Archive for July, 2016

Foreclosures Are Down

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Refer WWSB ABC Channel 7. It’s a number one ranking the state of Florida would like to do without. The Sunshine State continues to lead the entire nation in the number of foreclosures.


“When you can’t have enough money to take care of your family to put food on the table, usually the mortgage is one of those things that people will skip,” said Joe Murphy, a Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker.

“It definitely still is problem, most of the work that we’re doing now with foreclosures are cases that have been pending for many years,” said Sheryl Edwards, a Real Estate Attorney in Sarasota.

Fortunately, things are looking up or we should say looking down. Statistics show that Florida did see a 37 percent decline in the number of foreclosures compared to a year ago. The numbers in our area are looking much better than they did 5 years ago. Back in 2011, the foreclosure rate in the Sarasota-Manatee region was around 12.2 percent, today it’s holding steady at around 1.7 percent.

“Our property values have gone up over 30 percent since the bottom of the market,” said Murphy, “if you have enough equity to be able to sell the home then you can afford to actually sell the property if you’re in a distressed situation.”

Real estate experts tell us a big reason why the state of Florida and the Sarasota-Manatee region has experienced this dramatic drop in foreclosures is many more homeowners are taking the initiative to work with their lenders to find a solution such as a mortgage modification or short sale.

“It is best to be proactive in the process as early in the process as possible,” said Edwards.

The reality of foreclosures is that it can hit anybody at anytime. Foreclosed properties are in neighborhoods everywhere, some are recognizable, others are not.

Murray Davenport lives right across the street from this foreclosed home in Lakewood Ranch. He tells us this is something he doesn’t want to have so close to his home. Until recently, the home was an eyesore with mildew, mold and a yard that was a total mess.

“We certainly hope that somebody buys it who will own it and live in it as opposed to an investor who wants to rent it out,” said Davenport, “but it looks much better than it did.”

Foreclosure numbers in the state and locally can very easily increase because there are plenty of homes on the verge of being foreclosed on. There are currently at least 5500 homes in Sarasota and Manatee Counties that are in lis pendens, in other words they’re homes in limbo where foreclosure on those homes is likely to happen. Many more homes are considered to be a Zombie listing, which real estate experts say there are tens of thousands just in the state of Florida alone.

“These properties that are unoccupied and the banks are just not acting on it in terms of foreclosure,” said Murphy.

For anyone who finds themselves on the verge of foreclosure, experts have this advice.

“The worst thing that you can do is to do nothing,” said Edwards, “if you ignore the problem, you are going to end up with the worst result.”

If you have a problem with a possible foreclosure situation, consider calling Caroline Secor. Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.

Medical Bills and Bankruptcy

Friday, July 15th, 2016

I think most of us have heard that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy.


Refer CNBC News. Bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills will affect nearly 2 million people this year—making health care the No. 1 cause of such filings, and outpacing bankruptcies due to credit-card bills or unpaid mortgages, according to new data. And even having health insurance doesn’t buffer consumers against financial hardship.

The findings are from NerdWallet Health, a division of the price-comparison website. It analyzed data from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control, the federal court system and the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes access, quality and efficiency in the health-care system.

“A lot of Americans are struggling with medical bills,” said NerdWallet Health Vice President Christina LaMontagne.

NerdWallet estimates that households containing 1.7 million people will file for bankruptcy protection this year.

Even outside of bankruptcy, about 56 million adults—more than 20 percent of the population between the ages of 19 and 64—will still struggle with health-care-related bills this year, according to NerdWallet Health.

And if you think only Americans without health insurance face financial troubles, think again. NerdWallet estimates nearly 10 million adults with year-round health-insurance coverage will still accumulate medical bills that they can’t pay off this year.

High-deductible insurance plans requiring consumers to pay more out-of-pocket costs are a challenge for many households.

“With an average American family bringing home $50,000 in income, a high medical bill and a high-deductible insurance plan can quickly become something they are unable to pay,” LaMontagne said. “If you have an out-of-pocket maximum of $5,000 or $10,000, that’s really tough,” he said.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Tampa, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site

or call (727) 254-1704.

Reverse Mortgage and Bankruptcy

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

You see the adds on TV all the time. Most people assume that there are no risks involved in a reverse mortgage, since you are just borrowing against the equity in your home. What they don’t tell you is that you have to be able to pay the taxes and insurance out of pocket, since they don’t escrow those amounts. In Florida, since we had the rash of hurricanes the insurance went through the roof. We are going to have additional increases this year as a result of a lot of non hurricane flood and water damage claims. During the housing boom, the taxes also went through the roof. Therein lies the problem. Refer Bankruptcy Network.


What is a Reverse Mortgage?

You’ve all seen the ads.  Happy smiling couples enjoying the good life thanks to there reverse mortgage.  Reverse mortgage Happy Couple

A reverse mortgage is a home equity loan that someone 62 years or older can take out and continue to live in their home.

It’s similar to a home equity line of credit (HELOC) or a second mortgage with one big difference:  with a HELOC or a second mortgage, the borrower must make monthly payments on the loan, which with a reverse mortgage the borrower does not.  The thought was that it would permit a retiree who need money but lacked the income to make monthly payments to borrow money that they could use to support themselves.

What is Wrong with Reverse Mortgages?

They are Confusing.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) conducted a recent study of homeowners 62 years and older. In the study, the homeowners were shown ads from a number of reverse mortgage lenders.

The results of the Study?
•Incomplete and inaccurate statements used to describe the loans
•Important loan requirements often buried in fine print or not mentioned at all
•Many of the homeowners did not realize the loans needed to be repaid, believing that they were getting interest free loans, and in some cases believing that the reverse mortgage was a government benefit which provided money to the elderly.
•The homeowners were left with the message that the can still own their homes and live in them forever, while the ads either glossed over or omitted entirely the fact that the homeowner could lose their home if they didn’t pay property taxes or homeowners insurance.

It is the last finding that we see the most.

Most individuals do not pay their property taxes and homeowners insurance directly when they have a mortgage. Instead the lender maintains an escrow account where a monthly amount is collected by the lender and used to pay taxes and insurance on an annual basis.

However, this is not the case with the reverse mortgages I see. In those mortgages the homeowner is now required to pay the taxes and insurance themselves.

Often, when I see an elderly client with a reverse mortgage they may be years behind on property taxes and insurance. When this happens the lender then pays the taxes, and usually the lender acquires what is referred to as forced placed insurance on the property, which is usually at a higher premium than the homeowner could get on the open market.

After paying the taxes and insurance for a period of time the lender will normally begin the foreclosure process which when completed leaves the borrower homeless.

What You Need to Know About a Reverse Mortgage!
• It’s a is a home loan, not a government benefit.
•You have to pay your property taxes and homeowners insurance directly. The lender will not escrow those funds.
•These loans have interest and fees associated with them.
•It is a loan that will need to be repaid.
•If you don’t pay the taxes, insurance and fees when they become due, you can lose your home to foreclosure.

When a client at risk of foreclosure a viable option, sometimes the only option is to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy which permits the homeowner to catch up on the taxes and insurance through monthly payments.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida.  For more information, go to our web site
or call (727) 254-1704.