Foreclosure Archives - DGR Legal

Why Law Firms Need a Process Server Who Specializes in Foreclosure Matters

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process server who specializes in foreclosure mattersThe service rules in foreclosure matters are considerably different than any other type of legal matter, so if you want to make sure service is properly effectuated in accordance with the rules you need a process server who specializes in foreclosure matters.

Improper service can result in contested service, a traverse hearing and even possible dismissal of your case.

Here are 4 reasons why it’s imperative to your case and maintaining your relationship with your client to hire a process server foreclosure specialist:

1. Changing Rules

Everyone involved in foreclosure matters knows the rules are constantly changing. From who can be served, how fictitious spouses should be handled, what judges are looking for in terms of adequate due diligence prior to publication – knowledge of each and every one of these areas is a necessity to ensure timelines that are satisfactory to your clients.

Not knowing about a rule change or failing to appropriately handle a service can mean a certificate of regularity failing to be issued or needing to restart the case from the service point

2. Compliance

Compliance has been the buzzword in the foreclosure industry in recent years. Not only are attorneys required to be compliant by service providers, but so are the vendors they utilize.

A process server who is experienced in the foreclosure arena will have the right infrastructure and data security in place. In the event of an audit, this means you’ll be able to continue to use your preferred vendor rather than scrambling to find someone new when they don’t meet the strict compliance requirements.

3. Scrutiny of Foreclosure Matters/Traverse Hearings

The foreclosure process is scrutinized by consumer advocacy and debtors rights protection groups because of the magnitude of its impact. The courts, who work hard to pay attention to the details in every type of case, are especially thorough in their evaluation of appropriate steps, due diligence and conduct in foreclosure matters.

If the defense challenges service and the result is a traverse hearing, a judge is going to expect the process server’s testimony to adequately back up their affidavit of service. Having a knowledgeable, trained employee of a process service company versus an independent contractor that a process service company hired can determine whether a service is sufficient or rejected.

It’s important to make it clear to the judge the server has knowledge of the service rules and followed them when effectuating service.

4. Ethics

Foreclosure is one of the most personal and unfortunate events that could happen to a person. It’s important to work with a process server foreclosure specialist who understands the delicate nature of these types of services.

There are often lots of emotions associated with a foreclosure, and being served foreclosure documents understandably makes some people upset. Having a process server who is a professional and understands the subject’s anger isn’t personal allows them to step back and defuse the situation rather than respond in a way that escalates. If the situation can’t be defused, they know to remove themselves as fast as possible .

Choose wisely

Choosing a process server who doesn’t have specific foreclosure knowledge and expertise can have results that impact case timelines significantly.

Be sure to choose a process server who specializes in foreclosure matters whose work product will support your case timelines and compliance requirements. The right process server will make sure all the proper steps were taken to complete service in a way that will stand up in court even when challenged.

 

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Why You Need a Foreclosure Process Service Expert

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foreclosureprocessservice
Why do you need a foreclosure process service expert? Service of process involving foreclosure matters are a completely different type of service in New Jersey as well as many other states than traditional types of service involved in litigation and divorce matters.

As process servers who specialize in foreclosure services, DGR is very familiar with the myriad of requirements when it comes to these types of cases.

In residential foreclosure matters where the property involved is the sole abode of the defendants, you are often dealing with relatively high emotionally charged situations. Add into this compliance and service requirements and you suddenly have a service which varies greatly from the average service.

As foreclosure process service experts, we can tell you the following about why it’s important to choose a process server who knows what they’re doing:

  • Timelines

Anyone who is involved in any aspect of foreclosures on the plaintiff’s end is well aware of the importance surrounding timelines. While every service at DGR is always handled as quickly and efficiently as possible, we are especially sensitive to the needs of our foreclosure clients when it comes to completing service and filing an affidavit within a very short time frame.

  • Compliance

Compliance is becoming a fast-growing requirement of any vendor working with a lender in any capacity. Having a process server who keeps up to date with compliance requirements means you can satisfy your own client’s needs while making sure your service is completed.

  • Knowledge

Requirements for foreclosure services are constantly changing. From adding on mediation forms to notice for tenant requirements to vacant and abandoned inspection, you want your process server to be up-to-date and knowledgeable on every aspect of foreclosure services. One wrong service could result in the need to start a case over from the beginning if particular court rules weren’t followed.

These are just a few reasons you need to make sure you are choosing a process service who knows how to deal with foreclosure services. When dealing with lenders and banks, there is little room for a mistake throughout the foreclosure process.

Looking for a foreclosure process service expert? Contact us today and see how we can help.

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How A Property Inspection Is Different From a Home Inspection

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New Jersey Property InspectionsA property inspection within the foreclosure industry, along with occupancy inspections, are not the same as the typical home inspection most people are familiar with.

A home inspection generally comes prior to the purchase of a residence or building. An inspector will come to look at the entirety of the property, including the structure, exterior, roofing, plumbing, electrical and heating and interior. This is generally a very detailed process which involves testing all devices, outlets, energy sources and heating and air conditioning units.

When moving forward with a foreclosure action, the types of inspections which take place are generally less involved and do not include a complete inspection of the entire property.

The property inspection takes place when a bank or lender wishes to know the condition of the property. This type of inspection also helps determine if a property is vacant and abandoned, which in some states like New Jersey allows the lender to pursue an expedited completion of the action.

Property inspections include information such as:

  • Whether or not the lawn is overgrown
  • Damage to the property
  • Absence of furnishings and personal items
  • Overall condition of property

The occupancy inspection is another piece of the foreclosure process. This type of inspection includes verifying whether the property is owner or tenant occupied. If the property is tenant occupied, the inspection also attempts to get rental amounts, a copy of the lease agreement and the owner’s address and contact information.

Within the foreclosure process the types of inspections involved are sometimes confused with home inspections. The two most common inspections in foreclosures involve less inspection of the inside of a property than a general home inspection and instead focus on the exterior along with the owners and tenants.

Need a property/occupancy inspection? Contact DGR and see how we can quickly get you the information you need to proceed with your foreclosure action.

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The Role of Occupancy Inspections in Foreclosure Cases

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occupancy inspection in foreclosure casesOccupancy inspections are becoming a standard practice in foreclosure cases in New Jersey and with good reason.

When a home is being foreclosed on, it can’t be assumed the people living there are the owners. Oftentimes there is someone renting out the house which means different rules and procedures need to be followed. It also means due diligence needs to be conducted to track down where the owners actually do reside.

Occupancy inspections provide information on the current residents of the dwelling , particularly if they are tenants. Rental amounts are attempted to be collected, along with a copy of the current lease.

Vacant homes can also be determined through a separate type of inspection – a vacant and abandoned inspection. An occupancy inspection can quickly become a vacant and abandoned inspection upon noticing more than 15 key signs, including an overgrown lawn and an electric meter which has been turned off, etc.

Vacant and abandoned inspections, with New Jersey, can expedite the foreclosure process. It is important to choose an experienced occupancy inspector or vacant and abandoned inspector to make sure the lender is following all the necessary laws and compliance requirements in a foreclosure matter.

Looking for an occupancy inspection or a vacant and abandoned inspection? Contact DGR to see how we can help.

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Property Inspections and Occupancy Inspections for Foreclosures

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foreclosure Property InspectionProperty inspections and occupancy inspections for foreclosures are often confused with a complete home inspection. Unlike home inspections, these types of inspections take place in a different stage of a foreclosure.

Property inspections and occupancy inspections happen in the beginning of the foreclosure process, whereas the home inspection takes place when an individual is looking to purchase a property.

A property inspection for a foreclosure occurs because the bank or lender needs to verify the condition of the property and building, regardless of whether it’s residential or commercial. This type of inspection generally doesn’t include an interior inspection and instead focuses on the outside of the building and its occupants.

At DGR our property inspectors also look to see if the property is abandoned by taking note of things such as:

  • Overgrown or neglected vegetation
  • Disconnected utilities
  • Absence of furniture

The occupancy inspection takes things a step further and involves talking to the residents of the building, whether they are the owners being foreclosed upon or tenants the owners are renting to. The occupancy inspection verifies who exactly lives there and works to obtain additional information such as rental amounts and a copy of the lease.

Foreclosure property inspections and foreclosure occupancy inspections both serve an important purpose in determining who needs to be notified in the event of the foreclosure as well as how the bank or lender will need to proceed. If there are tenants, for example, the rules of service and also eviction are different than if the property is owner-occupied.

Interested in our property or occupancy inspections? Contact us today to see how we can help you get the information and reports you need.

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What Information Property Inspections and Occupancy Inspections Provide

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Property InspectionWhen conducting a property inspection or an occupancy inspection, there are several pieces of information one should expect to receive in order to help move forward with a foreclosure case.

Property inspections and occupancy inspections require an individual to go to the address of the property being foreclosed on. Once there, the individual gathers various pieces of information.

At DGR, our employees perform the following tasks at the property address:

Inspect the property

A DGR employee will go and take at the property, recording pertinent information and determining if the property is abandoned including:

  • Overgrown or neglected vegetation
  • Disconnected utilities
  • Absence of furniture
  • Talking to the neighbors

Get tenant information and rental amounts

During the occupancy inspection, we’ll speak with the tenants to get rental amount information as well as a copy of the lease if possible. We’ll also get their names as well as try to get the current address of the owner.

Photos

No property inspection is complete without photos. Our employees take clear photos of the property and outside of the home or commercial building, so you can see any details that may be pertinent.

When ordering a property inspection or occupancy inspection, you should be sure you are getting all of the above information and promptly.  With the correct information, you can move forward with your case as smoothly as possible without needing someone to return to the property for further information.

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Hurricane Sandy Impacts Foreclosures & Services in NJ

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Foreclosures in New Jersey have been at a trickle over the past couple years due to a number of issues including Notice of Intent letters. Recently, just as things were starting to gain speed foreclosures have once again been halted by the majority of lenders. The impact of Hurricane Sandy has caused many lenders to issue a moratorium of 90 days within the state.

With the way foreclosures currently stand in New Jersey, a recent article in the Press of Atlantic City cites Darren Blomquist, vice president of foreclosure-information service RealtyTrac as saying it will take at least 17 months to clear through the present backlog.

Here is a timeline of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on foreclosures:

October 30th: HUD grants a 90 day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued home mortgages

November 9th: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announce a 90 day moratorium for those who live in federally announced disaster area.

November 13th: U.S. Senator Robert Menendez calls on the New Jersey Attorney General to issue a moratorium that would:

  • suspend foreclosure sales and evictions
  • delay the initiation of any foreclosure action
  • waive late payment charges
  • put a hold on credit reporting for borrowers with homes located in eligible disaster areas.  

According to CNN Money private lenders JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo are all offering to postpone payments for up to 90 days for customers in disaster areas.  Citibank has also moved to suspend foreclosure sales within the federally declared disaster areas.   However despite offering payment options for current mortgages, no official statements have been made by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase or Wells Fargo in regard to the foreclosure process after Hurricane Sandy.  It is expected foreclosures will see a considerable slow down until the 90 moratorium first implemented by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is lifted.

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So Where’s the New Jersey Foreclosure Rush?

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Three weeks ago the US Supreme Court published an opinion in the case of US Bank National Association v. Guillaume which many, including us, thought would be the start of a rush in foreclosures in New Jersey.  Now the New Jersey process servers and many others are wondering just what happened and where are all the foreclosures.

It is known that there are currently thousands of foreclosures waiting in the pipelines.  Nearly 49,000 borrowers in New Jersey are more than 90 days behind in payments as of December 31st according to the Mortgage Bankers Association while the Department of Human Affairs has estimated there is another 50,000 to 100,000 unprocessed foreclosure cases.  A company which tracks foreclosures and homes in dangers of foreclosures, CoreLogic, said last Tuesday that the rate of foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans is 5.25 percent for the month of December 2011 — that’s 0.59 points higher than December of 2010, when the rate was 4.66 percent in Ocean, Monmouth, Somerset and Middlesex counties.

 CoreLogic also reported in the beginning of March that 14.2%, or 79,000 homes in these four counties owe more money on their homes than the home is currently worth, which could eventually raise the foreclosure numbers are homeowners stop making payments on these homes.

Given the history of foreclosures and its surrounding legal procedure in the past several years there is no doubt that perhaps some have adopted a “wait and see” approach. Over the past year and half there have been numerous occasions where the foreclosures were allowed to proceed, only for another moratorium or hold to be put in place in response to a new concern or issue.  Instead of beginning to file and having to stop shortly after or even need to re-file cases, many could be waiting to ensure that no new problems arise.

While many other states across the county are reporting higher foreclosure rates than in the previous year, New Jersey has yet to begin to see the same reports. RealtyTrac has reported that foreclosure filings are up about 25% in states that have settled with the government in response to robo-signing issues.  For those of us who expected the impending foreclosure wave to be more immediate, it seems that it may take some more time before the full effect of increased foreclosures takes hold.

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What New Jersey’s Foreclosure Opinion Means to Process Servers

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On Monday the New Jersey Supreme Court published an opinion in the case which has been holding up foreclosures in the state, US Bank v. Guillaume.  The heart of the case surrounded the issue of whether or not the lack of both the name and address of the actual lender on the Notice of Intent (NOI) was cause for dismissal of the foreclosure case. Another claim within the case focused on an undisclosed $120 filing fee in the original loan documents as a violation in the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).

Ultimately the Supreme Court decided that lenders, according to New Jersey law, should have the name, address and phone number of the actual lender, not just the mortgage servicer on the foreclosure filings.  However this was not deemed to be significant enough reason to dismiss the case, as the Guillaumes did receive the paperwork and were fully informed that they were required to file an answer to the foreclosure complaint, which they failed to do.

The TILA portion was also rejected, with the judge noting the Guillaumes’ inability to pay the amount due on their mortgage.

So what does this mean for process servers in New Jersey?  Foreclosures that have already been filed will not need to be re-served.  The Notice of Intent will have to be amended to include the lender as well as the servicers for the loans but will not require the documents to be served again.  But this still means the foreclosure wave is officially coming!

 

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