SoFi and Online Mortgage Lending

SoFi – How Millennial Usage of Online Mortgage Lending is Changing the Home Lending Landscape

A young couple each in their early 30’s found themselves buying a house outside of San Francisco. Being first time buyers, they searched for sources of financing on the Internet. Online they found a lender called social finance (SoFi). They received pre-qualification in 15 minutes and then got the documents for pre-approval and submitted a formal offer within a week. Because of SoFi’s simplicity, they were able to easily close on their new home.

Large groups of millennials are changing the mortgage industry because more and more lenders are using technology that enables borrowers to submit documentation online. This allows more non-bank start a blenders to compete in the mortgage industry and it also gets mortgage brokers out of the mix (who many blame on the crisis of the last decade) . Online lenders like SoFi are so appealing to millennials because of their online tools and fast closing times. Borrowers feel much more in control of their financial status due to the DIY system provided by online lenders. This freedom is what banks are unable to match.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier – Protecting Homeowner Rights

The law firm of Shaffer & Gaier protects the rights of those who are facing foreclosure or seeking mortgage modifications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

Recovering from a Short Sale

Borrowers who owe more money than their homes are worth sometimes can get out from under by negotiating a short sale with their lender. A short sale is when a lender agrees to accept less than is owed on a property and in result, the borrower can walk away and avoid foreclosure. Yet, short-sellers are branded as high-risk borrowers, so new loans will not come quickly or easily. Fannie Mae, the federally controlled mortgage investor, sets a minimum amount of time that must elapse before a short-seller is eligible for another loan. For example, for those who can only put down 10 percent on their next home, Fannie Mae requires a four-year waiting period. Yet, borrowers who can put down 20 percent of their next home, the waiting period is shortened to two years. This waiting period is a penalty on borrowers who did not fully repay a previous loan and even if you could put 30 or 40 percent down, you would still have a two-year borrowing period. Short-sellers who are getting back into the housing market should keep detailed records of their income sources and should avoid loans which require very little money or no money down.

A Fix for the Mortgage Market?

The Senate Banking Committee is set to vote on a bipartisan bill, which aims to rejuvenate the housing market while guarding against the excesses of the past. This bill has been named the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014, with the goal to ensure broad and steady access to sustainable and affordable mortgages by providing an explicit government guarantee to attract investment in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and other loans. In addition, this bill includes a new financing provision, a fee on government-guaranteed securities, to generate money for affordable housing. Essentially, this bill would end Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—federally backed mortgage companies with implicit government guarantees and confusing ownership status—but would continue vital federal support for mortgages though the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation. Overall, this bill hopes to ensure that mortgage loans are broadly available, while giving taxpayers a housing market that serves the long-term interests of families and the broader economy. Yet, this bill is overly complex and is subject to being misinterpreted and falling short, especially on the subject of fostering affordable mortgages.

Fallout from Refinancing

Homeowners who refinanced when fixed mortgage rates dropped below 4 percent are less inclined to put their homes on the market as interest rates increase. As a result, the limited property supply already impending sales in many markets may not ease anytime soon. A recent survey by Redfin showed that even recipients of low-refinance rates who decided that they want to move may want to make money by renting out their own homes while waiting for prices to rise, rather than selling right away. Most borrowers cannot afford to buy another home without using equity from their first down payment. Yet, those who take advantage of low refinance rates tend to be “premium consumers” with very good credit and stable income. Before these people decide to rent out their homes, they may want to consider a few other factors. For example, managing a rental property is a very large effort. In addition, there is a greater financial risk for those who own two homes in the same market if home prices take a dive. Lastly, the reasons for renting a home always change.

Contact Our Office

We provide a free initial consultation to anyone with concerns about foreclosure or who is involved in foreclosure proceedings. To schedule an appointment, call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660 or contact us online. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home if necessary to meet with you.

New Jersey Resident Wins Damages Against Predatory Lending Practices

The average homeowner does in fact have recourse against the big banks when it comes to mortgage fraud and foreclosure defense. Goods news comes this past January from a ruling by New Jersey Chancery Judge Peter Doyne that says Wells Fargo committed actionable fraud and predatory lending.

The case involves Oscar Montesdeoca, of New Jersey. Evidently, Montesdeoca was persuaded to borrow $600,000 pus dollars for a three-bedroom home at interest rates that ranged from 7.75 percent to 14.35 percent.

The ruling is considered a significant victory in the battle against predatory lending practices in New Jersey, where another home foreclosure occurs every eight minutes! In the case in question, the mortgage for the home was $4800 a month. However, Montesdeoca earned between $500 and $600 a week, with his wife working for $7.00 per hour. They could not possibly have covered the mortgage, which ended up being $5700 a month, including insurance.

It was determined that the loan officer who worked with Montesdeoca had promised that “if he paid the loan and maintained good credit (for two years) he would receive refinancing” to reduce the high interest rates.

The couple couldn’t read the paperwork, which was in English, and learned only later that the bank listed their income as over $10,000 a month, when it was far from that amount. When the couple’s son requested that the bank refinance the mortgage in order to lower the high interest rate, as the officer had promised, the bank officer never responded.

The good outcome is that the bank was made to refinance the loans, and pay all the couple’s legal fees, as well as three times his damages, as required by New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier: Protecting Homeowner Rights

The law firm of Shaffer & Gaier protects the rights of those who are facing foreclosure or seeking mortgage modifications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.


Mortgage Modification Push Helps New Jersey Homeowners

Mortgage delinquencies are falling as home prices rise and the foreclosure pipeline is clearing. Many speculate that this is the result of the mortgage modification push by the Obama Administration.  The Obama Administration has used various programs like HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, and HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program, to allow distressed borrowers to refinance or modify their mortgages into something more affordable.  These programs have been particularly effective in New Jersey, as under New Jersey law, a judge must approve foreclosures, and they often press the borrower and lender to find a way to keep the borrower in their home.  Full article.

Mortgage modification is a process where the terms of a mortgage are modified outside the original terms of the contract agreed to by the lender and borrower.  At Shaffer & Gaier, we aggressively protect the rights of property owners in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. Our lawyers bring more than 45 years of combined legal experience to every case we handle. While we recognize that your case is unique, our commitment remains the same — to use our skill, knowledge, experience and resources to help you get the best outcome possible in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier

To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

National Mortgage Settlement Review Prompts Dual – Tracking Discussions With Banks

State and federal regulators are considering whether or not to impose additional restrictions on the mortgage practices of five of the nation’s largest banks. State attorneys and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have already discussed with two big banks about further restrictions, and these discussions are the result of “complaints related to provisions in last year’s multi-state mortgage robo-signing settlement between dozens of government agencies and Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup and Ally Financial”. This settlement has delivered tens of billions of dollars in mortgage aid, and while the companies have made strides in reforming servicing practices, much more improvement is still needed. The fact is, the relief is having no effect on keeping most distressed homeowners in their homes.

Officials claim that they are considering a change in the current policy — they want banks to “halt foreclosure proceedings when borrowers first apply for loan modifications and provide basic information”. With this halt, officials hope to speed decisions on loan modifications and limit the amount of fees imposed on distressed borrowers. While it is important for borrowers to get an answer on their loan, and whether the answer is “yes or no”, the borrower should feel relieved to escape the months-long limbo that often accompanies the request for a loan modification. One official has even said that “delays in processing mortgage modification requests are the number one problem in the servicing today”.

In the new policy, Joseph Smith, the head of the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight and his team hope to implement up to four new tests that would grade the banks’ compliance. Two of these tests would “test the effectiveness of banks’ implementation of a requirement to provide a ‘single point of contact’ for distressed borrowers looking to avert foreclosure” (Huffington Post, 1). The third test involves modification requests and the fourth grades how well the banks upgrade borrowers’ account information. It is a tall order, in our view, to get the big banks to get anything done quickly.

Contact Shaffer & Gaier

To set up a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call our foreclosure hotline at 855-289-1660. Or call our office location in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970.

Interest – Only Loan Settlement

Shaffer & Gaier’s clients owned a vacation home on the Jersey Shore since 1989, and in 2007 a mortgage broker qualified them to refinance into an “interest-only, negative amortization loan”. While our clients’ loan allowed them to make “interest-only” payments that were lower than a traditional monthly mortgage payment, the loan was misleading because the balance of the loan increased each month, even though a payment was being made. This is often because the Truth in Lending document does not appear consistent with the true terms of the loan.

These loans are so deceptive for the homeowner that they have been outlawed in many states while many of the big banks have even stopped offering the loans to prospective homeowners. Shaffer & Gaier filed a lawsuit in Cape May County, NJ against the lender and secured a confidential settlement in July, 2012 for money damages which allowed our clients to recoup the amount of interest they had paid since the loan’s inception.

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