November 23, 2017

How Long Will Creditors Try to Collect on a Judgment?

In my ongoing series of blog posts about debt collection, garnishments, judgments, and how to rebound from financial setbacks I am asked lots of questions. One reader asked what happens when you've proven to the sheriff that all your property is exempt from the judgment. She said, "Do they hawk you for years waiting for your financial situation to improve? What happens if you win the lottery … [Read more...]

Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure: Part Three of Three

In my first post of this series we covered how foreclosure works, step by step, and defined some basic real estate terms related to distressed sales. In the second post, we answered questions on preventing foreclosure, negotiating with a mortgage company, and what to do about an adjustable rate mortgage that will soon reset. This post addresses questions on short sales and sifting through … [Read more...]

Asset Protection Basics: What You Need to Know if You Owe Debts You Cannot Pay

Many people who want to come in and talk about asset protection are surprised to learn that they have no assets to protect. "How can this be? "I own a car and a house!" Asset protection comes in to play if you own property that has equity above the mortgages owed (called non-exempt property -- property that creditors can reach); or if you anticipate that you may have non-exempt property in the … [Read more...]

Doesn’t the IRS Say My Debt Forgiveness Income Can’t Be Taxed?

All this talk about mortgage principal reduction and mortgage modification in the general press is incomplete and often confusing. People searching for answers can even find that information on government websites is too general for their specific needs. Take, for example, debt forgiveness income. This IRS page on The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation is helpful. Is … [Read more...]

Chapter 13–Lien Stripping: Hope for Homeowners

After several years of speaking with our clients about loan modifications to save homes and hearing a sad litany of misinformation and outright deceptions, it has become painfully obvious that loan modifications are more smoke and mirrors than reality. Does this mean that there is nothing that homeowners can do to try to save their homes?  Unfortunately, in most instances the answer is … [Read more...]

Charlotte Home Equity Falls, Self-Financing Options Diminish for Unemployed

Charlotte made the news this week, but not in a way that makes homeowners happy, especially those who are un- or under-employed.  The Case-Shiller Home Price Index found that values in the Charlotte market are back down to 2004 levels. In Charlotte, homes are going for 2004 prices. Last year, more than half of the homes sold in surrounding Mecklenberg County were foreclosures, says Mark Vitner, a … [Read more...]

Charlotte’s Greater Salem Church Obtains Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

I recently filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to stop a foreclosure that was threatening a well known local church, demonstrating the power of the automatic stay. Chapter 11 is not just for businesses Greater Salem Church was threatened with the loss of its church building. The Chapter 11 filing caused the automatic stay to stop the foreclosure proceeding. This will allow the church membership … [Read more...]

Challenge Your Foreclosure?

For struggling homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure, the processing errors admitted to by GMAC and Chase could mean an opportunity to challenge the banks. If you can stomach a bit of crude humor, Jon Stewart sums up the situation rather well. Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Foreclosure Crisis On a more serious note After 40 years of helping families and businesses … [Read more...]

Cash for Keys?

The copywriter who thought up "Cash for Keys" did a good job. Unfortunately, the process isn't as simple as the catchy title implies. You don't simply hand the keys over to the mortgage company, take your $1000 to put down on an apartment and walk away. [important]Unless you file for bankruptcy protection, any time you sell or surrender your home for less than the balance due on the mortgage(s) … [Read more...]

Moving Through the Python, Bankruptcy Cycles

Yesterday's Charlotte Observer article (wherein I'm quoted) explains why we're only seeing the front end of the bankruptcy python for real estate developers, small businesses and individuals.  While the Western District of North Carolina has seen more bankruptcy filings in eight months of this year than in all of 2008, most experts expect filings to increase through 2010 and pass all previous … [Read more...]