Owning a Home is Better Than Renting

mortgage modification attorneysThere are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration when comparing the benefits and problems of home ownership versus renting.

No Mortgage vs. No Landlord

When you own a home you are in charge. It is yours! It belongs to you. If something breaks, you fix it. When you rent, you are living in the landlord’s house. If something breaks you need to contact the landlord to fix it. Landlords are not always very responsive to helping their tenants deal with problems in their apartments.

Fixed Rate Mortgages Don’t Go Up: Rent Does!

If you buy a house and obtain a fixed rate mortgage, you will pay the same amount each and every year. If you rent an apartment, periodically the landlord will raise your rent. It should be noted although your mortgage rate won’t go up, taxes on real property go up over time.

Homeowners Obtain Tax Deductions for Mortgage Interest

There are significant tax benefits for owning a home. You can deduct, in your federal and state income taxes, the interest paid on your mortgage. In addition, there are a variety of energy efficient improvements to the home that can be made which are also tax deductible. When you sell your home, the first $250,000 in profit payable to the owner of the home is not subject to capital gains tax.

Managing Your Own Space

When you are in an apartment there are small cosmetic things you can do. However, you cannot customize the space to meet all your needs. If you own a home, you can move walls and do anything you want with it. The space can be modified to meet all of your personal needs and/or whims.

Homeowners Can’t Be Evicted

If you rent an apartment and you don’t pay rent, thirty days afterwards a landlord can bring a summary proceeding and have you removed from the apartment. Eviction proceedings are relatively quick proceedings (although in the City of New York they can take as much as six to eight months). However, if you don’t pay your mortgage, and a financial institution has to bring a foreclosure lawsuit, those proceedings can take as long as three to five years. During that period, you can be living in your home while not making mortgage payments.

assisting homeownersElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer. He represents clients whose homes are going into foreclosure. He helps them stay in their homes, obtain mortgage modifications, and litigate a variety of issues involved regarding foreclosures with financial institutions. Elliot can be reached for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645, and 718-350-2802.

Hidden Expenses When Buying A Home – Part I

There is a common misunderstanding with regard to the total of all expenses new homeowners are exposed to when they purchase a home. Homeowners often believe all they have to do is put the down payment down, get the balance of the funds for the mortgage from a bank, and this will be sufficient to purchase a home. However there are numerous other expenses prospective homeowners face when purchasing a home.

Down Payment

I’ve already mentioned the down payment. In most real estate transactions, the homeowners puts 10% of the purchase price down at contract, and an additional 10% at the time of closing. This amounts to a total of 20% of the purchase price. If the homeowners are obtaining a Federal Housing Authority (FHA) mortgage, their down payment may be as little as 5% to 10% of the purchase price of the home.

Engineering Inspection

A home is the largest purchase a family will make during the course of their lifetime. Before jumping into the purchase of a home, it is usually necessary to have an engineer do a thorough inspection of the home to make sure the roof doesn’t leak, the electrical system is adequate, the plumbing doesn’t leak, the foundation is secure and numerous other items in the home are in good condition. Home inspections can cost anywhere from $500 to $600 in the Metropolitan New York area by qualified engineers.

Expenses of Moving

When a family moves into a home, they usually hire a moving company to help them pack up their possessions and move them to their new home. Moving expenses can cost a homeowner anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000. If the move is cross country, or over a long distance, it could cost significantly more.

foreclosure advocate for homeownersElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney representing homeowners in the buying and selling of homes, and fighting foreclosures when banks seek to take their homes away from them. In addition, Elliot Schlissel and his attorneys assist homeowners in obtaining mortgage modifications and to avoid losing their homes in foreclosure proceedings.

Under Water Homes on Long Island Rising!

mortgage modification attorneysThe number of homes that are under water on Long Island (where the owners owe more than the home’s value) are going down. Approximately 43,000 homes on Long Island are under water with regard to their mortgages. This amounts to about 8% of the homes on Long Island. This is down from 50,000 or 9 1/4% of the homes which were under water at the end of 2012.

Real Estate Values Increasing

Housing values have started to increase on Long Island. With the increase of housing values, more and more homes are developing equity greater than the value of the indebtedness on these homes. As a result of rising housing values, there have been fewer short sales on Long Island in 2013. A short sale is a transaction in which the home is sold for less than the amount owed on the mortgage. In addition to fewer short sales, there have been fewer sales in foreclosure proceedings in 2013 than there were in 2012 on Long Island. A smaller percentage of the homes on Long Island are under water when compared to homeowner rates on a national basis in the United States.

The increase in the value of homes on Long Island will have an affirmative economic effect which will create a rise in consumer confidence and result in economic growth in 2014. This is according to Anand Nallathambi, the President and CEO of Call Logic. Call Logic tracks information with regard to mortgages in the United States.


With fewer homes under water, financial institutions should be more reasonable in granting mortgage modifications. The rising value of homes gives banks greater equity incentive to grant mortgage modifications.

homeowner advocatesElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney. He represents homeowners whose homes are going into foreclosure and seek to maintain their homes. He assists homeowners in obtaining mortgage modifications. He has kept scores of Long Islanders who are facing foreclosure in their homes. Elliot is the former president of the Commercial Lawyers Conference of New York.

New Mortgage Rules: Too Little, Too Late!

foreclosure defense attorneysA new agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been established. The purpose of this agency is to see to it we do not end up in another real estate bubble related to improper, unfair and illegal mortgage practices by financial institutions.

Owning one’s home is the American dream. The process of purchasing a home involves applying for a mortgage. Mortgage brokers and loan officers at banks seek to simplify this process. However, applying for a mortgage loan is generally the largest financial transaction a family enters into. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is set up pursuant to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. New applications and forms are created by this statute. They are supposed to be in simplified, easy to read, and involve complete disclosure.

Financial institutions are supposed to clearly provide individuals applying for the mortgage with information concerning the actual cost of the loan. The principal amount. The amount of interest they are being charged and what they will spend in closing costs. The forms must also contain information concerning other aspects of the financial transaction including but not limited to whether there will be prepayment penalties and other costs related to the financing. The new law goes a long way to simplifying and clarifying this process for prospective home buyers. However, it does not go far enough.

Failure of the New Mortgage Rules

What the new forms do not do is provide the prospective homeowner with a logical basis to compare loan products from different financial institutions. The new loan forms do not include various costs related to the purchase of a home. Some of the costs these forms do not deal with are title insurance, closing expenses related to taxes, fuel oil costs to heat the house, and attorneys fees for hiring an attorney for legal representation.

No Three Day Right to Review

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had initially requested that all financial institutions be required to give the mortgagors a three day right to review the information whenever loan terms concerning the transaction are changed or modified. Unfortunately, this rule was not established. Lenders still have the ability to present the mortgagors, at the time of the closing, with changes in the cost structure of the financing. This is both unfair and unreasonable. You have homeowners sitting at the table at their closing expecting to pay one amount for the financing of their home and being told at the last minute, it is going to cost you more. They are too deep into the transaction to walk away. They are stuck with a higher cost of their mortgage. This is true even if the higher costs are beyond their ability to pay. Lenders should be forced to live up to the terms of their proposals when they offer prospective homeowners mortgages. They should not be allowed to change the terms at the last minute to the prospective homeowners detriment.

The establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law was a great idea. Unfortunately, this great idea has not worked out completely to consumer’s benefit.

helping homeowners stay in their homesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer with more than 35 years of legal experience. He litigates foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area. He keeps families in their homes and helps them obtain mortgage modifications.

Federal Government Moves Against Banks

foreclosure defense attorneyThe United States government has brought several lawsuits against some of the largest banks in the world. The purpose of these lawsuits was to hold these banks accountable for their mortgage fraud practices. As a result of legal action, JP Morgan Chase entered into a settlement whereupon they have to pay $5.1 billion dollars to the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This settlement dealt with allegations related to toxic mortgage securities packaged and sold by JP Morgan Chase which was one of the causes of the financial crisis in America. This settlement was part of a larger settlement involving a $13 billion dollar payment between JP Morgan Chase and federal and state officials with regard to the bank’s improper mortgage practices.

Bank of America

A federal jury has found Bank of America was responsible for mortgage fraud during the financial crisis. Prosecutors in the case are asking for approximately $850 million dollars in damages from Bank of America.

Banks Charged for Their Bad Behavior

It is important that the government, even though it is long after the fact, is taking the appropriate legal action to find banks responsible for their wrongdoing which created the mortgage crisis in America.

Homeowners Not Compensated

The settlement between the federal government, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America allocates approximately $4 billion dollars in financial relief to homeowners who were victimized by improper mortgage practices. Considering the hundreds of billions of dollars homeowners have lost, this is a mere pittance. The government should have required a much larger fine from JP Morgan Chase for its improper mortgage actions and mortgage fraud.


The government’s action concerning illegal mortgage practices taken against large banks is too little too late!helping homeowners stay in their homes

Low Down Payment Mortgages

foreclosure defense lawyerLow down payment and no down payment mortgages played a significant role in the mortgage bubble that developed during the housing boom in the United States. When the housing market crashed, many of the families who had obtained mortgages with little or no down payment found their homes worth less than their mortgages and they had no ability to make their monthly mortgage payments. The reality of the situation was consumers were buying homes they could not possibly afford to keep over the long run.
Although it is difficult to obtain a no down payment or low down payment mortgage today, there are still avenues available to obtain these types of mortgages.

FHA Mortgage Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a loan program where they provide financial guarantees for individuals to obtain mortgages with down payments as low as 3.5%. Although the FHA actually doesn’t act as a direct lender, this federal agency insures loans by financial institutions that provides the financial institution security to offer low down payment mortgages.

Lower Credit Scores

The FHA will provide mortgages to potential home buyers with credit scores as low as 575. FHA mortgages come with restrictions. To begin with, there are caps on the house price related to the region the house is located in. Secondly, the home must be purchased to be used as a principal place of residence. FHA loans cannot be used to purchase investment property.

When an individual or family obtains a low down payment loan from the FHA, they are required to purchase private mortgage insurance. This private mortgage insurance protects the financial institution in the event the homeowner is unable to make his home payments or there is insufficient equity in the home to pay back the mortgage at time of the sale of the home. This private insurance program requires an up front insurance premium that is part of the underwriting costs of the loan. In addition, the homeowner must make monthly payments. Due to the additional private mortgage insurance premiums, the monthly mortgage payments on FHA loans are usually higher than those of conventional mortgage loans.

Veterans Administration Mortgage Loans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a mortgage loan program for members in the military and former military members. This allows men and women who served their country to obtain a mortgage with no down payment. Similar to the FHA, the VA doesn’t actually make the loans. What they do is they provide insurance which motivates private lenders to participate in this program. There are specific eligibility requirements under the VA mortgage loan program. VA mortgage loans also carry fees at the time of closing, however they do not require private mortgage insurance, which is required under the FHA program. VA loans are an attractive means of purchasing homes for Americans who served their country in the military.

Private Financial Institutions

As indicated earlier in this article, low down payment and no down payment loans were part of the reason for the housing bubble that existed in this country for the past seven years. Although banks have become more aggressive in marketing conventional mortgage loans, new government regulations related to the Dodd-Frank Act which go into effect on January 10, 2014, will make it very unlikely financial institutions will pursue these type of mortgage loans in the future.

homeowner advocatesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney with more than 20 years experience fighting foreclosure lawsuits. He represents homeowners with foreclosure problems in the metropolitan New York area.

How Good Does Your Credit Score Have To Be To Obtain a Low Interest Rate Mortgage?

mortgage modification attorneysIf you are in the market to buy a new home or an existing home, one of the most important issues is whether you can afford the mortgage payments. But before you can consider whether you can make your mortgage payments, you need to obtain the mortgage. Credit scores are the most important factor financial institutions look into with regard to underwriting mortgage loans. Today it is recommended individuals applying for a mortgage have a credit score of 740 or above. Credit scores are based on a total potential perfect credit score of 850 points. The 740 credit score that is requested by financial institutions today is among the highest asked by banks at any point in time. Pursuant to www.zillow.com, a mortgage information company, approximately 40% of Americans have credit scores high enough to obtain the best possible mortgages.

Mortgage Rejection Rate

There is currently a 30% rejection rate by financial institutions for those individuals applying for a mortgage. When you take into consideration the housing market has been improving in the United States, and foreclosure rates have been going down in most metropolitan areas, a 30% rejection rate is very high.

So what do you do if you do not have a 740 or above credit score? You can still obtain a mortgage. However, you will most likely have to pay a higher interest rate for the mortgage.

Credit Reports

Before going into the housing market to look for a home to purchase you should check your credit score. You can obtain a copy of your credit report on the internet. Carefully look at your credit report to determine if all the material on your report is accurate. If there are inaccuracies in your credit report contact the credit reporting agency in writing to correct these inaccuracies. Your credit report will also show you the balances on credit lines, personal loans, and credit cards. It will be helpful to bring the balances on your indebtedness down prior to submitting a mortgage application. Banks take into consideration all of your overall debt when they underwrite a mortgage.

helping homeowners stay in their homesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney with extensive experience in representing clients regarding foreclosure lawsuits, mortgage modifications and fraudulent mortgage practices of banks. His goal is to help clients stay in their homes.

The Foreclosure Process in New York

foreclosure defense attorneysThe foreclosure process in New York is much more complicated than most homeowners understand it to be. It is a process that involves a number of steps to complete. The purpose of this article is to inform homeowners about the foreclosure process and the options homeowners have to stop foreclosures from moving forward.

Time Frames for Foreclosure

The foreclosure process in New York can be discussed with regard to two types of time frames. If the homeowner ignores the Summons and Complaint, takes no legal action and does not hire an attorney to defend them, the process can take approximately 18 months and depending on how aggressive the financial institution is, even longer. However, if the homeowner hires an attorney, files a formal Answer, contests the proceedings, engages in the discovery process and opposes a summary judgment motion, the foreclosure process can be extended to 3 years or more.

Missing Mortgage Payments

In the event you are unable to make your mortgage payments on a timely basis, the best means of dealing with the situation is to notify your financial institution. Many of the lenders in New York are willing to work out payment plans during financial hardship situations for homeowners. You can apply for a mortgage modification or a forbearance agreement. In the event you realize you will not be able to make your mortgage payments over the long run, it is necessary to hire a foreclosure attorney to represent you in the foreclosure proceeding that will be forthcoming.

Banks do not, in New York State, take action to initiate foreclosure proceedings until the homeowner is a minimum of 3 months behind in their mortgage payments. Some banks will wait as long as 6 to 9 months before they will consider taking legal action. If there are problems with the paperwork, issues involving assignments, robo-signers, violations of truth in lending or New York State laws, the banks may wait years before they initiate a foreclosure proceeding.

Pre-Foreclosure Notice

In New York State a lender must notify the homeowner in writing 90 days before beginning legal proceedings. This pre-foreclosure notice advises the homeowner the bank is accelerating the mortgage. This means the bank is calling the entire amount of the mortgage due and owing. Once the mortgage is accelerated, if the homeowner makes a mortgage payment, the banks will usually reject the payment and demand the entire mortgage be paid in a lump sum.

Foreclosure Legal Proceeding

The foreclosure process is started by the attorney for the financial institution drafting a summons and complaint, filing the summons and complaint, and hiring a process server to serve the summons and complaint on you. If the summons and complaint is served on you personally, you have 20 days to hire an attorney and submit a formal written answer. If it is served on you in any other manner other than through personal delivery, you have 30 days to respond by submitting a written Answer to the summons and complaint.

Mortgage Modification

Some homeowners have the mistaken idea that submitting a mortgage modification application acts as a response to the summons and complaint. This is not true. If served with a summons and complaint in a foreclosure, you need to submit a written answer admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint alleging affirmative defenses and possibly countersuing the bank.

End of Foreclosure Proceeding

A foreclosure proceeding ends by the sale of the home by a referee in an auction type sale. Don’t wait for this to happen. Hire a competent foreclosure defense lawyer to represent you if you want to stay in your home!assisting homeowners

JP Morgan $13 Billion Settlement for Bad Mortgage Practices

mortgage modification attorneysFor months now, JP Morgan Chase and the Justice Department have been in negotiations with regard to a settlement resolving federal allegations concerning the bank’s sale of faulty mortgage securities. The Justice Department’s position is the sale of these faulty mortgage securities was a major factor in the mortgage/real estate crisis in America. The $13 Billion penalty would be the largest penalty ever paid by a single institution. The Justice Department has been investigating JP Morgan Chase for many months with regard to its activities concerning mortgage backed securities. In the event this settlement is entered into, it would be a major win for the Justice Department. JP Morgan Chase is the largest bank in the country. This settlement will not stop the federal government from bringing criminal charges against JP Morgan Chase. However, the deal would end a New York State lawsuit brought by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and an investigation in the State of California.

HSBC and Barclay’s Bank Fined Also

Attorney General Holder has in the past levied multimillion dollar fines against other large financial institutions which includes both HSBC and Barclay’s Bank.

JP Morgan seeks to resolve this investigation regarding its conduct in recent years. As a result of this investigation, the bank’s first quarter report showed a loss. This was the first quarterly loss for JP Morgan Chase in ten years. The bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Dimon, seeks to resolve these investigations into the bank’s conduct. With this in mind, he is taking a conciliatory approach in his dealings with regulators. He has stated that the problems JP Morgan is facing are “painful.”

In 2011, JP Morgan Chase was one of the eighteen banks sued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That suit was to recoup losses sustained by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with regard to bundled securities that were improperly underwritten as home loans.

assisting homeownersElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer. Elliot and his associates litigate foreclosure lawsuits and they help their clients obtain mortgage modifications. Elliot and his aggressive associates work hard to keep their clients living in their homes.

Courts Impact On The Foreclosure Crisis

Many foreclosure actions spend years tied up in court. This is caused by lenders losing the note. Lenders also have been guilty of sloppy record keeping, loss of documentation of their standing to sue and other violations of court rules and statutes.

Foreclosure lawsuits today, in many situations, are not initiated by the original lenders. The parties bringing the foreclosure action received the mortgages after a series of transfers. It is estimated, millions of mortgage notes have been lost or misplaced. For a lender to bring a foreclosure proceeding it must be the holder or the assignee of both the mortgage and the note.

Show Me The Mortgage Note Defense

Defense lawyers in foreclosure actions now utilize a “show me the note” defense. This has allowed defaulting borrowers to hold off the foreclosure proceeding from going forward while the foreclosing lender or servicing organization looks for the note. Sometimes while looking for the note, they ascertain they do not physically hold the note and they cannot find out where it is.

How Courts In New York Handle Cases Involving Lost Mortgage Notes

Courts in New York can proceed with foreclosure proceedings even without a mortgage note. To accomplish this, the lender must show to the Court it owns the note. They must present to the Court the facts preventing the production of the note and present to the Court the terms of the note. The lender has to provide the Court with a detailed explanation of the note’s chain of transfers. This is to prove that the prior note holders had the intention to transfer the mortgage and that the current note owner is the rightful recipient of the mortgage.

Financial Institutions Proving Ownership Of The Notes

For financial institutions to prove the ownership of the note they must produce a valid assignment of the note or, in the alternative, they must show the note was physically hand delivered to them. Determining what actually constitutes the physical delivery of the note may vary on a case to case basis.

Lost Mortgage Notes

If the lender can demonstrate to the Court it owns the note it then must provide the Court with a logical explanation of why the note was lost. The lender has the burden of proving the terms of the lost note. To prove this, the lender must provide the Court with information concerning the name of the last holder of the note, the name of the borrower, the name of the person who signed on behalf of the borrower, the type of note, the effective date of the note, the value of the note, the payment terms of the note, the loan number and currently how much is unpaid under the note. The person providing evidence of this information must have personal knowledge of all of this information.


Lenders have heavy burdens to meet before they can successfully bring foreclosure proceedings in New York State Courts when they can’t produce the note or provide documentation of the assignment of the note.

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