At Merlino & Gonzalez on Staten Island, our accomplished real estate attorneys regularly handle the intricacies of both residential and commercial foreclosures for clients throughout New York and New Jersey. We have a well-earned reputation for successful outcomes due to our comprehensive knowledge of state laws and our well-honed skills in regard to foreclosure matters. If you are facing foreclosure, now is the time to contact our legal team for the advice you need to protect your best interests, your family, and your business. 

Understanding Foreclosure in New York and New Jersey

Foreclosure is the legal process by which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments by forcing the sale of the asset used as collateral. Both New York and New Jersey are “judicial foreclosure states,” meaning that the lender must file a lawsuit in court to initiate the foreclosure process. This gives the borrower a chance to be heard in court before the foreclosure can proceed.

In New York, the process begins with the lender serving the borrower with a summons and complaint. The borrower has an opportunity to answer the complaint, which can include defenses and/or counterclaims. New Jersey follows a similar procedure, with specific requirements regarding the notification of the borrower about the legal action, and a mediation option designed to help the borrower and lender reach a settlement that may prevent foreclosure.

The Importance of Legal Expertise in Foreclosure Situations

Given the complexities and significant consequences of foreclosure for all parties involved, engaging the services of real estate attorneys like those at Merlino & Gonzalez is essential. Our lawyers will provide guidance through the legal maze, ensuring that your interests are vigorously defended throughout the process. 

For homeowners and business owners, this can mean the difference between losing a great deal and finding a manageable solution. For lenders, it ensures that the process is handled efficiently and in compliance with all applicable laws, protecting your legal, as well as your financial interests.

Real estate attorneys must be well-versed in the laws and procedural requirements of the states in which they practice. They must also be well-informed about ongoing changes in legislation and market conditions that may affect foreclosure practices. 

For clients in New York and New Jersey, working with a dedicated team like Merlino & Gonzalez offers strategic advantages in managing or contesting foreclosures. Whether providing representation for a property owner facing financial difficulties or advice to a lender enforcing a loan agreement, our attorneys’ assistance is vital.

Alternatives to Foreclosure

Foreclosure is not the only option for individuals struggling to meet their mortgage obligations. There are several alternatives that can provide relief to property owners while minimizing the financial impact. Our real estate attorneys can guide you through these option, helping you understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Short Sales

A short sale occurs when a homeowner sells their property for less than the amount owed on the mortgage, with the lender’s approval. In both New York and New Jersey, short sales require detailed negotiation with the lender, who must agree to accept less than the full debt amount as payment in full. This option is not only advantageous for homeowners looking to avoid the severe credit impact of a foreclosure. It also allows lenders to mitigate the lengthy and costly process of foreclosure. Attorneys play a crucial role in facilitating negotiations, drafting proper documentation, and obtaining lender approval.

Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure

A deed in lieu of foreclosure is an arrangement in which the homeowner voluntarily transfers the title of their property back to the lender in exchange for release from their mortgage obligations. This method can be beneficial to the property owner as it typically involves fewer legal fees and less impact on their credit than foreclosure does.

In both New York and New Jersey,  the lender may require an appraisal of the property and proof that the property has been on the market at a fair price without success. 

Legal representation is necessary to ensure that the deed in lieu agreement includes a waiver of any deficiency judgment against the borrower, fully releasing them from any further obligations.

Loan Modification

Loan modification entails altering the original terms of the mortgage agreement to make the monthly payments more affordable for the homeowner. Common modifications include reducing the interest rate, extending the term of the loan, or converting a variable interest rate to a fixed rate. 

In New York and New Jersey, property owners may be eligible for various state and federal loan modification programs designed to prevent foreclosure. Our lawyers can assist you in preparing and submitting the necessary paperwork  for such a loan and negotiating with lenders to achieve a sustainable solution that avoids foreclosure.

Defending Foreclosure Actions

When facing foreclosure, property owners have the ability to defend against the foreclosure action in court. Our foreclosure attorneys’ defenses in such cases may include challenging the lender’s right to foreclose due to procedural issues or accusing the lender of breaches of the mortgage contract, such as predatory lending practices.

Because New York and New Jersey foreclosures must go through the court system, our attorney’s strong legal defense can result in a dismissal of your foreclosure case or lead to a settlement favorable to the property owner.

Whichever Side of a Foreclosure You’re On, Our Attorneys Can Provide Robust Representation

The attorneys of Merlino & Gonzalez are well-positioned to provide critical assistance to property owners in foreclosure cases by:

  • Reviewing the loan documents to identify any legal violations of state laws that could be used to contest the foreclosure.
  • Negotiating with lenders to seek alternatives to foreclosure.
  • Representing you in court to make sure your rights are protected, and to present any appropriate defenses and counterclaims.

Conversely, our lawyers are well able to represent lenders by making sure that all legal requirements are met during the foreclosure process, thus minimizing the risk of legal challenges. 

Contact Our Foreclosure Attorneys Today

In legal matters, it pays to be proactive. If you are faced with the challenges of foreclosure, having a capable, caring attorney from the beginning can be invaluable. Get in touch with Merlino & Gonzalez now for the legal advocacy and moral support that will carry you through to a successful resolution of your foreclosure case and provide you with the peace of mind that comes from dealing with a consummate professional.