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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Foreclosure is an unfortunate end to the dreams of homeowners and property owners. However, by using strategic foreclosure defense strategies, homeowners can delay or even put an end to foreclosure proceedings. In every case, contacting an experienced attorney gives homeowners the tailored guidance they need. 

Effective Foreclosure Defense Strategies

No one wants to end up going through a foreclosure. Sadly, foreclosures are common occurrences in Staten Island, but they may be avoided through the use of various foreclosure defense strategies. Keep in mind, however, that the following solutions are not appropriate in every situation. Consulting with an attorney will help in understanding which one may apply. 

Loan Modification

Mortgage lenders are often open to loan modifications to stave off foreclosures. A loan modification typically reduces a borrower’s monthly payments and/or extends the life of the loan. A lender might also agree to a lowered interest rate in an attempt to keep the account open. However, this option is not always available in foreclosure cases. 

Loan Reinstatement

A powerful defense against foreclosure is loan reinstatement. It simply involves reinstating the terms of the original loan on the original schedule. Lenders, however, are extremely cautious about reinstating defaulted mortgage loans and require strong proof of the borrower’s ability to pay and not end up in default once again.


Forbearance gives borrowers breathing room and time to deal with extraordinary circumstances outside of their control. It pauses mortgage payments for a predetermined amount of time while the borrower prepares financially for the restart of payments. Problems must be exceptional to obtain forbearance.

Loan Refinancing

Mortgage loan refinancing is a possible defense to foreclosure in limited circumstances. It involves taking out an entirely different loan and paying off the original one. Borrowers who are behind on their payments must typically catch up before refinancing. This tends to be difficult for many with looming foreclosures. 

Short Sale

Short sales occur when the market value of a home is less than what is owed on its mortgage. The borrower lists the house for sale regardless and remits the proceeds of the sale to the bank, which takes a loss. The benefit here is that the borrower does not receive a foreclosure on their credit report. 


Chapters 7 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code may provide relief for property owners in certain instances. Chapter 13 is typically the most effective as it halts collections actions and allows for options, such as restructured payments in the future. 

Chapter 7, on the other hand, may temporarily halt a foreclosure action. However, Chapter 7, which deals with various types of debt discharge, does not allow mortgage debt to be discharged. 

Other Defenses

Other defenses may be available in a case, depending on the facts and circumstances, which may include:

  • Problems with standing (i.e., the authority to initiate a foreclosure)
  • Loan document deficiencies
  • Notification issues
  • Issues with mortgage and accounting services

Although foreclosure is a difficult time financially, contacting an experienced real estate lawyer can lead to substantial savings of time and resources. Borrowers facing foreclosure are strongly encouraged to explore their defense options with an experienced real estate lawyer. 

Get the Guidance and Protection You Need

Merlino & Gonzalez can provide the guidance you need to make the most optimal decisions regarding your home during a foreclosure. Contact our office to speak with an experienced Staten Island real estate attorney today.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.