delinquency rate on mortgages was usually in the area of 2%.

Tim Morton, a group Vice President of US Housing in the Trans Union financial services unit, stated “the more encouraging news is when looking year over year the delinquency rate dropped over 6%! At this pace it will take a very long time for mortgage delinquency rates to get back to normal.”

Delinquency rates have been decreasing in Arizona and California.  Florida, which is the state with the highest delinquency rate, has a mortgage delinquency rate of approximately 14.5%!

The recent settlement by the five largest banks concerning mortgage improprieties may result in as many as one million mortgage holders having a reduction in the size of their mortgages.

Stabilization of Home Prices

The key to the real estate crisis in the United States is the stabilization of home prices and the reduction in the unemployment rate in the United States.  As the unemployment rate goes down, more Americans will become employed and the delinquency rates on mortgage payments will go down.  Less homes will be foreclosed upon and there will be stabilization over the long run in the real estate market.

Buyers Are Still Wary Of Purchasing Homes In New York

The housing market on Long Island did not improve in the month of January 2012. According to Multiple Listing Service on Long Island the median sales price of a home in Nassau County  fell 6.1% between January 2011 and January 2012.  This brought the median home price down from $410,000 to $385,000.  During the same period of time homes in Suffolk County fell 5.2%.  With the median price going from $313,000 to $296,800.  The volume of homes that were sold also was reduced.

James Retz, a Vice President at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Cold Spring Harbor, stated with regard to the real estate market on Long Island it is “showing a lot of life, but there’s still a lot of caution.”

High Foreclosure Rates

The high foreclosure rates on Long Island continue to have a negative impact on the sales price of homes.  There are simply too many homes on the market in Long Island.  When you have a lack of equilibrium between the amount homes listed to be sold and the number of purchasers interested in buying homes the market will continue to go down.


It is still a difficult time to sell a house and buyers who are in the market today can obtain substantial bargains.

Real Estate Lawyers

The Real Estate Lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you if your home is in foreclosure or if your home is heading toward foreclosure.  We can represent you at foreclosure court conferences.  We can submit foreclosure defenses in litigation brought by financial institutions against you.  A commonly utilized pleading involves defenses such as defective foreclosures, predatory lending, foreclosure fraud, and other real estate related defenses.  We can also help you with regard to a forensic audit with regard to your mortgage.  Call us and we will discuss your foreclosure options with you.
An additional option when faced with foreclosure is filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Our attorneys are available to discuss foreclosures related to bankruptcy with you.  Feel free to call us.

Twenty Five Million Dollar Mortgage Settlement

The Federal Government has recently settled for 25 million dollars with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Ally Financial with regard to pending litigation concerning their improper activities regarding mortgages.

The cases were initially started in 2010.  Banks were initially found of guilty of signing off on foreclosures without appropriately reviewing them.  The scandal uncovered what has been referred to as robosigning.  Robosigning is where bank officials sign documents without reading them.  Sometimes as many as hundreds of these documents within a day.

Banks Broke The Law

The banks involved in the robosigning scandal broke the law.  As a result of their improper activity thousand of homeowners were evicted from their homes for invalid or nonexistent documentation.

Who Receives the 25 Million?

The exact details with regard to the settlement have not been worked out. However, it is anticipated the money will be allocated as follows:

1.         1.5 billion dollars in cash payments will go to approximately 750,000 qualified homeowners who lost their homes in foreclosure between 2008 and 2011.  This works out to about $2000 per homeowner.

2.         Banks will agree to 17 billion dollars in principle reductions concerning homeowners who have homes that are underwater and are either at risk of default or currently in default on their mortgages.

3.         3 billion dollars will be allocated to homeowners who are currently paying high mortgage raters or have adjustable mortgages.  The adjustable mortgages can be reset to very low interest rates.

4.         The balance of the settlement funds will be utilized for consumer protection programs and to establish reforms with regard to the bank servicing agency.

It is estimated that it will take between eight and ten months to set up a methodology of distributing the funds and establishing who the homeowners are that would have to be compensated.  The settlement will be thereafter put into effect for a period of 36 months.

Federal officials have suggested that the total amount of funds paid by the financial institutions will end up being as high as 39 billion dollars.

This Is Not Enough

Paul Dales, a housing economist recently stated “you are hardly skimming the surface.  It could help some people a lot, individually. But in terms of the big picture, overall economy and housing market, it is really just a drop in the ocean of the problem.  Only the five banks mentioned have agreed to this settlement, while mortgages funded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are exempt.  This cuts more than half of the homeowners from eligibility right off the bat.”

Punishment for Banks

Experts feel that the 25 billion dollars being paid by the financial institutions will not have a significant impact on dealing with the housing crisis in the United States.  While the plan may be flawed, it is a start in the right direction!

Stopping Foreclosure By Filing Bankruptcy

Foreclosure related bankruptcy filing is one of the possible options in dealing with foreclosure problems.  Individuals and spouses can file either Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcies.  The filing of the bankruptcy immediately stops foreclosures from moving forward, stops debt collection practices and stops creditor harassment.  In some circumstances the filing of bankruptcy can eliminate second mortgages.  Call us and we can discuss the types of bankruptcy that are available to you and why filing bankruptcy may be in your interest and other foreclosure defense related options.

Attorneys Who Defend Foreclosures In New York

The Long Island foreclosure defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have for more than two decades been representing the families in the courts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  The firm helps clients obtain mortgage modifications.  The firm also prepares forensic audits on behalf of clients.  If a foreclosure action is started, the firm submits written answers alleging defenses such as predatory lending, defective foreclosure lawsuits and defective mortgages.  The firm’s attorneys appear in court for settlement conferenceand pressure the financial institutions to give their clients mortgage modifications.

Foreclosure related bankruptcies are another option to deal with foreclosure lawsuits.  Either the filing of a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will bring a foreclosure proceeding to a halt.  Either of these bankruptcies can be utilized to stop foreclosures, stop debt collection, and stop creditor harassment.  Contact the firm for a free consultation.

Mortgage Services Agree to 25 Billion Dollar Settlement For Their Improper Activities Regarding Mortgages

Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Americans who lost their homes in foreclosures between 2008 and 2011 will be able to qualify for up to $2000 in reimbursement from a settlement worked out with large financial institutions.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman played a key role in working out the settlement with the large financial institutions. However this settlement doesn’t excuse criminal activity on behalf of the mortgage services. Schneiderman has stated that he will keep pursuing his investigation with regard to mortgage abuses.

Schneiderman said “there are huge tax fraud implications to some of the stuff involving mortgages that we went on.” The large financial institutions involved in the settlement are Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial Services.

Too Little Too Late

The $2000 dollars being paid to people who lost their homes is much too little and it is being paid much too late. Schneiderman stated that the settlement is just a down payment. He intends on pursuing interest and further penalties on the financial servicing companies.

Long Island Foreclosure Lawyers

The Long Island foreclosure defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have for more than two decades been representing the families in the courts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The firm helps clients obtainmortgage modifications. The firm also prepares forensic audits on behalf of clients. If a foreclosure action is started, the firm submits written answers alleging defenses such as predatory lending, defective foreclosure lawsuits and defective mortgages. The firm’s attorneys appear in court for settlement conferenceand pressure the financial institutions to give their clients mortgage modifications.

Foreclosure related bankruptcies are another option to deal with foreclosure lawsuits. Either the filing of a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will bring a foreclosure proceeding to a halt. Either of these bankruptcies can be utilized to stop foreclosures, stop debt collection, and stop creditor harassment. Contact the firm for a free consultation.

Foreclosures On Long Island Are Expected To Increase In 2012

According to Realty Trac, foreclosures in December of 2011 in Nassau and Suffolk Counties fell by 34%. There are several reasons why foreclosures rates slow down at the end of the year. Banks traditionally have hesitated to foreclose on homes and put people on the street at Christmas time. In addition the paperwork concerning foreclosure has been backlogged at financial institutions and there are currently delays in the courts related to the courts being overwhelmed by the volume of foreclosures that have already been initiated by financial institutions.

New Defenses In Foreclosure Proceedings

Prior to a lender bringing a foreclosure action, the lender and the lender’s attorney must make sure that they have all the appropriate paperwork to document the foreclosure proceeding. They must prove they actually are the appropriate party to bring the foreclosure action.

Foreclosed Homes Depress Real Estate Market

The large number of foreclosed homes on Long Island has had a depressing effect on the real estate market. Prices are being forced down due to the high volume of foreclosed homes that are still on the market unsold.

It is estimated it takes about three years for a home to go from foreclosure to sale in the State of New York. It is anticipated as lenders become more adept at qualifying their paperwork the foreclosures in the 2012 will increase to make up for the backlog that currently exists. It looks like there will be much more pain felt by families on Long Island during 2012.

Long Island Foreclosure Lawyers

The Long Island foreclosure defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have for more than two decades been representing the families in the courts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The firm helps clients obtain mortgage modifications. The firm also prepares forensic audits on behalf of clients. If a foreclosure action is started, the firm submits written answers alleging defenses such as predatory lending, defective foreclosure lawsuits and defective mortgages. The firm’s attorneys appear in court for settlement conference and pressure the financial institutions to give their clients mortgage modifications.

Foreclosure related bankruptcies are another option to deal with foreclosure lawsuits. Either the filing of aChapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will bring a foreclosure proceeding to a halt. Either of these bankruptcies can be utilized to stop foreclosures, stop debt collection, and stop creditor harassment. Contact the firm for a free consultation. We will discuss all of your foreclosure and/or bankruptcy options. We will keep you in your home!

Foreclosure Defense in Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick and Bellmore, New York

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