Archive for September, 2009

Can’t Afford Your Mortgage? Short Sales vs. Foreclosure

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

With an increase in interest rates for adjustable-rate mortgages and the change in principle for interest-only loans, home values are collapsing, making it more difficult for homeowners to afford their mortgage payments.

When unexpected situations such as job loss, death in the family, health emergencies and other unmanageable expenses occur, homeowners often feel forced to “walk away” from their homes. When refinancing is no longer an option, saving their home depends on a short sale or foreclosure. But which is the better option?

A short sale occurs when loans against a property are greater than what the property can be sold for. A lender agrees to take less than the full loan payoff in return for the property. Short sales are typically set up to avoid foreclosures and are often preferred by lenders, since the current owner helps find the next owner. Foreclosed properties may not sell at auction, which would mean lenders would need to maintain, list and sell the property themselves.

A foreclosure begins when the homeowner defaults on mortgage payments. It is an action taken by a bank or lender to repossess a homeowner’s property, which terminates all the rights of the homeowner. After a foreclosure, the real estate becomes the property of the original lending institution.

Short sales carry less negative effects on a homeowner’s credit than foreclosures and are seen as less risky. Short sales affect a homeowner’s credit report by 80 to 100 points, whereas a foreclosure typically drops a credit score by 200 to 300 points.

After a short sale, it takes homeowners about 2 years before they can qualify for a standard loan on another property, whereas after a foreclosure, a homeowner needs to wait about 5 years before they can qualify for a standard loan on another property.

In a short sale situation, the homeowner remains on the title of the property as the official property owners that are trying to sell the property. In a foreclosure, the homeowner takes no part in the sale, since the lender takes complete possession of the property.

One important note: When short selling, have an attorney reviews or to manage process, so all your home-related debts are included in the short sale if possible. Tell your attorney about lines of credit, second mortgage and liens.

A real property attorney can help determine the status of your mortgage and help you decide if a foreclosure or short sale is best for your situation. If you are facing financial difficulties and can no longer afford to pay your mortgage, contact Attorney Search Network. We can help you find a real estate attorney in your area that can advise you and assist you on a foreclosure or short sale.

Overtime Violations

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Overtime Violations

Overtime Violations

Employer violations of overtime laws are becoming more and more common. Many employers either intentionally or mistakenly misclassify their employees to avoid paying their overtime wages. This leaves hundreds of millions of dollars in overtime compensation not paid to employees for their work performed.

Unfair labor practice claims often go beyond just one employee; these practices typically occur company-wide. It can be difficult and sometimes frustrating to recover wages from an employer since in most cases. But the fact is that employers are held accountable for unpaid wages and an attorney can help resolve unfair labor practices.

If you are unsure about being fully compensated for your overtime work, follow these guidelines:

  • You worked overtime but your timesheet was changed to reflect no overtime
  • You are asked to work “off the clock”
  • You are automatically clocked out for breaks and lunch, regardless of whether you take them or not.
  • Your manager or supervisor did not approve your overtime hours, therefore it was denied
  • You are not paid time and a half, but only paid your hourly wage for overtime
  • You are asked to carry over the overtime hours to the following week
  • You are denied breaks or meal time even though it’s in your right to take them

It is also important to keep in mind that you are entitled to receive overtime if:

  • Your employer asks you to arrive early or stay after your work hours to begin working on some things
  • Your employer asks you to continue working throughout your lunch break to meet a deadline, etc.
  • Your employer has knowledge and gave permission for you to take work home
  • You are “on call” and ready to report to work when you are at home
  • You work overtime on a Friday and are told that you can leave work early within the next week
  • You need to stay overnight or travel extensively for company business

Attorneys know how hard you work and how you deserve to get compensated for any overtime hours you work. They dedicate themselves to making sure you get paid for the hours you’ve put in. Attorneys who have experience with wage and hour violations look into what type of job was involved, how many hours you worked and how much you were paid for doing that work. Employment lawyers can help you find out what your options are for getting fair compensation. They can also represent you in settlement negotiations and litigate disputes.

If you have been denied overtime pay, breaks, or have been unjustly classified as exempt, contact Attorney Search Network to speak to an experienced employment attorney today.

Are you a Victim of Mortgage Loan Fraud?

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Victim of Mortgage Loan Fraud

Victim of Mortgage Loan Fraud

With the increasing national plunge in the housing market, there was growing concern that more inexperienced consumers who were first-time homebuyers or seniors, fell victim to mortgage loan fraud, also known as “predatory mortgage lending“. Mortgage loan fraud occurs when a real estate broker, lender, bank, mortgage broker or appraiser deceives a consumer into signing a loan, for the purpose of making more profit.

Buying a home is one of the most important and complex decisions a consumer can make. Most lenders, banks, brokers and other real estate professionals genuinely help consumers get the best loan rates possible. Before looking into mortgage loans, do your own homework, since relying on professionals for their expertise may not always work to your advantage. There may be factors you are unaware of, which lenders may victimize you on.

Examples of mortgage loan fraud include:

  • Encouraging applicants to lie about their personal information, such as income, expenses, or cash for down payment on their application, which results in lending more money than the borrower can realistically afford to repay.
  • Charging extra fees for products and services that do not exist, through hidden clauses in the contracts.
  • Brokers using false appraisals or over-appraising to sell properties for more than they are worth.
  • No Good Faith Estimates, special information booklets, or Truth in Lending statements.
  • Pressuring borrowers to go for higher-risk loans such as balloon loans and interest-only payments, and those with steep pre-payment penalties.
  • Asking borrowers to leave contract signature lines blank.

Predatory mortgage lending is illegal and it can cause financial distress to a borrower, often ending in foreclosure, bankruptcy and severe damage to a borrower’s credit rating. To avoid being victimized by predatory lending, here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Do your own research before applying for a home loan. Learn about the different types of loans (traditional, adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), etc.) think about how much down payment you have and how long you wish to have the loan for.
  • Shop around for a lender and compare costs.
  • Remember that if a deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Stay clear from lenders that promise “cash back at closing” or other programs.
  • When you apply for the mortgage loan, be sure that your lender does not force you to make a false statement on your loan application. Overstating your income, amount of down payment, how much you owe in debts, or employment history can result in criminal penalties.
  • Request a Good Faith Estimate, so you can have a record of all the costs, rates, points and fees charged by the lender.
  • Read everything and ask questions!

Don’t fall victim to mortgage loan fraud because it could jeopardize your financial future. If you believe you or someone you know has been victimized by mortgage loan fraud or predatory lending, contact Attorney Search Network today. An experienced real estate lawyer can discuss your claim with you, and make sure your rights are protected. A lawyer can also advise you on which course of legal action to take.