Friday, October 23, 2009

Wrongful Foreclosure Class Action Lawsuits

Our firm is currently examining potential claims for certain unfair business practices involved when home lenders or servicing companies foreclose and sell a house while they were telling the homeowners they were going to work with them to save their homes.

Countrywide already settled with the California Attorney General for almost $30 million for some of its lending practices and wrongful foreclosures. Unless the homeowner takes the settlement money offered to them and signs the release of claims, they can still pursue their own independent lawsuit. Most homeowners do not have the funds to spend thousands of dollars and the next year of their time suing a lender.

Our firm is in the process of analyzing claims in a class action lawsuit against some of the major lenders for their wrongful business practices. If the cases are strong enough, we will be taking these cases on a contingency basis, which means at no initial cost to the homeowner. We only get paid based upon a percentage of whatever we either win at trial or obtain in a settlement.

Shortly, we will be announcing an online portal where homeowners can submit their story to see if they may be eligible to be included in the class action lawsuit.

Chris Barsness, Esq.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New California Loan Modification Law

The governor took action over the weekend on two pending bills regarding loan modification. AB 764 was a tough measure with various restrictions, but it was vetoed. SB 94 was signed into law October 11th and is effective immediately as urgency legislation.

SB 94 essentially prohibits anyone (including an attorney or real estate agent) from collecting any fees to perform a loan modification or forbearance until the service has been completed. It also prohibits obtaining any security to assure payment and obtaining a power of attorney. Even if the person assisting you with a loan modification is willing to wait to get paid until the service is done, without a power of attorney, the homeowner will have to do all the work with the lender themselves. Attorneys often take deposits called retainers up front, but do not bill the client until the work is performed. This assures that the bills will get paid; however, the broad language in this bill implies that attorneys cannot collect a retainer to secure payment.

AB 764 was much tougher and required payment be collected only after the modification was successful, so even if the work was done, if it didn't go through, one couldn't collect.

Without a power of attorney or deposit to assure payment, our firm will no longer be taking new cases for loan modifications. We will provide related legal services for foreclosure relief, bankruptcy, wrongful foreclosure, and can provide a consultation to help homeowners pursue a modification on their own. This consultation comes with a copy of our self-written how to guide for performing your own modification.

Unfortunately, the law intended to protect consumers went too far in making it nearly impossible for a homeowner to get even legal assistance in the process.

Chris Barsness, Esq.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Were you scammed into a loan modification?

A large number of homeowners that have either tried on their own or hired companies or attorneys to try to get their home mortgage loan modified have been or will be rejected due to the amount of other debt they have. Some of these companies or law firms may have let greed cloud the judgment of what is in the homeowner's best interest.

If the homeowner has a large amount of credit card or other debt, many lenders will reject them for this reason. These are essentially being looked at like a refinance, if you don't have regular income or have large other bills, they will not approve you. They don't really care that it is your home or that you want to keep it, it is a matter of probability that you can make the payment if they work with you.

This is not to say that you should not try to get a modification, but realize that the number of actual modifications or trial plans in existence reported to the government is very low, so lenders are not just giving them away as some would make you believe.

In many cases, these homeowners would have been better off pursuing a bankruptcy from the beginning. It is still possible to save your home in a bankruptcy and due to the current economic climate, bankruptcy is not as much of a stigma as it has been in the past.

I have been approached by numerous potential clients after they paid and hired a law firm to try to modify their loan. Looking at their financial circumstances, it is clear from the start that they were never going to be qualified for a modification. In these cases, there are other options that should be considered, including a short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or bankruptcy, that may be a better option and in the best interest of the client. Unfortunately, many of these companies or law firms may have simply been motivated by greed, not what is in the best interest of the client. In fact, the majority of people I speak with who hired a law firm never even talked to an attorney, ever!

All of our cases have always been reviewed by an attorney to determine what is in the best interest of the client. In some cases, even people who might qualify for a modification are still denied by the lenders. A homeowner needs to assess all possible options and not assume that a lender is on their side to keep them in their home.

A bankruptcy can be a fresh start to help people get back on their feet and, although every case can vary, it is possible to keep your home in a bankruptcy.

Although some of these companies may have shut down and disappeared with your money, it may be worth investigating to see if they really provided the service you paid them for, in which case you may be able to sue to get your money back or for other damages.

Chris Barsness, Esq.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Loan Modification Do It Yourself Book Now $99

In an effort to help homeowners in financial crisis, we have decided to discount our e-book on foreclosure relief and how to do your own loan modification to just $99.

It is written by a real estate attorney who has been doing loan modifications in California throughout the foreclosure crisis, but can apply to any homeowner throughout the United States.

This book was written to provide homeowners with some basic concepts surrounding mortgages, foreclosure, loan modification, and alternatives to foreclosure. It provides the tools necessary for homeowners to do their own loan modification. Despite some companies proclaiming they have a 99% success rate in loan modifications or saving your home, I can tell you that from my experience, there is no secret sauce that guarantees any specific result. You simply need to have the right information to provide to the lender to in the way they want to see it.

Here in California, many of the companies, law firm, or real estate licensees that were making all kinds of promises or guarantees of success are now out of business with some being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, the State Bar, Attorney General, and FBI. With the passage of recent legislation in California, it has made it virtually impossible for our firm to assist homeowners in the process of loan modifications; therefore, I have written this guide to give you some insight into how the process works and how you can do it yourself.

Our firm will continue handling real estate and bankruptcy matters and also offer a consultation with a real estate attorney to go over your legal options, review your financial situation, and to come up with a strategy to accomplish the best foreclosure relief option. It includes a copy of the do it yourself kit and is for a flat fee of $500.

To order, you can order from