Northwestbankruptcyattorneys Blog Year End Review

Fireworks

The year 2015 is almost ready for the history books.  Before we look ahead into what 2016 brings it makes sense to look back to get a greater sense of where we need to be headed.

This year I posted on a variety of bankruptcy issues, mostly general in nature to give my clients and anyone contemplating bankruptcy some issues to think about.

This year started out with looking at how loan modifications can still be pursued by debtors in chapter 13 bankruptcies. (They can be obtained and can be a great way to deal with a home that you had almost lost.)  I then looked at what happens to your car when you file a bankruptcy. (You have lots of options.)  Since so many of my clients are worried about how their credit scores will be impacted by the filing of a bankruptcy, we did a post on bankruptcy and your credit score. (The impact is not nearly as bad as people think.)  I then put together a post looking at some of the do’s and dont’s of filing a bankruptcy.  If you are contemplating a bankruptcy, please read or reread this post.  The award for the biggest northwestbankruptcyattorneys blog post goes to The History of Student Loans in Bankruptcy.  I did a ton of research for this post and am pretty happy with how it came out.  If you are at all interested in the topic, please give it a read.  The changes that have taken place over the course of 60 years are astonishing and terrible.  They remind me of the proverb, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  From there, I tried to give potential filers some ideas of how they can find a good bankruptcy attorney in 5 Tips for Finding a Good Bankruptcy Attorney.  We then looked back at the topic of homes and bankruptcy in the Halloween Special Zombie Homes Attack.  (You do have options if you have a house that is stuck in your name after bankruptcy.)   The award for biggest rant post of the year goes to Credit Unions: The Devil is in the Details.  In that post we looked at the hidden dangers of using a credit union for a car loan and also having credit cards or bank accounts with those same credit unions.  Lastly, the Christmas Special this year was The Christmas before Bankruptcy.  In that post we looked at some of the hidden dangers of gift giving and receiving before filing a case.

In the coming year, look out for more posts on student loans and ways to deal with your small part of this national crisis.  Another post on zombie homes and getting rid of them through the bankruptcy process.  A more detailed look at what you can do to rebuild your credit.  A post on attempting to avoid bankruptcy.  There will be others as well as the inspiration strikes.  We are also open to writing on topics that people request, so if you have a topic you would like to see an article written on, please suggest it below.

Happy New Year from all of us at northwestbankruptcyattorneys.com and the Curtis and Casteel Law Group.

Steven M. Palmer, Esq.
Licensed in WA and OH
http://www.curtislaw-pllc.com
http://www.northwestbankruptcyattorneys.com

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Halloween Special: Zombie Homes Attack!

https://pixabay.com/en/zombies-undead-monster-horror-598393/
https://pixabay.com/en/zombies-undead-monster-horror-598393/

With the housing bubble bursting a few years ago, many homeowners were left underwater on their homes.  Some people were so far under that they strategically defaulted on their mortgages and walked away from their homes.  Some filed bankruptcy and “surrendered” their homes only to find out that did not mean they were off the hook.  For others still, their lenders or servicers had commenced foreclosure, obtained a judgment and never executed on that judgment.  Meaning they never sold the homes at Sheriff’s sale or trustee sale.  Whatever happened, thousands of people are stuck with homes that no one wants.  When this happens they find that they are still responsible for housing code violations, condo or homeowners association fees, property taxes until the house transfers, and are liable if anyone gets injured on their unwanted properties.

What to do?  These unsuspecting homeowners have some options.  The first step may be to attempt to get homeowners insurance to protect yourself from liability. You should then contact that mortgage company that doesn’t seem at all interested in the property.  You want to ask them for an application to do a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.  This would basically allow you to transfer the property over to the mortgage company.  You may also be able to short sell the home.  To do this you use the same application with the bank.  Yet another option is to ask the mortgage company if a short payoff is an option.  With a short payoff, you offer the mortgage company a fraction of what is owed on the home and they release their lien meaning that you would own it free an clear.  I have seen short payoffs for 4% of the amount owed on the loan.  If the mortgage company isn’t interested in any of these options, they may be interested in you transferring the property over to a land bank if there is one active in your county.

What if the mortgage company isn’t interested in any of these seemingly rational options?  An option that has recently come to light is attempting to vest the property in the mortgage company’s name through a bankruptcy.  This option is pretty new and will not work in all jurisdictions.  Look around for an attorney who is willing to attempt this.  They are out there.  You can also contact the CFPB and file a complaint.  http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ If the lender is headquartered in your state, you can also contact an analogous state agency and file a complaint there, or with the state attorney general.  Of course all of this can be daunting.  If you want help, there are attorneys who specialize in this sort of thing.  They will usually help you out upon payment of a retainer fee with an hourly fee agreement.

Now, what do you do in the meantime?  If you moved out of your house and it is unoccupied, you may want to consider moving back into it until it is actually sold.  Before you do this, contact an attorney to make sure you are following all applicable laws.

Best of Luck and Happy Halloween!

Steven M. Palmer
Licensed in WA and OH
http://www.curtislaw-pllc.com
http://www.northwestbankruptcyattorneys.com