Mansfield Bronstein, PA Real Estate Department Successfully Prosecutes Title Claim

By Dec 30, 2015 Posted in News

Mansfield Bronstein, PA was recently retained by a seller of commercial real estate in Broward County, Florida to assist with the closing of the transaction. The seller, represented only by a real estate broker, was strongly persuaded to not hire a real estate attorney to assist with the transaction. Seller was told multiple times that that hiring of a real estate attorney for a “standard” commercial transaction was a “waste of money” and that they will only “make things more complicated.” Seller was pressured to the closing table when they were informed that prior years ad-valorem taxes were unpaid (amounting to $5,000.00 in total). Seller’s broker told Seller that these taxes were their responsibility and that if they did not close and pay these outstanding taxes that they would be sued by the buyer and that the broker would sue them for the lost commission on the transaction. Buyer’s title company was also pressuring Seller to close and to pay the taxes or risk defaulting under the contract. It was at this point that Seller sought Mansfield Bronstein’s help. Once engaged Mansfield Bronstein’s real estate department quickly determined that the unpaid taxes were from a prior owner and that when Seller purchased the property the prior title company had not picked this up. Had they done a proper search they could have found the unpaid taxes and required the prior owner to pay them at closing. Seller was extremely happy with the explanation and was even happier when they were […]

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Mansfield Bronstein, PA Attorneys Close $9,375,000.00 Complex Multi-Property Refinance

By Dec 30, 2015 Posted in News

The Mansfield Bronstein, PA real estate department closed a $9,375,000.00 multi-property refinance this month that took nearly 6 months to complete and involved complex, multi-jurisdictional issues in two Florida counties. The properties, located in Orlando and Miami had common investor groups, but different minority owners. The Mansfield Bronstein team assisted the client in closing the transaction by solving complex zoning, ADA, taxation, cross-collateralization, property condition and title issues that had prevented the financing of the transactions previously. In doing so the team was able to help avoid significant lender required holdbacks of the loan proceeds. Ronnie Bronstein, Esq. previously represented the ownership group in a complex commercial foreclosure action in 2010. The lender in the foreclosure action was defeated in its motion for Summary Judgment and as a result Mr. Bronstein was able to negotiate a discounted payoff that allowed the group to retain the property. An appraisal of the property that was received in connection with the refinance valued the property at triple what was paid by the owners in 2010 to retain pay off the nearly $12,000,000 mortgage, retain the property and secure a dismissal. The net proceeds from the just closed refinance exceeded the discounted payoff from 2010.

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Condominium Association Rule Blocks Woman’s Final Wish

By Feb 26, 2014 Posted in News

By: Brittany Barsky Can you believe this happened? Last week, what was supposed to be a woman’s peaceful ending, turned into an exasperating encounter for her son. At 99 years old, Sylvia Powers’ requested that she die peacefully in her condo, the property she had been living in for the past 45 years. True to her wish, her son arranged for a hearse to pick Powers’ body up from her unit. While the deceased woman’s body was lying in wait, the hearse was denied entrance into the condominium development because the driver did not have the correct parking fee. The security guard refused to allow the hearse to enter without exactly three single dollar bills. Coins and change were not allowed. Most of the attention in this case was focused on the security guard, who was following the association’s rules. Where was his compassion when a woman’s son had to wait with his dead mother until a hearse could pick up the body? Some take their jobs literally, but there are often times when we have to question orders and do what’s right. Can being ethical sometimes break the rules? Absolutely. Residents of the condominium were clearly outraged at this occurrence and spoke with reporters about other infuriating rules the association established. Communities like this often feel inferior to their association, living with the mentality that there is nothing they can do when something seems out of the ordinary. What they may not know is board members can be voted […]

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Did you know that new U.S. Citizens will be welcomed this week in honor of Presidents Day?

By Feb 20, 2014 Posted in News

By: Robert Mansen In honor of Presidents Day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will welcome approximately 17,800 new citizens during 148 naturalization ceremonies taking place throughout the U.S. this week.  Lori Scialabba, Acting Director for the USCIS, stated that “It is special for our newest citizens to take their Oaths of Allegiance as we celebrate Presidents Day.  Our newest citizens will help shape our nation’s future.  Through the contributions they make, and by choosing to naturalize, they reinforce America’s unique heritage as a nation of immigrants.”[1] While it is a tremendously important goal of many immigrants to attain citizenship, the path to citizenship often begins with obtaining lawful permanent residence (also known as a “green card”).  To obtain a green card, an intending immigrant must have a basis for eligibility.  Some categories for eligibility include family-based immigration and employment-based immigration, among others.  Subject to certain requirements, the holder of a green card can eventually apply for naturalization (for citizenship). You should consult an attorney to determine which path is best for you, or someone you know, to obtain a green card and/or citizenship.  There are many things you should be aware of, including the different options which may be available, the potential consequences, and the numerous benefits of being a green card holder or citizen. [1] See

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Will the Florida Supreme Court Chip Away at the Defenses Available in Foreclosures?

By Oct 14, 2013 Posted in News

By Michael Cotzen and Jennifer Murillo Last month, the Second District Court of Appeals entered an opinion in the case of Focht v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., which stands to change the current defenses available to homeowners facing foreclosure. It is well-established law that a bank, at the time it forecloses, must have standing to sue.  Country Place Cmty. Ass’n v. J.P. Morgan Mortg. Acq. Corp., 51 So. 3d 1176, 1179 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010).  Consider the following hypothetical: Borrower executes a note and mortgage in favor of Bank A in 2005.  In 2010, Bank B files an  action to enforce the note and foreclose on the mortgage.  At the time of filing, Bank B must be entitled to enforce the note and at summary judgment or trial, Bank B must be able to prove it was entitled to do so before it filed the Complaint. In Focht, in October 2002, Focht executed a note that was secured by a mortgage on her property in Nokomis, Florida. The original lender was BNC Mortgage, Inc., but the loan was later transferred into a trust for which Wells Fargo is the trustee. Wells Fargo filed a foreclosure complaint in January 2008.  But it was not until September 2008 that Wells Fargo filed an assignment of the note and mortgage, several months after the complaint was filed. The Second District reversed a summary judgment in favor of the bank because the bank was not able to prove standing at the time the complaint was filed.  But in its reversal, […]

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Fourth DCA Rules that Courts Must Weigh Sufficiency of Affirmative Defenses

By Sep 16, 2013 Posted in News

By Michael Cotzen Last week, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in the case of Seale v. Regions Bank, reversing a summary judgment of foreclosure entered by the trial court. In its opinion, the 4th DCA held “[a] wealth of case law makes it clear that in mortgage foreclosure cases, summary judgment is precluded if affirmative defenses are not factually refuted or shown to be legally insufficient.”  The court further held that the defense of failure to provide notice of the default and acceleration was not refuted by anything in the record and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings on this issue. For those of us who regularly defend foreclosure proceedings, this case is a helpful reminder to the trial courts that it is important to take the time to evaluate the sufficiency of each affirmative defense before simply granting summary judgment in favor of the financial institutions. With a massive number of foreclosures churning their way through the courts, it is easy for the courts to summarily reject affirmative defenses that they consider to be boilerplate, but a skilled foreclosure defense attorney should be aware of the Seale case and rely on it to encourage the trial judge to evaluate the sufficiency of each affirmative defense.

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Foreclosure Benefits Investors

By May 28, 2013 Posted in News

Seizing on South Florida’s glut of foreclosed homes that are currently sitting vacant and rapidly deteriorating, real estate investors are capitalizing on a strategy that allows them to purchase home titles quickly and cheaply through community association foreclosures for the purpose of renting them until banks can recoup their losses. Because lien holders of these homes are primarily banks that are drowning in foreclosure proceedings, it sometimes takes several years before the foreclosure process is completed on a single home. Consequently, investors who purchase and then rent these homes could be rewarded with a large return on their investment. What are Homeowner Association Foreclosures? Characteristics of this type of foreclosure include unpaid association dues and assorted judgments that are ultimately much less than the amount owed on the mortgage. Crackerjack investors know they can purchase a foreclosed property from one of these associations for pennies on the dollar and potentially triple their investment by renting the home. Although this strategy benefits both homeowners associations who desperately need the funds and investors looking for a financial windfall on this kind of undertaking, tenants who rent one of these foreclosure homes may unwittingly put themselves in a stressful situation when mortgage lenders start repossession proceedings on the home. However, real estate law attorneys in south Florida who have been investigating the legality of investors purchasing and renting homeowners association properties in foreclosure state that it is, in fact, legal as well as extremely lucrative for investors to engage in this  type of […]

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5 Ways to Save Your Home from Foreclosure

By May 22, 2013 Posted in News

When the housing boom ended in 2005, mortgage rates increased, affordability conditions rapidly disintegrated and investors speculating on pre-recession inflation rates began pulling out of the housing market. With the plunging confidence of home buyers combining with a volatile job market and the sidelining of trade-up and resort purchasers, foreclosure rates quickly reached rates commiserate with those of the Great Depression. Because the economy and housing market virtually collapsed overnight, many homeowners had no idea what to do about when confronted with a foreclosure notice. Most had no choice but to pack up their belongings and find another place to live. Credit scores plummeted as well, leaving victims of foreclosure without jobs and without sufficient credit to rent another home or apartment. Fortunately, alternatives to foreclosure exist today that are viable and helpful to those who do not want to suffer credit damage or the embarrassment of having a foreclosure marring their otherwise clean credit history. Mansfield Bronstein, PA can assist you in pursuing one of these alternatives by providing expert advice, filing the proper documents with the court and representing you when negotiating to your benefit with mortgage companies. Specifically, our attorneys will sit down with  you and discuss five methods to avoiding foreclosure that many homeowners take advantage of when faced with an unwanted foreclosure. Mortgage Modification—homeowners who fall behind on mortgage payments due to unexpected financial crises but are still able to continue making payments at reduced amounts may qualify for a mortgage modification. This usually extends […]

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What is a Short Sale

By May 17, 2013 Posted in News

As an alternative to a costly and lengthy foreclosure, mortgage lenders may agree to allow homeowners who are on verge of defaulting on their home loan to sell their property for an amount that is much less than what they still owe on their mortgage. Known as a “short sale”, this action has become an increasingly common occurrence between homeowners and mortgage companies because it provides benefits for all involved. Lending institutions consenting to a short sale avoid excessive expenditures associated with foreclosures. Court fees, along with paying to maintain a property that may sit uninhabited for months or even years, could cost lenders that do not agree to a short sale many thousands of dollars. In addition, foreclosed homes that remain unsold deteriorate rapidly, resulting in lenders losing even more money on their original investment when the home is finally sold for much less than its pre-foreclosed value. Eligibility Requirements for Short Sales Lenders may expect homeowners facing foreclosure to meet the following criteria in order to pursue a short sale: Proof that future payments on the mortgage are not possible due illness, unemployment, bankruptcy or other adverse circumstances. The mortgage is in default status or nearing default status. The homeowner has no substantial assets or funds available with which to make payments on the mortgage. The home’s market value is less that what the homeowner owes on the mortgage balance How Mansfield Bronstein, PA Can Help With Your Short Sale In addition to inflicting severe emotional stress on […]

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