Florida Foreclosure Crisis

Love the weather but hate the housing market – a familiar refrain for many Floridians as the Florida Foreclosure Crisis has dominated the lives of  homeowners for the past several years.

Florida leads the nation in just about every negative foreclosure category and currently has more than 350,000 active foreclosure cases swamping the courts with a lot more to follow.  Unfortunately the number of foreclosure lawsuits is likely to double and the Florida Foreclosure Crisis worsen by 2014 due to 500,000 seriously delinquent mortgages that are not yet in foreclosure proceedings. Defending Florida Foreclosure Lawsuits.   Incredibly the current number of Florida loans in some stage of the foreclosure process – about 460,000 loans – is more than the total number of mortgages in 22 other states!  Florida Foreclosure Process

Finally, at least one in every four Florida home sale involves a property in foreclosure which means dramatically lower home values exceeding 50% in many counties with no signs of stabilizing anytime soon.  In fact well known housing analyst Jack McCabe, one of the few to predict the housing bust years before it happened, warns that it may take a decade or more for home prices to return to previous highs.

Broward County Foreclosure Help

Palm Beach County Foreclosure Help

Despite the negative outlook overall there’s a few reasons for short term optimism.  One positive sign is that many lenders are increasingly dealing with defaults through Short Sales rather than foreclosure lawsuits in a trend that will hopefully expand.  Recently major lenders Wells Fargo and Chase have actually been offering homeowners thousands of dollars to encourage short sales as banks are finally figuring out that its in their best interests to stabilize the housing market and work with rather than against homeowners to do so.

A second positive development that may help Florida homeowners is an influx of roughly $8 billion dollars in cash for Loan Modifications and other benefits from the Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement.  Although $8 billion dollars barely puts a dent in the $110 billion dollars in underwater Florida mortgages, something is better than nothing and will ultimately lead to more deals with banks and a few less foreclosures.  Is Your Mortgage Underwater?

The combination of funding from the multi-state Settlement and the increased willingness of lenders to push short sales over foreclosures are good signs but won’t fix the long term problem with largely unregulated predatory banks continuing to exploit the financial system.  Blame the Banks – Foreclosure is Not Your Fault

You can read more about the Foreclosure Settlement and why it won’t help in our recent blog and as a result its more important than ever to learn about the Foreclosure Process to take advantage of favorable conditions when and if they happen to give your foreclosure plans the best chance to work for.

Ten Foreclosure Options to Beat the Bank

You can use our Sample Foreclosure Documents to assist in getting your Florida short sale or loan modification approved and we’ve also included Sample Florida Legal Documents to help you defend your own foreclosure lawsuit.  Tips to Get Your Short Sale Approved

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Use SavetheCave.com To Stop Foreclosures

How to use SavetheCave.com to stop foreclosures starts with learning everything you can about the Foreclosure Process.  Once you know what’s actually going on it’s much easier to pick a foreclosure option that works best for you and your family.  Detailed Information on Foreclosure Options

At SavetheCave.com we understand the power of knowledge and as a result have provided extensive materials on a wide range of foreclosure topics to help you survive the foreclosure process.  You’ll learn everything from what to expect and when to tips for living with foreclosure stress and understanding the risks to your physical health and mental well being. The Dangers of Foreclosure Stress

Using the navigation bar at the top of our site you can select a general topic and any of the sub-topics that interest you from the drop-down menu which directs you to a detailed discussion of that topic as well as related links and materials.

Once you’re comfortable with the foreclosure process the next step is deciding which foreclosure option works best for you and then learning how to actually do it.  SavetheCave.com is here to help with this critical stage as well and provides all the information and tools you’ll need to to learn about the Ten Ways to Stop Foreclosure in addition to Unlimited Free Access to all of our Sample Foreclosure Documents and Legal Forms.

  Sample Foreclosure Documents

Our Sample Foreclosure Documents include cover letters to the bank, examples of what to include in your financial hardship letter and sample legal forms to help you get started if you decide to defend your own foreclosure lawsuit. They’re all part of our free membership and commitment to provide you with everything needed to stop foreclosure if at all possible.  Unlike other foreclosure sites there are no costly subscription fees so you can return as often as you like.

Because life goes on during and after foreclosure as well as the importance of maintaining a positive outlook in life, we’ve dedicated a significant portion of our site to topics related to the Dangers of Foreclosure Stress and will continue to provide valuable medical and lifestyle updates to Prevent Foreclosure Stress From Controlling Your Life.

Finally, with our weekly interactive blog we’ll keep you updated on the latest foreclosure trends and news, important legal developments and more ways to Save Your Cave and protect you from foreclosure.  Feel free to comment on any of our posts and share your story with our readers as well as your own tips for surviving the foreclosure crisis.

If you like what you read, tell your friends and relatives about us and let us know what we can do better. Even if you don’t like something, let us know your thoughts and what we can do to improve our site.

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Strange But True Foreclosure Stories

The recent foreclosure crisis has resulted in numerous disclosures of illegal and unethical actions by banks, loan servicing companies and many lawyers representing these companies that would have been hard to believe years ago but now seems to be more the rule than the exception.  Read About the Recent Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement.

As a result of these practices Strange But True Foreclosure Stories continue to pop up.  In the most common example, how would you feel if your bank’s mistake resulted in the loss of your home and then a second bank  sues you after your lost your home??  In an all too common foreclosure story you’d think there was protection from the second foreclosure lawsuit but you may be wrong! Be sure to read our discussion on Who Owns Your Mortgage and Why Care.

In many other cases former owners have been sued more than 15 years after selling their homes and paying off the mortgage.  Elizabeth Bolinger, who currently lives in a retirement home in Port St. Lucie, Florida was shocked and traumatized when she was served with a foreclosure lawsuit for property she sold in 1996.  The bank’s only explanation was that mistakes were made by the law firm handling the case but no apology was forthcoming.  Defending Foreclosure Lawsuits.

In a similar case, Cathy Hammers was abruptly awakened on the Saturday night following Thanksgiving when she was served with a foreclosure lawsuit for a home she sold in 1994.  When Hammers tried to contact the law firm handling the case she was rudely told to hire a lawyer and then disconnected.

Don’t Let Foreclosure Stress Control Your Life

In yet another twist resulting from the broad scope of foreclosure mistakes, one home was sold twice in one week.  Real estate investor Marjorie Oster was driving by the home she had just purchased in a short sale when she saw someone cleaning the pool, a lawn service cutting the grass and a pest company setting up a tent for termites none of which she had asked for or authorized.  Turns out that the work was done by the “other new owner” who bought the property a week earlier.  Once again the bank blamed the law firm but did nothing to fix the problem.  Tips to Get Your Short Sale Approved.

Finally, in the most bizarre story to date, a homeowner who bought his home for cash and never had a mortgage on the property was sued in foreclosure for a mortgage that didn’t exist.  Jason Grodensky didn’t receive an explanation or an apology, but how could the bank ever explain or justify suing someone who wasn’t even in their records!?  Blame the Banks – Foreclosure is Not Your Fault.

All true, all strange and unfortunately much more to follow.  Stay tuned and we’ll have lots more stories for our blog followers.

Do You Have Your Own Foreclosure Horror Story? Share your story with our readers by offering your own post and you”ll probably find  that other homeowners have the same or similar experiences!

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Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement Insults Homeowners and American Values

All your problems are over as a result of the recent Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement.  Not.  Anticipated for months and widely heralded by banks, government officials and many media outlets as a landmark settlement agreement that will help end the foreclosure crisis, the sad reality is that once again the large financial institutions win and homeowners get screwed.  As discussed below, the amount of money involved barely moves the needle past empty and the complete lack of operating rules, enforcement measures or deadlines makes the agreement nothing more than false hopes and empty promises.  Once again the good old middle class American family is at the losing end of a battle with multinational banking interests who have lost touch with people and local communities.

Let’s discuss the specific provisions of the settlement itself.  Initially, the total value of the deal is $25 billion dollars which pales in comparison to the overall size and scope of current underwater mortgages and basically ignores the damage done by banks and servicing companies in causing the mortgage meltdown.  Knowing with complete certainty that they’d be held accountable for their illegal actions at some point, banks simply put the money in reserve long ago and then decided to raise nearly every imaginable banking fee to cover any losses while continuing to increase profits and year end bonuses.

The majority of the money – $17 billion of the $25 billion dollar total – is supposed to fund principal reductions and loan modifications to make monthly payments more affordable.  Right concept but no planning and nowhere near enough funding to make it work.  With roughly 11 million underwater mortgages totaling $700 billion dollars, $17 billion in reduced principal would be just 2.4% of the total percentage of upside down loans and leaves more than 97% of the problem untouched!  Learn More About Underwater Mortgages

What this means for individual homeowners is unclear but can’t be good.  In the best case scenario, one million loans will be reduced by $17,000 (or less) and the remaining ten million homeowners will get nothing.  Given that the average underwater mortgage is $50-60,000 in the hole, even the few homeowners who actually qualify won’t get much help with payments that will only be lower by $200-300/month.  Anything helps but let’s get real.  As gas and food prices continue to go up, any savings in that range are quickly swallowed by increased costs for everything else.  More on Foreclosure Loan Modification

As pathetic as the numbers look, it doesn’t get any better.  Incredibly, there are no rules or operating procedures  to figure out who actually gets help and who gets nothing at all.  Although one million homeowners may get a little relief, ten million others get nothing and guess who decides who gets what?  That’s right, the same bankers who caused the foreclosure crisis and have no interest in helping anyone but themselves will be working together with government bureaucracy to make it all work! Could be worse, we could live in Russia! Blame the Bankers for the Foreclosure Crisis

By the way, who decides if your home is actually underwater and what if the bank disagrees with your online research or a professional appraiser’s findings? Who pays for the appraisal and if there’s a dispute, who pays for a third appraisal and what assurance do you have that the bank will actually accept and agree with your appraiser? None is the only conclusion and you may actually spend a lot of money at the bank’s direction to end up worse off. Ten Ways to Beat the Bank and Stop Foreclosure

In addition to all this good stuff,  there will also be numerous court challenges by  banks and mortgage servicers once the efficient federal government actually writes the rules on how the process is supposed to work.  You didn’t think the banks would agree to part with their money that easily did you?  Factor in the mountain of paperwork that accompanies 11 million new applications for relief and the pathetic history of banks not complying with previous settlement agreements and the whole process seems destined to fall far short of the needs of America at a critical time in our history.

The refusal of the government, wealthy individuals and corporations to help homeowners is despicable and unacceptable but also misses the basic point.  Homeowners are America and Americans, not corporations and banks owned by multinational interests and the rich one-percent. Like any other retail business they’re here to serve us and the weak effort to help the struggling core of America is just another example of how far our country has strayed from its essential values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I don’t see the words foreclosure or greed anywhere in the Constitution but pursuing life, liberty and happiness sure seems to be at odds with these concepts.  Don’t Let Foreclosure Stress Control Your Life

The second portion of the settlement funds are somehow supposed to compensate homeowners who were subject to wrongful and often illegal foreclosures by giving these poor folks a whopping $2000 check for their troubles.  Physical and emotional stress, the shame and embarrassment of  losing their homes and the significant costs of moving and establishing a new place to live apparently means nothing more to the banks and politicians than a token payment that’s less than one month’s typical mortgage or rental payment.  Renting Your Home To Avoid Foreclosure

Even more insulting,  to qualify for this measly reward homeowners were literally forced to waive their constitutional right to sue banks for damages and agree to a complete release of civil liability without any input in the process.  Are you kidding me?  Intentional fraud documented in every state in America and a blanket waiver for every one of the perpetrators? Where the heck did they find a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card? Advance to Go for sure, but a remarkable perversion of the justice system and a mockery of the political system that allowed this agreement to pass.

Not only is a $2000 payment insulting and insufficient for everyone involved except the banks, but like the rest of the agreement there are no guidelines to decide who qualifies.  In essence, we have the bankers themselves in charge of deciding if their own illegal actions warrant a $2000 payment but no enforcement measures if they’re wrong or simply ignore you.  Given that 8 million homes have already been subject to foreclosure, helping just 750,000 of those homeowners with barely enough to survive one month is further proof of how worthless the agreement is and how little chance it has in succeeding to end the foreclosure crisis.

Not surprisingly, banks can barely contain their enthusiasm for this part of the deal and you’d be pretty happy too if the total risk for repeatedly lying to courts, willfully  ignoring laws and creating reams of phony and fraudulent documents was just $2000 per loan particularly when closing costs were often 3-5 times that amount.  Don’t think the banks will do this again do ya?

The third prong of the fatally flawed  mortgage settlement and the one that seems to get the most media attention involves banks finally agreeing to a single contact person to work with homeowners.  Thus rather than dealing with a different person for each phone call and letter, banks have agreed to a process already used by nearly every successful company worldwide-namely having someone familiar with you and your account actually handle your account! Who Owns Your Mortgage and Why Care

What’s mind boggling is why this common sense process was not in place from the start and why it took so long and so much pressure to change.  We’re talking about people’s homes and the single most important asset in nearly everyone’s life.  With dollar amounts in the hundreds of thousands and long and often complicated loan documents, we’re not dealing with refunds from Amazon for $24.99.  Unfortunately, now that banks have joined the 21st century even more questions remain than answers.

Are banks planning on hiring thousands of individuals trained in the financial and legal complexities of loan transactions or are they more likely transferring existing staff from one call center to another?  How many of the 11 million files will each individual contact person be assigned to handle and will the decisions be reviewed by supervisors or more fully trained professional lawyers and accountants? With no deadlines or enforcement measures what protections are in place to be sure your file is fully and fairly evaluated?  If you have one point of contact, what do you if the person refuses to return letters or calls in a timely and professional manner?  What to do With Your Second Mortgage in Foreclosure

Its hard to fathom that banks have once again escaped unscathed despite blatant and obvious violations of law that were clearly planned and part of a long term pattern where greed trumps morality, ethics and the law.  How is it that banks repeatedly get away with this when the average citizen and homeowner would be locked up for committing similar acts?

Quite simply, they know they can get away with it and have for as long as our country has existed.  Despite the unmitigated pursuit of profits at all costs, the banks know that the worst case scenario would be yet another government bailout so there’s no risk for them.  Pillage and plunder, make enough money to run small countries then get rewarded when their dirty paws are discovered in the cookie jar.  If you were rewarded for stealing food from your local grocer, what stops you from stealing again and taking more each time?  If you understand why that’s the wrong way to live, you’re way ahead of the bankers and their single minded pursuit of wealth at the expense of the rest of us.

We’ll have much more on the Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement as matters continue to unfold so stay tuned. Meanwhile, spend time reviewing your foreclosure options and the rest of SavetheCave.com  so you’ll be prepared to protect your foreclosure rights and move forward regardless of what happens with the success or failure of the worthless settlement.

How SavetheCave.com Can Help Stop Foreclosure

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Photo by Beit Weizmann




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