Zombie Homes

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer. He has helped hundreds of New Yorkers stay in their homes. He fights foreclosure lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area and helps his clients obtain mortgage modifications. Elliot and his staff of attorneys can be reached 7 days a week.  He and his associates can be reached by calling 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802 or by sending an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Home Ownership: The Pros and Cons

foreclosure defense for homeownersI have had numerous discussions with potential home buyers with regard to the pros and cons of owning a home. There are many substantial benefits but the foreclosure crisis in recent years is illustrative of some of the major drawbacks in owning a home.

  • Renting. If you rent you have flexibility. Most leases are for a year or two. When the lease is over you can move. If your company relocates to a different part of the country, or out of the country, you are not stuck with a significant piece of real estate. In some situations you can simply notify the landlord you are moving and give the landlord the ability to rent your house even before your lease is up and avoid financial liability to the landlord.
  • It should also be noted that when you buy a house, there are many up front costs related to the acquisition of the house. These are often referred to as “closing costs”.
  • Is owning a home a good investment? It generally costs much more to pay the expenses concerning owning a home than to pay rent. However, most homes over time will appreciate in value. If you have a conventional mortgage for either 15 or 30 years, your mortgage payments will be the same each and every month. However, the taxes on your house will usually go up. Since taxes are usually incorporated into the mortgage payments that you send to your bank, it is most likely that even though the actual mortgage payments will stay flat, the amount of your expenses will go up from year to year.

According to Richard Green, a professor at the University of Southern California the following is a rule of thumb as to how much appreciation you will need to make the home a worthwhile investment vis a vis staying in an apartment and paying rent. Professor Green states that house values should not “have to go up more than 3% a year for you to break even.” Professor Green suggests that your home should not be your sole investment. He states “the idea that home ownership doesn’t carry a lot of risk with it is wrong.” “If you are in a mutual fund, with a long term prospective, it is probably going to grow faster than real estate values. Housing can be more volatile than you think (depending on location).”

  • What is equity in a home? To start with, you only build equity if the value of your home is increasing. If your home is appreciating while you are paying off the mortgage, you are developing equity in your home. To determine the equity in your home you subtract from the appraised value of your home the amount of your mortgage debt. What remains, if anything, is your equity in the home.
  • Home ownership is a long term investment. It is generally suggested that if you purchase a home you stay in it for a minimum of 5 years. This will give your home a reasonable period of time to appreciate. You also need to consider the closing costs involved in purchasing a home and the expenses involved in selling a home when you determine the actual equity in your home.

Buy a Home and You are the Landlord

When you rent, if something breaks you can contact the landlord and/or his representative and request they make the repairs that are necessary. When you own a home, if something breaks, doesn’t function properly, or goes wrong, you are responsible. If you can’t fix it, you have to hire someone at your own expense to fix it. Maintenance costs in a home, generally, are more than most people anticipate. Before you buy a home you should have an engineer inspect the home and advise you whether the boiler, electrical system, roof, foundation or other aspects of the home are in good condition. You don’t want to buy a home and have it fall down shortly after you purchase it.

New York foreclosure defense lawyerElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense attorney. He helps homeowners in the Metropolitan New York area fight foreclosure lawsuits and obtain mortgage modifications.

More Than A Third Of The Mortgages In The U.S. Are Underwater!

foreclosure defense attorneys on Long IslandTen million American families reside in homes worth less than the amount of the mortgages due on the homes. The large number of homes underwater in the United States still has a negative effect on the American economy. This is seven years after the great recession in the United States caused the collapse of the real estate market.

Although ten million Americans owe more on their property than their homes are worth, this is still an improvement from 2013.

Underwater Homes On Long Island

Long Island is fortunate that a smaller portion of the homeowners’ homes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties are underwater than the national average. Approximately 9% of the homeowners on Long Island, approximately 48,000 homes, are worth less than the amounts of their mortgages.

The actual figure of homes which are worth less than their mortgages on Long Island, is substantially higher. When taking into consideration the homeowners who have equity in their homes, it must be noted that for many of these homeowners, if they were to sell their homes, the proceeds from selling their homes would be too low to cover the costs and expenses involved in the sale of the home.

Fewer Homes Being Placed On The Market

The fact that homeowners can’t place their homes on the market and cover the expenses of paying the mortgage and the real estate transaction, is causing homeowners to keep their homes out of the marketplace. This has a negative impact on economic growth. A shortage of homes being listed in some areas has actually resulted in the homes which are on the market having inflated prices. This tends to prevent first time homeowners from coming into the marketplace due to their inability to meet the cost of these new homes.

Stan Humphries, the Chief Economist for Zillow, recently stated “the unfortunate reality is the housing markets look to be swimming with underwater borrowers for years to come.”

Hopefully the economy on Long Island and the rest of the United States will continue to improve which will raise the incomes of Americans and put more value into their homes.

foreclosure lawyer in New YorkElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer. He defends foreclosure lawsuits brought by financial institutions against homeowners and assists homeowners in obtaining mortgage modifications.

Coming Soon: 3% Mortgage Down Payments

foreclosure defense for homeownersThe federal government has come up with a new plan to encourage individuals without significant funds to be able to buy homes. Under this new plan, prospective homeowners will be able to obtain mortgages with down payments as low as only 3% of the purchase price. There is a debate as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. These new 3% down payment mortgages are coming less than a decade after the tremendous housing collapse America recently experienced.

First Time Home Buyers

The purpose of the program is to help lure first time home buyers back into the housing market. Is a 3% down payment loan risky? If the individuals putting the 3% down and buying a home have set aside an emergency fund in the event they lose their job or become ill, it may be a good idea. However, this writer’s experience with individuals taking these type of loans is they do not have emergency funds. The 3% is usually all they have. Without an emergency fund, should the roof leak, the boiler go bad, or one of the family members lose their job, they will be unable to make the mortgage payments and the house will go into foreclosure.

A 20% Down Payment

Most conventional mortgages require a 20% down payment today. I also have problems with this level of down payment. Most young people coming into the housing market do not have the 20% down payment. A more reasonable down payment on a conventional mortgage would be 10%. Unfortunately, pursuant to a 2012 Center for Responsible Lending Study, it found even a 10% down payment would require the individuals purchasing a home with a 2010 median value of $158,000, would take 21 years for the average family to save this amount.

The American Dream

Owning a single family home is the American dream. An equilibrium must be found which will motivate and help young people to purchase homes while not putting them into a situation where they are overextended. Owning a home is one of the bed rocks young married couples have. This is the American dream and that dream must not be kept out of reach for young couples!

foreclosure defense lawyer in New YorkElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney. He represents clients who unfortunately fall behind on their mortgages and face the possibility of losing their homes in foreclosure.

The Impact of Foreclosures on the Rental Market

Please click on the link below to watch today’s video blog:


Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer.  He can be reached by telephone at 516-561-6645, or 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Chinese Home Buyers Invade the United States

attorneys on Long Island who help defend foreclosure lawsuitsChinese home buyers are buying billions of dollars of real estate in the United States. They are now the largest international investors in the American real estate market. It is estimated Chinese home buyers spent in excess of $22 billion in real estate acquisitions during the past twelve months within the States of New York, California and Washington. California is the state with the most activity by Chinese home purchasers. This is partly because it is the closest state to mainland China. In San Francisco and Oakland, Chinese real estate investors have had a significant impact on inflating real estate prices.

Chinese Home Purchasers in New York

Chinese real estate investors are especially focused at buying high end properties in Manhattan. A significant portion of these acquisitions of real estate are not to be lived in by the purchasers. They are simply investments in property in the United States. To Chinese investors, owning property in New York is a safe haven for their money. These real estate purchasers also look at purchasing property in the United States as a means of diversifying their assets. A significant number of the Chinese people investing in the United States never see the property or actually come to the United States for the transaction. The transactions are handled through middle men on behalf of the Chinese purchasers. It is estimated less than 40% of the Chinese real estate purchasers in the United States involve families who plan on living on a full time basis in these homes.

homeowner advocates on long islandElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure defense lawyer. He represents New Yorkers whose homes are foreclosed on. He has been successful in keeping his clients in their homes, and in many situations, helping them obtain mortgage modifications. His office offers free consultations with regard to foreclosure issues.

Hurricane Sandy Buyouts Moving Forward

foreclosure defense attorneysIn the month of May 2014, New York Rising, the agency that is involved with utilizing federal funds to pay for damages caused by Superstorm Sandy, purchased 34 homes. The agency is now in the process of hiring an auction company to sell off some of the homes which were purchased, in addition to several hundred others. The homes sold will either be fixed up or totally rebuilt to make them resistant to future hurricanes.

New York Rising Buying More Damaged Homes

New York Rising is in the process of buying about 500 homes on Long Island. The average price to be paid for these homes is $360,000. There is an additional 500 homeowners who have submitted applications to have their homes purchased. Many of the homes that are being purchased by New York Rising will not be resold. These homes will remain vacant and the land will not be developed. These properties will be used as a buffer against future storms.

Michelle Mittleman, a lawyer who represents a Facebook group of Sandy victims, indicates although New York Rising is paying reasonable value for these homes, they are moving too slowly.

Barbara Brancaccio, a spokesperson for New York Rising, stated they have “moved aggressively to work with homeowners to ensure that we provide them with a fair price, and comply with federal regulations.”

homeowner advocates on long islandElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer. He represents homeowners whose homes are in foreclosure. He litigates foreclosure lawsuits, helps homeowners obtain mortgage modifications, and gets great satisfaction helping families stay in their homes.

Home Flipping in Nassau County, New York

foreclosure assistance for homeownersSpeculators have been involved in a significant amount of home flipping in Nassau County. A home is considered to have been flipped when it is purchased and then resold within a period of 180 days. There were approximately 200 homes flipped in Nassau County during the six month period ending in April 2014. The average purchase price of the homes that were flipped was $316,000 and the sale price of the homes within that same six month period was an average of $423,000. This provided a profit of over 33% to the speculators doing the flipping.

Why Are Homes Being Flipped in Nassau County, New York?

The reason for homes being flipped in Nassau County has to do with the fact that home prices are going up and there has been an increase in new foreclosure lawsuits. During the first quarter of 2014, there was a 4% rise in the number of foreclosure cases initiated by financial institutions in the courts in Nassau County. There has been a 6% year to year increase in the value of homes in Nassau County.

Pursuant to RealtyTrac approximately 2% of all the homes purchased in Nassau County have been purchased by speculators and flipped.


Speculators are very attuned to market trends. The fact that speculators have gone back into the marketplace in Nassau County to purchase homes indicates they believe real estate is appreciating at a significant level in Nassau County. Does this make it the right time for prospective purchasers to purchase a house in Nassau County? Yes, I believe purchasing a home in Nassau County is an excellent investment at this time.

helping homeowners stay in their homesElliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure attorney. He has been defending homeowners in foreclosure lawsuits for more than 45 years. Elliot and his staff of attorneys are well known in the court system and have had an excellent success rate in helping their clients obtain mortgage modifications. Elliot and his staff of attorneys are available for free consultations to homeowners having financial difficulties.

Long Island Home Sales Going Down But Prices Going Up

foreclosure assitance for homeownersThe number of homes that were sold on Long Island during April of 2014 went down in relation to April of 2013. The number of transactions were approximately 20% lower than it was for April of 2013. One of the reasons given for the reduction of home sales was the fact that it was a long, cold winter. Prospective homeowners were kept off the market by the problems caused by the weather.

Home Prices Go Up

Even though less homes were sold in April 2014 than in 2013, the median price for home sales in Nassau and Suffolk Counties went up. The median price for homes in Nassau County in April of 2014, was up almost 6% from 2013, with a price of approximately $410,000. In Suffolk County, the median home price was approximately $301,000, with an annual gain of only 0.07%.

Mary Ann Murphy, a broker with Call Murf Real Estate in Lindenhurst, has recently stated the areas on Long Island which were subject to being devastated by Superstorm Sandy have been seeing much more sales activity. Although these properties are selling at a discount, they are starting to move.

Real Estate Brokers Expect a Busy Summer Selling Season

Brokers are anticipating the market will rebound during the summer months this year. In both Nassau and Suffolk Counties, it still takes approximately a year for the average home to be sold. In a more balanced real estate market, there would only be a six month delay for the average home to be sold.

About the Author

Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney with more than 45 years of experience representing homeowners regarding fighting foreclosure lawsuits, obtaining mortgage modifications, and protecting homeowners’ rights. He offers free consultations to prospective clients.homeowner advocates

Town of Brookhaven Taking Action Against Banks Who Failed to Maintain Foreclosed Properties

foreclosure defense lawyersTown officials in Brookhaven are moving forward to take action against financial institutions which have failed to maintain hundreds of homes and other structures they have taken title to in foreclosure lawsuits. During the past twelve months, town workers have been forced to board up more than three hundred homes that have fallen into disrepair which are owned by financial institutions as a result of foreclosure proceedings. Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, recently stated “banks let the houses fall apart; did not adequately maintain them and didn’t stay in touch with the local government.”

Foreclosed Homes Devalue Their Neighbors’ Property

It is estimated when a home goes into foreclosure and falls into disrepair it has a negative financial impact on the surrounding homes of approximately $10,000 to $20,000. In addition, vacant homes attract drug dealers and prostitutes.

Property Registration Law

The Town of Brookhaven is in the process of passing a property registration law related to vacant homes. The statute would have a registration fee of $100 for a home or building which has been vacant for less than a year. The failure of financial institutions to comply with this regulation would cost them between $1,000 and $15,000 in fines. The statute would also allow the Town of Brookhaven to place liens on vacant homes and buildings for maintenance work the Town is forced to do. This maintenance work would also include maintaining the property, cutting the grass and trimming trees.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner from Coram has taken the position banks should be held accountable for homes they have taken back in foreclosure. She maintains a strong position it is not the government’s responsibility to maintain property owned by financial institutions.


assistance for homeownersForeclosures not only remove families from their homes. They have a negative effect on the surrounding homes and create blights in the neighborhood if the foreclosed homes are not maintained.

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