Our firm is unique in that we have a separate division,the Homeowner Assistance Division (HAD) that is solely dedicated to the mortgage and real estate crisis. The division combines a team of real estate attorneys with a team of mortgage research and communication staff. This unique group allows HAD to concentrate on both real estate law and lender guidelines and policy. HAD is led by Paul D. Baltrun, an experienced loss mitigation professional with 18 years of mortgage and real estate experience.
Foreclosure Defense for the Palm Beaches
We have a team of west palm beach foreclosure attorneys that understand the complex foreclosure laws and the foreclosure process. Our approach to foreclosure defense can take one of two strategies. We can be reactive, to responding to pleadings in hopes of delaying the foreclosure and allowing a short sale or deed in lieu to occur, or we can be proactive, and obtain a forensic compliance audit of the loan documents in hopes of reducing or in very limited cases, eliminating the debt. No matter your situation or strategy, we are here to help you through the foreclosure process by filing the needed pleadings, attending the required mediation and hearings or bringing appropriate counterclaims. Our goal is to do everything in our power to in save your most valuable possession and slow, or in limited cases, stop the foreclosure proceedings.
Filing Chapter 7 may be an option which will relieve you of your debt and help you get the fresh start you need. There are several important advantages of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In fact, Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy in the United States. An individual or a joint debtor may file under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This process involves the liquidation of assets and the distribution of proceeds from this liquidation to creditors.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers immediate and complete relief of outstanding debts while Chapter 13 merely provides individuals with outstanding debt, a plan to pay back the money that they owe. In this way, Chapter 13 is known more as reorganization than a total liquidation. While the debtor may occasionally be forced into a particular kind of bankruptcy by the creditor, most often they are able to choose which chapter they prefer to file. In certain circumstances, the debtor may be forced into an involuntary bankruptcy by a creditor, but can often convert from 7 to 13 if they wish.
Loan Modification for the Palm Beaches
A Loan Modification creates a permanent change in one or more of the terms of a mortgage loan, allows the mortgage loan to be reinstated, and results in a payment the mortgagor can afford. This is a great tool to reduce monthly payments to make a home more affordable in today’s economic climate. The most common loan amendments include: New interest rate as low as 2%; Past due payments brought current over a period of time and principal balance forbearance.
HAD works hand in hand with HUD approved housing counseling agencies to assist homeowners with loan modifications. By referring this type of business to HUD approved agencies, homeowners receive the benefit of working with licensed and trained modification counselors.
A short sale occurs when the homeowner sells the home to a third party buyer when the homeowner owes more than what the property is worth. We negotiate with the lender to reduce the mortgage balance below its current balance to allow for a sale of the property, and attempt to reduce or eliminate the loan deficiency. This allows a new buyer to purchase the property at fair market value and may or may not allow the seller to walk from any further liability under the loan.
Our short sale negotiators have extensive knowledge of the options available with all major lenders.
Deed in Lieu
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure is when the homeowner transfers their property to the lender in exchange for the waiver of any further liability under the loan. Before a Deed in Lieu may be considered, lenders require that the property be listed for sale with a licensed realtor for a period of at least three months. After the three month period, this may be the quickest and simplest option for a complete waiver of deficiency, but a Deed in Lieu is much harder to get approved than short sales.
New Mortgage Qualification
We can help set up a strategy to qualify for the purchase of a home in the future. A plan is designed to help clients meet all aspects of mortgage qualifications so that ownership is a possibility again. Some criteria that we review are credit rating, downpayment, debt to income levels and real estate market analysis.
We are also able to introduce clients to several alternative financing sources, often referred to as “hard money” lenders. The rates may not be as attractive as government backed loans, but can be very helpful in restoring credit so that a homeowner can qualify for more traditional financing after a few years of consistent payments.
We assist owners to lower their tax valuations. For those clients who feel their taxable values are still too high after their proposed tax bill arrives in mid-August, we offer an affordable tax evaluation service. We do not charge a success fee and stage our fee structure so that clients do not have to invest the full $900 at once or at all.
First, the filing fee to appeal is only $15 and there is plenty of time after the mid-September appeal deadline to investigate the valuation issues. Our staged fee structure is outlined below.
For an initial fee of $100, you will be provided with an opinion of value based on recent comparable sales. Once you review that opinion of value and desire to pursue the appeal of your taxes, for a flat $400 fee, we review that opinion of value with you and attempt to negotiate a pre-hearing settlement with the Property Appraiser’s Office. If we are unable to negotiate an acceptable settlement and still think you have a strong case, or if you disagree with the proposed negotiated settlement, we are available to attend the Value Adjustment Board hearing on your behalf for an additional fee of $400.00.
Debt Assistance Strategies
Credit Card and Unsecured Debt Negotiation
We can help negotiate credit card and other unsecured debt. We will assess your current financial health and draft a strategy to address your unpaid unsecured debts and decide on a settlement plan that works for your income level. If you qualify, we have relationships with “back end” negotiators who, in most instances, are able to obtain very positive results: interest and penalties are waived, part of the principal is reduced and payments are extended to very manageable terms.
Deficiency Judgment Negotiation
In the event a foreclosure and a deficiency judgment is entered against you, the lender has the right to pursue collection efforts against the remainder of your assets.
We can help navigate the enforcement proceedings and/or settle the proceedings on favorable payment terms. In certain circumstances, wages are exempt from creditor attempts of garnishment, and certain assets are exempt from levy.
IRS Tax Negotiation
We can help negotiate a reduced payoff (“Offer and Compromise”) or negotiate an approved payment plan on IRS tax liens.
We can outline a strategy to improve your credit score and teach you how to keep negative marks off for the future. We have a system to improve your credit scores, and our personal touch ensures the program fits your needs and is within your budget.
Paul Baltrun – Director, Homeowner Assistance Division
HAD is managed by Paul D. Baltrun, a visionary in the mortgage crisis. He is an experienced Loss Mitigation professional, Mortgage Correspondent, Mortgage Banking Executive and Senior Business Administrator with over 18 years of experience. Over the past 4 years, Mr. Baltrun has dedicated his profession to our mortgage and real estate crisis. He assists Florida Homeowners through his facilitation and administration of the firm’s agency approval for the Florida Hardest Hit Fund. Mr. Baltrun was a pioneer in the loss mitigation industry as the founder of Community One, Incorporated, a national servicing company for loss mitigation files. Mr. Baltrun has founded and operated Community One Mortgage and First Financial Savings, both correspondent mortgage lending companies. He held the position as Vice President of Operations for a fortune 200 mortgage banking company. Additionally, Mr. Baltrun was chosen by the CEO of American General, a fortune 500 company to be part of a distinguished management group.
Mr. Baltrun holds a BS in marketing from Florida State University, several mortgage accreditation and is a leader in his community. He is asked by various media sources on a regular basis to speak on today’s mortgage problems and solutions.