Archive for March 10th, 2011

Preparing for the Next Wave of Foreclosures


The rate of foreclosure filings in Florida has been quite low the past few months – lower than it’s been in years.  But I’m certain this is just a temporary blip in the radar.  Banks and their lawyers have been regrouping, changing their procedures, policies, and systems in the wake of the robo-signing scandal.  In other words, a new wave of foreclosures is coming. 

This may sound like speculation, but Stopa Law Firm has seen the implementation of these changes in recent weeks:

1.  Some law firms are filing “reverified affidavits,” trying to fix the flawed nature of the affidavits that gave rise to the “robo-signer” controversy.

2.  Many banks have been forced to retain new attorneys, particularly since so many files were being handled by David Stern, who is now out of business.  Several new foreclosure mills have emerged in his place, and I can see these firms getting up to speed on the foreclosure process with each passing day. 

Hence, although the foreclosure filings are down, this is no time to relax!  If you’re facing foreclosure and have yet to retain counsel, make sure you do so now, before your foreclosure lawsuit spirals out of control (which can happen quickly once the bank’s lawyers start pushing the case).  And if you’ve just been sued or realize a lawsuit is coming, remember some basic facts:

1.  You don’t have to leave your home unless and until the bank wins a foreclosure lawsuit against you.

2.  An experienced foreclosure defense attorney may uncover defenses to foreclosure, even if you haven’t paid your mortgage for many months, helping to stave off foreclosure and stay in your home.  

3.  Loan modifications generally don’t work.  Temporary loan modifications typically accomplish nothing, as the foreclosure lawsuit often moves full speed ahead regardless of the status of your temporary modification.  Banks are notorious for trying to lying to homeowners about this, but don’t be duped – you must defend your foreclosure case, even if a modification is presented, underway, or being evaluated. 

4.  If you try to defend the case on your own, you may be waiving defenses that an experienced foreclosure defense attorney could have asserted on your behalf.  I have a lot of experience with this issue, so let me assure you – almost invariably, the sooner I get into a file, the more I can help the homeowner.  When is the best time to retain a lawyer?  As soon as you’re sued!  Or if you know a suit is coming (which it will if you’re behind on your payments), you might as well get us on board beforehand – that will ensure we’re ready and help ease your mind. 

Here’s an article about the coming wave of foreclosures in Florida…

MIAMI (CBS4) – A new report on foreclosures in the state may have you thinking we’ve turned the corner on our troubled real estate market, but ‘all that glitters is not gold’.  According to the online tracker of foreclosed properties,, Florida foreclosures have slowed to their lowest levels in about four years. But a hard look at the numbers show the latest figures don’t tell the whole story and the number of foreclosures could very well increase in the coming months.

Last month, 18,760 homes and condos in Florida were in some stage of the foreclosure process, the second highest amount in the country. But looking at the big picture that number is down 65 percent from last year, and 71 percent from 2009.  RealtyTrac officials said the number of foreclosures across the country are slowing because of charges that some of the biggest banks and processors used faulty paperwork in their proceedings. In Florida, the foreclosure rate has slowed enough to knock the state out of the Top 5 Worst in the country for families to lose their homes. 

Once the formal investigations into the way banks and processors handle the foreclosure paperwork end, most real estate forecasters predict a second wave of mass foreclosures – and it could be a big one.

Mark Stopa

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