Category Archives: Banks

Wells Fargo Accused Of Fabricating Foreclosure Documents

Wells Fargo Accused Of Fabricating Foreclosure Documents

Wells Fargo Accused Of Fabricating Foreclosure Documents

Will Someone Go To Jail This Time?

With foreclosures not exactly making front page news anymore, a recent internal report states the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. Sound familiar? Our government overstating successes?

And talk about mortgage fraud, this report comes at a time when a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. Wasn’t it bad enough to falsify signatures with robosigning? Imagine a bank creating missing documents in order to foreclose on homeowners.

The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a key role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all.

Sounds Like An Inside Job

This attitude seems eerily familiar to what documentary filmmakers Charles Ferguson highlighted in the Academy Award winning documentary Inside Job. He spotlighted how during and after the serious mortgage scandal and meltdown that no one lending executive has gone to jail.

Now with this recent Wells Fargo scandal we shall see is that fact remains true.

For those who wish to read the whole report and transcript then click on the link –


Leave a comment

Filed under Banks, Foreclosure

Luxury Homes Foreclosure Trend

Luxury Homes Foreclosure Trend

Luxury Homes Foreclosure Trend

Luxury homes continue to foreclose at a record rate.

Even though pundits say that the economy continues to gain more traction and that the worst of the real estate crisis may be over, distressed properties continue to pop up in the Bay Area.

Inventory continues to be in short supply and experts say that we have 4-5 years (we’ve heard up to 10-12 years) left of REOs coming on the market. Unlike the past years, the upcoming REOs tend to skew toward the high end. Homes valued in the $1.5 million-plus range continue to climb in the foreclosure scene. For a couple of examples, a $2.5 million home recently foreclosed in Cow Hollow and likewise for a $1.8 million home in Hillsborough.

Folks over at RealtyTrac state that foreclosure activity on homes in the $5 million-plus value range jumped 61 percent from the same time period in 2012. During the real estate meltdown, high end homes certainly did see their share of REO casualties but banks often held off foreclosing because of the high losses. Instead the banks worked toward loan modifications, forbearances and short sales.

Now with values on the rise, many luxury homes have fallen into the foreclosure track. In the past, banks often hesitated at foreclosing due to possible high losses. Now, banks may take more chances to foreclose on the high ticket homes. With increased profits, banks with defaulting loans seem more willing to roll the dice on the luxury inventory. Such actions may end up signifying snake eyes for distressed high end homeowners.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banks, California, Foreclosure, Loan Modifications, short sales

Return Of The Dual Escrow

Return Of The Dual Escrow

Return Of The Dual Escrow

What Is A Dual Escrow And Why Use It?

Why do one escrow when you can do two? With prices continuing to climb, people find creative ways to structure escrows and in some instances that means doing a double escrow. What is a double escrow and why do it?

A double escrow is having two escrows at the same time. Why would someone do a double escrow? Dual escrows typically occur during a hot market when someone can profit by buying and selling a property at the same time.

Many escrow officers will advise or even refuse to conduct the transaction if all of the sales information has not been disclosed to all parties. Experienced and ethical escrow officers tell stories of one party not fully disclosing info to one of the other parties.

Oftentimes the lack of info involves elder abuse (e.g. someone buying a senior’s home for below market value then reselling it for above market value) or other predatory tactics. A good escrow officer will insist to talk with a seller before conducting the double escrow. Oftentimes buyers will hide some fact from the sellers which can cause serious issues down the line.

Predatory Dual Escrows?

For a double escrow to occur there needs to be something that signifies a rise in sales price (e.g. upgrades, repairs, or a lease option/right of first refusal). It can’t be just one party taking advantage of another party. There needs to be some reason for the change in value. For this reason, doing a double escrow for an REO or short sale would not be allowed or would be considered fraudulent. During short sales and REO sales, the selling bank considers the selling price to be at or near fair market value so conducting a dual escrow and reselling at a significantly higher price would be tantamount to fraud.

Like any other real estate transaction, unusual structuring of a deal can benefit all parties. The rare instances for the proper use of a dual escrow can be a useful tool but those who use the tactic can end up getting themselves and other parties in something more painful than hot water.


Filed under Banks, short sales

Adjusting Loan Modifications Will Hit In 2014

Adjusting Loan Modifications Will Hit In 2014

Adjusting Loan Modifications Will Hit In 2014

Homeowners May Face Adjusting Loan Mod Rates Beginning In 2014

With distressed Bay Area properties going the way of affordable rent, and prices in most areas still on the rise (or at least steady) most homeowners and others interested in real estate think that we have seen the last wave of distressed properties in our collective rear view mirrors.

Like the mirrors in a funhouse, the real estate view may be slightly distorted or even downright scary. Despite the fact that the economy in the hilly city and as well as Silicon Valley, Marin, etc continues to display robust numbers, many people overlook the scary loan mod adjustment monster that looms on the horizon.

Those with short memories will need a refresher to remember that not only did the real estate crisis start about 2009 but so did the loan modification craze. While many homeowners received 30 or 40 year fixed loan mods, many homeowners received five year loan mods, meaning that they adjust after five years. These adjustments will mean that many homeowners will not be able to afford the adjusted monthly payment.

We have spoken with many homeowners who have these loan mods that will begin adjusting in 2014. Many of these homeowners can see the writing on the wall. Most will not be able to pay the adjusting amount which will put them in awkward positions. Either underwater or with equity, these homeowners may not be able to pay their new adjusted mortgage.

Re-modifying Adjusting Loans

Can homeowners return to the bank for another loan mod? Banks have not been in the habit of re-modifying loans so that may not be an option. Unfortunately, these homes may be future examples of distressed equity sales.

Some prognosticators think that we may be in store for 11 more years of short sales, foreclosures, loan mods and the distressed properties. That may be a bit of a stretch however it may likely continue for at least five years.

Homeowners with soon to be adjusting loan modifications (2014, 2015) take note. Be proactive. Create a game plan for your home or investment property instead of waiting until the loan modification adjusts. Doing so will allow you to look yourself in the mirror and know that you did the right thing.

Anyone with question about how to approach their adjusting loan mod can feel free to contact me at

Leave a comment

Filed under Banks, California, Loan Modifications, Mortgages, San Francisco

CA Homeowners Have More Power Against Banks Thanks To Homeowner Bill Of Rights

CA Homeowners Have More Power Against Banks Thanks To Homeowners Bill Of Rights

CA Homeowners Have More Power Against Banks Thanks To Homeowners Bill Of Rights

Homeowner Take On Banks In Court For Dual Tracking And Foreclosing

When the California Homeowner Bill of Rights came into effect in January of this year, many advocates cheered, and of course the banks were not so pleased. Even though the law took effect few people saw any immediate effects. We heard from several non-profit counselors and homeowners that banks continued to dual track homeowners, offer multiple points of contact and break the terms of the law.

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights offers protection for the homeowners but what options do homeowners have if the banks don’t comply? Take it to the courts. In the past, homeowners didn’t have many options if banks dual tracked then foreclosed. Even if you could find an attorney to take the case, many judges would throw the case out. One of our attorney colleagues mentioned recently that in the past Contra Costa judges had been particularly reticent to halt foreclosures or entertain dual tracking cases but with the new law things have changed.

One story (see link) tells the story of a San Luis Obispo County couple who came out victorious in a million-dollar-plus settlement against OneWest Bank, IndyMac Mortgage Services, U.S. Bank and GSR Loan Mortgage Trust after the servicer foreclosed on their home and a rental property while the couple negotiated a loan settlement with the servicer. People often refer to this practice as “dual tracking”.

Attorney Specializing in CA Homeowner Bill of Rights Will Speak at the San Francisco Housing Expo

This case and a few others will now doubt offer homeowners a better opportunity to take on the banks for wrongdoings as part of the Homeowner Bill of Rights.

One attorney specializing in the California Homeowner Bill of Rights will be speaking at the San Francisco Housing Expo October 26.

1 Comment

Filed under Banks, California, Events, Foreclosure, Loan Modifications, San Francisco

2013 San Francisco Housing Expo Coming In October

housing sf flyer-1For anyone out there who thinks:

A: It’s impossible to buy a home in San Francisco unless you work at Google or Facebook or

B: That foreclosures and foreclosure prevention does not exist anymore in San Francisco,

might consider attending the HomeownershipSF FREE RESOURCE FAIR FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE HOME BUYERS

For those wishing to purchase a home in San Francisco we have listed a number of items that will be included in the free event

Find out about down-payment assistance programs

Tour available Below Market Rate (BMR) properties

Learn about special products and services for Veterans, persons with disabilities, and Union members

For CURRENT HOMEOWNERS who may be having difficulty dealing with their servicer, making mortgage payments, trying to save their home or finding out of the box solutions may wish to attend as well.

The expo will include:

Negotiate directly with servicers to modify your home loan

Meet with a certified Keep Your Home CA counselor

Find out about grants and low interest loans for needed home repairs

Connect with resources to support your financial well being

Those wishing info before the event can feel free to contact us for assistance and information.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banks, California, Events, Foreclosure, Loan Modifications, Mortgages, pre-foreclosure, San Francisco

Have You Had Bad Experiences With Any Of These Loan Servicers?

Have You Had Bad Experieneces With This List Of Loan Servicers?

Have You Had Bad Experiences With This List Of Loan Servicers?

Have you had any bad experiences with one or more of these loan servicers?

  • Sun Trust
  • HSBC
  • Litton (owned by Goldman Sachs)
  • Saxon (owned by Morgan Stanley)
  • GMAC
  • EMC (owned by JP Morgan Chase)

If you have had bad experiences with one or more of the servicers listed above, please let us know which servicer, how many cases you have had, and what the issues are. There may be an opportunity to communicate concerns directly with federal examiners who are examining bank compliance with foreclosure laws and rules.

Leave a comment

Filed under Banks, Foreclosure