Long Island Foreclosure Rates Continue to Climb

foreclosure defense attorney on Long IslandForeclosure rates for both Nassau and Suffolk Counties, on Long Island, are the highest in New York State. Approximately 3% of the homes in Suffolk County are in foreclosure. In Nassau County, approximately 2 ½% of all homes are in foreclosure. There are more than 27,000 pending foreclosure cases in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The Housing Crisis

The housing crisis has hit Long Island homeowners harder than homeowners in other areas of the State. Superstorm Sandy contributed to this problem by devastating many homes on Long Island. Thomas DiNapoli, the Comptroller of New York State, recently stated “if you are on Long Island and you have a huge mortgage, based on a price that no longer was attainable, you could easily get ‘underwater’.” Underwater refers to homes which owe more money on their mortgages than the home is worth.

While in many other areas in New York State the foreclosure crisis is easing, it continues to get worse in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. In January of 2015, the number of homes going into foreclosure in Nassau County jumped by almost 20%. Some of this increase in homes being foreclosed upon was related to the delayed impact of Superstorm Sandy, which hit Long Island in 2012, has had on homes going into foreclosure. In the State of New York, approximately 1 in every 90 homes is in foreclosure. While in Nassau County 1 out of every 40 homes are in foreclosure, and in Suffolk County 1 out of every 35 homes are in foreclosure. Comparing this to the foreclosure rate in New York City which has only 1 out of every 116 homes in foreclosure shows the huge problem faced by homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.New York foreclosure defense lawyer

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.

Truth in Lending Disclosures

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense attorney.  He has been representing homeowners for more than 20 years.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Defense to Foreclosure Lawsuit: The Mortgage Company Made a Mistake

mortgage modification lawyerViolations of Truth In Lending Law

The Truth in Lending Law (hereinafter referred to as “TILA”) is usually violated by a lender failing to provide the appropriate disclosure to the homeowner at the time of closing. The financial institution must specifically disclose the annual percentage rate of the loan. In addition they must disclose the finance charges, the amount financed, the total payments, the payment schedule and many other items. These disclosures are supposed to be included in the document referred to as the Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement. The lender is responsible for all of the calculations contained in the Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement being accurate.

TILA and HOEPA Violations Apply To All Subsequent Banks
Who Will Receive Assignments From The Original Lender

The actual violations of TILA and the Home Ownership and Protection Law (hereinafter referred to as “HOEPA”) are caused by the original lender not complying with these statutes. Thereafter if the loan is assigned to subsequent financial institutions these lenders are held accountable for the violations of the original bank. The only way subsequent financial institutions can avoid liability under these statutes is if they can show a reasonable person exercising ordinary due diligence would not have been able to determine the violation or improper practice pursuant to TILA or HOEPA.

Rescinding the Loan

The method in which you rescind the loan is to give written notice to the lender you are exercising your right of rescission. If you are successful in your request to rescind the loan, the financial institution must return everything you paid to them except for the payments of the loan principle. In addition, you must return the portion of the loan principle that has not yet been repaid. When you rescind the loan you can eliminate being responsible for the payment of the loan under its terms but you still can’t keep the loan proceeds. The reality is when you rescind the loan you must refinance to repay the portion of the principal you received. However, rescission of a loan will always stop a foreclosure proceeding in its tracks!

It should be noted recently the United States Supreme Court rendered a decision in the matter of Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans that you don’t have to sue within the three year rescission period for rescission. You only have to provide written notice to the lender to preserve all of your rights during that three year period.

Foreclosure Defense Lawyer

If you seek to hire a lawyer to represent you in a foreclosure defense, one of the things he or she should be familiar with are the regulations involving TILA and HOEPA. The lawyer should know how these laws can be asserted by you in a foreclosure proceeding as a defense and how you can obtain damages as a result of violations of these laws. An excellent publication which can provide you with more ideas concerning the fighting of foreclosure lawsuits is Foreclosures published by the National Consumer Law Center.New York foreclosure defense attorney

Proposed Changes To The Foreclosure Process In New York State

foreclosure defense lawyerBenjamin Lawsky is the Superintendent of Financial Services in New York State. He feels the delays in foreclosure settlement conferences are the main reason why New York’s foreclosure system is “broken and badly in need of change.” A study by the Department of Financial Services found that it takes approximately 9 months from the time a foreclosure lawsuit is initiated to when the foreclosure settlement conference procedures are completed. With regard to this approximate 9 month period, he stated “unfortunately…the mandatory settlement conferences have not been the timely and efficient forum for foreclosure resolution that was once envisioned.” He went on further to state “for borrowers that are already at the end of their rope, any interruption – let alone nine months of start – and – stop delays – can be the death knell to any chance of saving their home.”

New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 3408(a)(1) requires both the homeowner and the financial institution negotiate in good faith. Lawsky finds that there is a lack of a clear definition of what is “good faith.”

Bank’s Representatives Having No Authority To Settle

In many situations, courts are confronted by bank attorneys appearing at foreclosure court conferences who do not have authority to enter into settlements or mortgage modifications with homeowners. In these situations the courts often simply keep adjourning the case until someone shows up who has greater authority to enter into mortgage modifications on behalf of the banks.

Lawsky believes the law creating foreclosure court conferences is flawed. He stated “the unintended consequences of this legal flaw are unproductive conference sessions, useless delays, waste of court resources, and most importantly, needless foreclosures.” Lawsky wants there to be new legislation which will define what negotiating in good faith means to both homeowners and financial institutions. He also feels courts should have greater authority to impose sanctions on the parties to these proceedings who do not negotiate in good faith.

Zombie Homes

Lawsky feels there is a special problem in the courts with the processing of foreclosures on “zombie homes”. Zombie homes are homes which have been abandoned by the homeowners. These homes create a blight in communities. They are vacant. Sometimes they are vandalized. Vandals remove the pipes from these homes. Lawsky wants the foreclosure process on vacant homes to be streamlined to allow them to be expedited. Lawsky has specifically suggested a new non-judicial process for either uncontested foreclosures or foreclosures on vacant homes be established.

Courts Flooded With Foreclosures

Approximately one-third of all the cases brought before the Supreme Court Civil Parts throughout the State of New York are now foreclosure cases.


The foreclosure process should be set up in a manner to help homeowners who have the wherewithal to keep their homes and obtain mortgage modifications.foreclosure defense attorney in New York

How A Home Is Sold In Foreclosure

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer who has been representing homeowners for more than 20 years.  His goal is to keep homeowners in their homes.  He defends homeowners in foreclosure lawsuits and helps his clients in obtaining mortgage modifications.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

“In Foreclosure!” What Does This Mean?

foreclosure defense attorneyWhen someone says they are “in foreclosure” they are referring to the fact the holder of their mortgage has filed a lawsuit against them in the Supreme Court of the County in which their home is located. Lenders in New York State, which are most often banks or mortgage companies, bring foreclosure lawsuits to obtain judgments against homeowners. When the foreclosing bank obtains the judgment of foreclosure, they can then take the next step and ask the court to appoint a referee to sell the home at auction. When the sale takes place, any funds received from the sale are given to the bank to pay off the loan owed by the homeowner. If there are funds left over after paying off the mortgage the homeowner can claim the funds.

It is then fair to say a home is “in foreclosure” until the time the home is sold at auction and a new individual or entity purchases the home.

Is Your Home “In Foreclosure”?

Should your home be in foreclosure, it is important you know what stage the foreclosure is at. This will let you know the progress of the lawsuit. If you are litigating the lawsuit, you need to know whether you are winning or losing the lawsuit. The stage it is at can give you some idea as to how long you can remain in your home if things aren’t going well in the foreclosure lawsuit.

Foreclosure Defense Lawyer

If you want to sleep at night and know you are protected in the foreclosure lawsuit, the best way to deal with that is to hire a qualified foreclosure defense lawyer. Our law firm has hundreds of foreclosure defense cases pending in the courts in the Metropolitan New York area. In most cases, the homeowners we represent get to live a minimum of 3 years without paying any expenses on their homes during the pendency of the foreclosure lawsuits. We offer free consultations and our phones are monitored 24/7. Should you have questions or concerns about your home going into foreclosure, call us. We can be reached at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645, and 718-350-2802.foreclosure defense lawyer New York and Long Island

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.

How to Qualify For a Mortgage

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:


Elliot S. Schlissel is a foreclosure defense attorney. Elliot and his associates have been helping homeowners stay in their homes for more than 20 years.  The lawyers at the Law Office of Elliot S. Schlissel help their clients obtain mortgage modifications, defend foreclosure lawsuits, and counter sue banks.  Elliot can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Fannie Mae Easing Mortgage Rules

mortgage modification attorneysFannie Mae is the largest mortgage government entity in the United States. In an attempt to bring more people into the housing market, it is in the process of taking action to expand the availability of mortgages with low down payment requirements. The new program by Fannie Mae will require mortgage insurance from private organizations on top of the down payment made by the purchaser.

Fannie Mae is a government backed entity which guarantees mortgages. It is regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Since the onset of the financial crisis in the year 2008, more than 3/4 of all mortgages in the United States have had some type of government backed guarantee behind it. Fannie Mae’s current requirements only allow borrowers to borrow up to 80% of the purchase price of the home. Under the new proposed program, Fannie Mae will back programs with down payments as low as 3% of the value of the home. However, all of these loans will require private mortgage insurance with regard to the portion of the 20% of the cost of the home that is not made as a down payment. The purpose of this new program is to bring more borrowers who have not accumulated significant amounts of savings back into the housing market.

Raising The Risk of Future Foreclosure

Studies have shown prospective home purchasers who make down payments of less than 20% have significantly higher default rates. When these homeowners default, their homes go into foreclosure. Low down payment loans were part of the problem which caused the huge mortgage crisis in 2008, which is still playing out today.


Helping prospective homeowners come into the housing market with smaller down payments gives more and more Americans access to the American dream, the ownership of a single family home. However, this program must be careful not to create a new mortgage bubble which may cause a deluge of foreclosures in the future.

foreclosure advocate for homeownersElliot Schlissel is a foreclosure lawyer. He fights foreclosure lawsuits and helps keep homeowners in their homes.

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