Archive for the ‘ASN Newsletters 2009’ Category

Short Sale Basics

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Short Sale BasicsThere are situations in which properties are in foreclosure with negative equity, where the seller owes more than the property is worth. Under these circumstances, lenders may be willing to accept less than the full amount due. This known as a “short sale.”

For homeowners, this means that if there’s no way to make mortgage payments on time and if the home is worth less than what is owed, a foreclosure doesn’t have to be the only way out. Short sale means selling a house for less than what is owed on the mortgage, given that the lender agrees to it. The rest of the debt is usually forgiven since it outweighs the negative and time consuming effects of foreclosure proceedings.

Short sales are known to be a win-win situation for all parties involved, including the seller, buyer and lender.  The seller doesn’t have to face bankruptcy or foreclosure and is no longer liable for the mortgage. The buyer purchases a home at the market rate. The lender also benefits because the losses are minimal compared to being stuck with property after foreclosure.

If not properly addressed in advance, a short sale transaction can have legal consequences and even lead to loss of investment. Since reductions are taxable, you must complete the short sale correctly, so that the loan balance forgiven is not counted as income on your taxes. It is important to negotiate terms and conditions so that the short sale transaction will not have serious consequences for the homeowner and buyer. That’s just one of the reasons why short sale should be carefully considered and terms should be outlined before-hand.

Seeking the advice of a qualified short sale attorney is advised. An attorney can assist in reviewing the terms and conditions, negotiating disputes and completing a short sale for homeowners and buyers. An attorney is a good resource to have for minimizing risks of potential problems.

If you are considering or are in the process of a short sale and need the assistance of a short sale attorney, call Attorney Search Network. Attorney Search Network can help you locate a short sale attorney in your area with experience in short sales.

5 Questions to Ask About Loan Modification

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

5 Questions to Ask About Loan ModificationDistressed homeowners often find loan modification frustrating and confusing. If you are considering a loan modification, getting as much information as possible before you contact your lender can help you prepare your case and get you the results you need. To help you get through the loan modification process, here are the top 5 questions you can ask your lender:

  1. How can loan modification help me avoid foreclosure? Your lender should explain that loan modification can help you find a solution to making your loan current and halt the foreclosure process at the same time.
  2. Do I qualify for loan modification? Your lender should assess if you will be able to afford the modified payment in the long-run, by looking at your income and expenses. Other factors considered are the number of payments missed, if bankruptcy was filed or if you are facing a financial hardship.
  3. What are the criteria for a financial hardship? Financial hardships are circumstances that cause you fall behind on your mortgage payments.  This could include sudden illness, divorce, loss of job/income, death of a family member, military service and other compelling reasons that can cause financial strain.
  4. What steps do I need to take to start loan modification? Contacting a loan modification attorney can get you one step closer to lower mortgage payments. A loan modification attorney can review your case, deal directly with your lender and help you prepare your application so that it gets processed in a timely manner.
  5. Should I hire a loan modification attorney? A loan modification attorney can get you the best loan modification and the results you want from your lender. Attorneys use legal information to strengthen your case and can help stop the foreclosure proceedings so that you can focus on saving your home.

Depending on your current situation and your lender, the loan modification process can vary. Speak to a loan modification attorney today to find out if loan modification is right for your case, if you qualify for any programs and what long-term benefits it has to offer.

Are you Driving a “Lemon”?

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Are you Driving a "Lemon"?

Plenty of new cars were purchased this year with tax incentives and the ‘cash for clunkers’ program. Unfortunately, not every new car works like it should. There are cars that were damaged in the design or production process that result in problems for their new owners.

If you purchased a new car, it is under manufacturer’s warranty. If you have had to service the car multiple times for the same major issue, you may be driving a “lemon” and you may be protected under lemon law.

Lemon law refers to a proclamation under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act created to protect consumers from defects in automobiles. Lemon law can be enforced on any kind of vehicle like a car, truck, van, SUV, motorcycle, boat, etc. If any of these vehicles are found to be defective, a consumer is entitled for either money back, replacement or a cash settlement. To qualify under state lemon laws, the defect must be substantial and must occur within a certain time or mileage period, usually 12,000 miles or one year.

Lemon law also applies to vehicles which have been resold but are still under warranty and meet the mileage and time criteria. Motor vehicle dealers are required to inform you of your rights under the lemon law in your specific state. They also need to disclose whether the vehicle you intend to purchase has ever been returned under lemon law’s “Lemon Buy Back.”

A lemon law attorney can help you send a written notice to the manufacturer describing the nature of the problem. If your written notice is ignored, a lemon law attorney can help you file a lawsuit and reach a settlement that compensates you for your purchase.

If you’re driving a lemon, it is important to seek legal aid from a lemon law attorney. Attorney Search Network can find you a lemon law attorney in your area with years of experience dealing with lemon law cases.

Negotiate your Debts Today!

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Negotiate your Debts Today!

Facing financial problems is not uncommon. Declaring bankruptcy, however, comes with long-term consequences that may be not worth it. Most debtors seek debt negotiation services to help them move forward.

Are you stuck in a debt situation? A good way to fix it may be to negotiate lower interest rates, interest freezes, principle reductions or settle with debt negotiation. Debt negotiation, also called debt arbitration, is the process of negotiating with a creditor to pay off your bills by reducing a portion of the balance that is owed on your unsecured debts.

Debt negotiation can get you a lower payoff of your debt. You can get reasonable settlements and by maintaining good spending habits, you can be on your way to financial solvency.

You may need debt negotiation if you have:

  • Credit card payments that are 60 days past due
  • More than 2 credit cards with payments 30 days past due
  • Installment loan payments that are 60 days past due
  • More than 2 installment loan with payments 30 days past due
  • Housing payments such as rent or mortgage that are 30 days past due

Credit cards, department store credit cards, unsecured personal loans, rent, utility bills and auto repossessions are all eligible for debt negotiation programs. Exclusion are car payments, pay day accounts, military accounts, credit unions, mortgages, student loans, secured loans and income tax payments.

For help with getting out of debt through debt negotiation, speak with an experienced debt negotiation attorney. Attorney Search Network can recommend you to a law firm that can help with your debt negotiation needs.

Are you driving a “lemon”?

Sunday, November 1st, 2009
Are you driving a lemon?

Are you driving a "lemon"?

Plenty of new cars were purchased this year with tax incentives and the ‘cash for clunkers’ program. Unfortunately, not every new car works like it should. There are cars that were damaged in the design or production process that result in problems for their new owners.

If you purchased a new car, it is under manufacturer’s warranty. If you have had to service the car multiple times for the same major issue, you may be driving a “lemon” and you may be protected under lemon law.

Lemon law refers to a proclamation under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act created to protect consumers from defects in automobiles. Lemon law can be enforced on any kind of vehicle like a car, truck, van, SUV, motorcycle, boat, etc. If any of these vehicles are found to be defective, a consumer is entitled for either money back, replacement or a cash settlement.

To qualify under state lemon laws, the defect must be substantial and must occur within a certain time or mileage period, usually 12,000 miles or one year.

Lemon law also applies to vehicles which have been resold but are still under warranty and meet the mileage and time criteria. Motor vehicle dealers are required to inform you of your rights under the lemon law in your specific state. They also need to disclose whether the vehicle you intend to purchase has ever been returned under lemon law’s “Lemon Buy Back.”

A lemon law attorney can help you send a written notice to the manufacturer describing the nature of the problem. If your written notice is ignored, a lemon law attorney can help you file a lawsuit and reach a settlement that compensates you for your purchase.

The Value of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
The Value of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

The Value of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

There is nothing like having a professional on your side, especially when it comes to protecting your rights. An attorney can make a big difference in how your legal matter turns out. Whether you are being accused of a crime, need to update a will, plan to purchase real estate or get involved in an accident resulting in serious personal injuries, an attorney can help protect your best interests.

When you have been injured, you can count on an attorney to be with you each step of the way. An attorney can make sure you receive maximum compensation by helping you understand what you are entitled to and helping you avoid the pitfalls that can significantly affect your claim.

Hiring an attorney can help you avoid the frustration of filling out forms, filing documents and worrying about getting the right type of paperwork to the right person. An attorney can make sure you don’t miss deadlines that are critical to your claim and knows exactly which documents are needed, so you don’t have to worry.

Having an attorney to represent you can also make a difference with your insurance company. Sometimes, insurance companies may try to pay as little as possible just to settle a claim, even if it means trying to prove that you were partially at fault for the incident. An attorney with experience in personal injury cases typically knows how to handle insurance companies and knows what it takes to get a fair settlement.

An attorney can make an impact in your case. They can explain why you deserve more money than what the insurance companies thinks it’s worth. An attorney can get help you get the compensation you need for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, loss of future wages, long-term care, etc.

If you need a personal injury attorney that can put you mind at ease and save you worry, contact Attorney Search Network. We can help you find a personal injury attorney that can help maximize your compensation.

Considering Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Considering Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Considering Uninsured Motorist Insurance

In California, if you own and drive a car, you are required to have car insurance. Unfortunately, approximately one out of three drivers in California today does not. The reasons why they don’t have insurance vary, but it typically comes down to not being able to afford it. No matter what the reasons are, getting involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist can end up being a huge hassle and a major financial loss.

As a driver, especially in California, it is wise to carry uninsured motorist insurance in case you get into an accident with an uninsured motorist. Without uninsured motorist insurance, if you are in an accident and the person at fault is uninsured, your only recourse to pay for your vehicle damage and personal injuries is to file a civil law suit against the driver. In most cases, drivers are uninsured for financial hardship reasons.

This means that even a successful civil lawsuit will not help the victim because the at-fault driver does not have to ability to pay for the vehicle damage and personal injury. Uninsured motorists are usually unemployed or hold low-paying jobs, pay rent for an apartment, do not have assets and do not have enough money in their bank account.

That is why it is difficult to seek retribution for an uninsured motorist – their assets are not enough to warrant litigation. Having uninsured motorist insurance coverage can help you recover damages, especially if you have serious personal injuries. It can also help you recover lost wages, pain, suffering a permanent injury, disfigurement, damages resulting from the accident and loss of future earning capacity. Without insurance protection, those expenses would come out of your own pocket.

Uninsured motorist insurance applies to you and your passengers, and it also covers the other drivers named in your policy. However, no matter what the case is, if you find yourself involved in an accident with an uninsured individual, seeking help from an experienced lawyer can work to your advantage.

If you make a claim against your own insurance company, you may need a lawyer to represent you because it does not necessarily mean that your insurance company will pay for the damages without hesitation. Your insurance company may try to pay as little as possible, just to settle the claim, even if it means trying to prove that you were partially at fault for the accident. An uninsured motorist lawyer can represent you and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to help you get maximum recovery.

Uninsured motorist laws can be complicated because they deal with insurance companies that try to belittle or deny your claim. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide you with the help you need to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Attorney Search Network can help you find an uninsured motorist insurance lawyer today.

Get the Right Lawyer with the Right Experience

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Get the Right Lawyer with the Right Experience

Get the Right Lawyer with the Right Experience

Every field has experienced professionals who have a particular skill and focus on only certain types of cases. In the medical field, for example, there are Dermatologists for the skin, Ophthalmologists for the eyes, Pediatricians for children and much more. The same applies to law. There are lawyers that practice bankruptcy, criminal defense, family law, consumer rights, real estate matters and other areas of law.

When you look for representation, it is advised to look for a lawyer that has experience in dealing with the type of case you are involved in. In the event of an accident, hiring an attorney with experience in accident law can give you a better chance of getting you the compensation you need. An accident attorney can speak to insurance companies, doctors and chiropractors to strengthen your claim. In contrast, being involved in a criminal matter, hiring a criminal lawyer is critical because they know how to work the court system, understand bail agents, and are familiar with forensic experts and police procedure.

Hiring a lawyer that has experience in your area of law has its benefits. By finding a lawyer that practices a specific type of law, it may mean more years of experience and more chances of success with your case. A good lawyer is one that has experienced a similar case before, no matter what the case is. They know when to file the case and how to handle other parties involved.

Also keep in mind that lawyers who practice a specific area of law know how much recovery to expect. Often times, clients believe their case is worth less or more than it actually is. Only an experienced lawyer in that particular area of law knows what a good settlement actually is and will work hard to attain it.

Attorney Search Network is a bar certified Lawyer Referral Service that works with lawyers who practice accident law, bankruptcy law, business law, class action law, consumer law, criminal law, drug offense law, elder abuse law, employment law, environment law, family law, general law, immigration law, insurance law, intellectual property law, juvenile law, labor law, landlord-tenant law, liquor law malpractice law, personal injury law, premises liability law, real property law, sex offense law, social security law, tax law, toxic mold law, traffic ticket law, violent crimes law, white collar crimes law, wills and estate planning law and workers compensation law. We can help you find a lawyer in any of these areas of law, so you can protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

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.