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One well-known Tampa Bay law firm, which specializes in helping clients avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes, has recognized the growing "vogue" of mortgage modifications: the simple-sounding but complex process of working with lending institutions to decrease mortgage principals or interest rates, or extend the time for mortgage loan repayment, all of which decrease the financial burden on homeowners.
At its best, it is a good solution for some, says Shawn Yesner, managing partner in the firm of Yesner & Boss (www.YesnerBoss.com). At worst, it is a scam that can plunge desperate homeowners even deeper into the mortgage morass.
"Our goal for our clients is to make it possible for them to keep their homes with an affordable modification, or at least to reduce or eliminate their liability under their loans," said Yesner. "We don't want to add to their financial burdens, so we keep our rates low, much lower than fees demanded by 'foreclosure-rescue' scammers. Our work always includes legal services provided by a Florida-licensed attorney who specializes in foreclosure issues."
Yesner cautions that mortgage modifications are not a quick-fix for everyone. Many mortgages that are modified still go into default in a matter of months. Yet, the advantages for the property owner with a successful modification is being able to keep the home at an affordable monthly price. The incentive for the lender is the opportunity to turn a non-performing loan back into a good investment and sidestep foreclosure action in which the lender winds up owning a property it cannot sell while maintenance costs keep growing.
"So many people are desperate to save their homes they are vulnerable to scammers," said Christopher Boss, a partner in the firm Yesner & Boss. "Any time a company guarantees results, it should raise a huge red flag. And Florida law requires that homeowners be given certain disclosure documents. If they aren't provided, that should be a huge red flag."
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