Category Archives: New Jersey Foreclosure FAQ

Should I hire a foreclosure defense attorney?

There are countless reasons why families end up with financial problems. Unfortunately, sometimes these problems led to people missing mortgage payments. While banks typically allow borrowers to miss a few payments without serious consequences, homeowners should expect a foreclosure action to be filed if such a default is not quickly fixed. With the help of a skilled and experienced foreclosure attorney, borrowers in default can protect themselves by delaying the foreclosure process and working with the bank’s counsel for the purposes of attempting to resolve the foreclosure dispute by entering into a modified mortgage payment with their lenders.

Fight Fire With Fire
If you are a homeowner in foreclosure or at imminent risk of entering into foreclosure you should consider the fact that your mortgage company has or will hire legal representation for the purposes of obtaining a foreclosure judgment against you. Typically, the most effective way to protect yourself from the mortgage company and its legal counsel is for you to obtain your own legal representation. A legal team such as that of Friscia & Associates, LLC, that concentrate on foreclosure defense can provide useful advice on how to proceed with the efforts of keeping your home. When dealing with an issue both as sensitive and important as that of your home, it is worth seriously considering legal assistance. Such representation can free you of the complications and burdens associated with defending yourself from the legal process. Moreover, experienced legal representation can put you in the best position to settle a foreclosure in connection with the modification of your home loan. This is a lot for someone to have to take on their own during their busy lives and schedules. Hiring an attorney is the obvious choice to handle these matters on your behalf.

If you are interested in learning more about foreclosure defense, or if you have any related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

How can I save my house if I am in foreclosure in New Jersey?

While a foreclosure is never a pleasant experience, all hope is not lost if you have been sued by your lender and are currently in foreclosure. Indeed, there are a few ways in which you can save your home from foreclosure.

For example, if your property is a primary residence you may qualify to participate in New Jersey’s foreclosure mediation program. This program offers a structure process in connection with which countless New Jersey homeowners have successfully negotiated deals with their lenders, typically involving more favorable mortgage loan terms. In other case, New Jersey homeowners have succeeded in getting their foreclosures dismissed because of the effectiveness of their affirmative defenses and/or due to a procedural or technical violation on the party of the Plaintiff. In yet other situations New Jersey homeowners have been able to save their homes, even though they had been sued for foreclosure, because they successfully reinstated their mortgage loan before the entry of Final Judgment which is permissible under New Jersey’s Fair Foreclosure Act for certain qualifying properties.

If you are interested in learning more about New Jersey’s foreclosure process, or if you have any related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

How Much Time Do I Have to Respond to a Foreclosure Lawsuit in New Jersey?

In New Jersey Defendants to a foreclosure complaint or lawsuit have a total of thirty-five (35) days from the date in which they are served to respond to the foreclosure action that has been brought against them. Responding to a foreclosure complaint or lawsuit can be confusing given the related technical requirements.

The steps that must be taken to successfully respond to a foreclosure in New Jersey include but are not limited to filing an Answer, which is a legal response, to the foreclosure lawsuit within 35 days of the date at which the Defendant has been served. Such a response must be filed with the court. Moreover, the Defendant in a New Jersey foreclosure action must serve the Plaintiff, the party who brought the case against you, with such a response within the designated period of time. However, if the case Plaintiff is represented by counsel, a lawyer or law firm, the Answer to the foreclosure lawsuit must be served on the relevant counsel.

If you are interested in learning more about New Jersey’s foreclosure process, or if you have any related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

What do I do if I was Served with a Foreclosure Lawsuit in New Jersey?

If you were served with a foreclosure action in the state of New Jersey you should strongly consider consulting with a New Jersey attorney. Individuals can respond to foreclosure lawsuits on their own behalf. However, it is prudent to evaluate your case with a professional who may be aware of affirmative defenses and/or counterclaims that could benefit your case which a layperson might not be aware of.

If you are interested in learning more about the foreclosure process, or if you have any related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

What is a Notice of Intention to Foreclose?

New Jersey law requires that a servicer send a borrower a Notice of Intention to Foreclose letter at least thirty days before filing a complaint against a borrower in connection with a foreclosure lawsuit involving a primary residence. Although a Notice of Intention to Foreclose correspondence might look like an unimportant and routine letter from your servicer, take this correspondence seriously and don’t be deceived. A Notice of Intention to Foreclose is an important document of legal significance that essentially provides you with notice that the foreclosure process has begun or is about to begin. As required by the New Jersey Fair Foreclosure Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:50-56, your servicer (the mortgage) or your servicer’s attorney is required to send a Notice of Intent or Notice of Intention to Foreclose via registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice must give the borrower at least thirty (30) days to cure the default with the lender. Whether you get a Notice of Intention to Foreclose from an attorney or directly from your servicer, it should be treated as the serious legal document that it is. A foreclosure defense attorney can help defend against the foreclosure action that your servicer intends to initiate against you or has already commenced.

If you have received a Notice of Intention or if you have any related questions, call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

What’s the Emergency Homeowners Loan Program?

The Emergency Homeowners Loan Program (EHLP) is a federal program designed to help struggling homeowners make payments to their mortgage company and stay in their homes.

Aprroved participant in EHLP are homeowners meeting the program’s standards who are given the benefit of zero interest loans. Such participating homeowners are individuals who have experienced a loss of income, of at least 15%, as a result of either the current economic downturn or as a result of a medical condition.

If the homeowner is deemed to qualify for EHLP and is an approved participant such a homeowner will receive one-time assistance to help with past due mortgage payments. EHLP is designed to help such homewoners by bringing them current on their first mortgage. EHLP also seeks to benefit such homeowners by assisting them in the payment of their monthly payments. EHLP is of a maximum duration of 24 months and a maximum loan amount of $50,000. This $50,000 is only applicable to their mortgage.

There are many guidelines for eligibility for this program. The applicant must be receiving a combined household income of less then $75,000.00. The loss of income must be a result of involuntary unemployment, underemployment or a serious medical issue. The applicant must be at least three months delinquent on mortgage payments. Proof from the mortgage company will need to be provided such as a Notice of Intent to Foreclose. The applicant must show likelihood that they will be able to take over the payments within 2 years. The applicants property must be a single family primary residence.

To find out if you are potentially eligible for an EHLP loan, fill out the short quiz on the HUD website. You can go to relevant HUD form by clicking here. For more details on what expenses are eligible for EHLP loan assistance see the Housing and Urban Development website, which can be found at http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD. In order to qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy your debts must fall within federal guidelines. As of April 1, 2011 your secured debt cannot exceed $1,081,400 and your unsecured debt cannot exceed $360,475. Secured debt consists of those debts that are secured by collateral. Automobile loans and home loans are both good examples of secured debt. Alternately, examples of unsecured debt include credit card debt and student loan debt.

Please note that the application deadline for the EHLP has expired. Please refer to HUD’s website for information regarding other available programs.

If you are interested in the Emergency Homeowners Loan Program or if you have any related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

What is a mortgage modification?

A Loan Modification is a temporary or permanent change in one or more of the terms of your loan agreement. Most typically, a modification restructures your loan to provide borrowers with more manageable terms. It is important to note that borrowers do not have an absolute right to a modification, and therefore the bank has no contractual or legal obligation to provide a borrower with a modification.

A modification of a mortgage typically includes one or more of the following components:
A change in the loan’s term, often resulting in a longer term than was the case prior to the note’s modification;
The waiver or capitalizing of the fees, charges and penalties associated with the loan’s delinquency or otherwise;
The reduction or forgiveness of principal associated with the note;
A change in the interest rate associated with the note, such as the lowering of the applicable interest rate or the conversion of a interest rate from an adjustable to a fixed interest rate; and/or
A trial period, typical three months in length, to demonstrate the borrower’s ability to make payment on a permanent modification.

There are many types of modifications, the availability of which varies significantly depending upon the entities or persons that have invested in the note, the extent to which the borrower is delinquent, and the borrower’s overall financial situation. The Federal Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”), the most commonly referred to modification program was created in connection with the United States federal government’s Making Home Affordable Program. HAMP has become the gold standard modification program and has served as a template for many modification programs that are not formerly associated with HAMP.However, not all investors participate in HAMP, and even within HAMP there is variation regarding the criteria and retention options available. For example, FHA loans have a separate and more stringent review process for their own version of HAMP known as FHA-HAMP. There is also a HAMP 2.0 program which relaxes some of the more stringent requirements of HAMP including the requirement the applicant reside in the property.

Aside from HAMP, many loan servicers have created proprietary or in-house modification programs that often incorporate elements of the HAMP program itself. The process of applying for a mortgage modification can be frustrating and confusing. If you are facing foreclosure and are interested in resolving your financial and legal problems by obtaining a modification it may be in your interest to obtain professional counsel.

If you have questions related to mortgage modifications call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

What’s a short sale? What are the benefits and drawbacks?

A short sale is a sale of your property where the sale proceeds fall short of the balance owed on the property’s loan. In some ways this is advantageous to both parties as it prevents the Sheriff’s Sale from happening. However, it does not necessarily protect you from the deficiency and there also could be negative tax implications and other fees. Most significantly borrowers are no longer afforded the tax protections of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, which has not been extended to 2014. Before deciding to pursue this route please contact our office to discuss the risks and/or advantages of this course of action.

If you are interested in pursuing a short sale transaction or if you have any related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

What is the New Jersey Judiciary’s Foreclosure Mediation Program?

The New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation is a Court ordered program in the state of New Jersey. In order to be eligible for the free mediation program, homeowners cannot currently be in bankruptcy, the property in foreclosure must be the homeowner’s primary residence, and the property in question must be a one to three-family residence. The program benefits distressed homeowners by providing them the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with the lender’s attorney and a neutral third party mediator to discuss their options. Communication is always an issue when dealing with banks and this is an important opportunity for a borrower to speak directly with their servicer and their lawyer about their prospects of reaching resolution. Our firm, Friscia & Associates, will submit your entire mediation packet to the court, and will represent you at the mediation. Our NJ foreclosure defense attorneys can guide those facing foreclosure through the complexities of the foreclosure process.

If you have questions regarding the New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation Program or if you have any other related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.

How does the foreclosure process work in New Jersey?

While a foreclosure action is extremely important and deserves your immediate attention, it is critical to understand that the foreclosure process in New Jersey is long and complicated. Indeed the foreclosure process includes a number of steps between the time you receive a Notice of Intent to Foreclose and the day that your house is sold in a Sheriff’s Sale, which is possible to prevent in certain circumstances if the appropriate steps are taken.

The first step in the foreclosure process involves your receipt of a Notice of Intent to Foreclose. In New Jersey thirty days or more following your receipt of the Notice of Intent to Foreclosure your servicer can file and subsequently serve you with a Summons and a foreclosure Complaint. You have thirty-five days, following the date you were served, to respond to your Complaint. Your Answer to the foreclosure Complaint should be filed with the Office of Foreclosure, which is located in Trenton, New Jersey.

Subsequently, the Office of Foreclosure makes a determination as to whether the Answer is deemed a contesting answer or non-contesting answer. If it is contesting, the case will be assigned to a Judge in the county in which the property is located. Once it is assigned, the Judge will schedule a case management conference to assign discovery and trial dates. Typically, the bank will likely file for Summary Judgment in an attempt to have the case sent back to Trenton and treated as uncontested. If your case survives a Motion for Summary Judgment, the action will then proceed to a trial which will ultimately determine the outcome of the matter. NJ foreclosure defense attorneys can guide those facing foreclosure through the complexities of the foreclosure process.

It is important to note that the foreclosure litigation process is related to but distinct from the modification/home retention process. The Office of Foreclosure and the Chancery Courts are focused on the procedure and rules related to lender’s pursuit of a foreclosure, while the modification application process involves the submission of documents to the lender or the lender’s firm for the review of home retention options. Our firm assists borrowers in navigating both of these realms of the foreclosure.

If you are in foreclosure or at risk of ending up in foreclosure or if you have any related questions call us today at (973) 500-8024 or (212) 960-8308, or submit your contact information below and we can contact you directly.