Strategic Default Monitor – How To Strategically Default

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Latest Student Loan, Mortgage Loan and Foreclosure News - 9-26-2018

Strategic default is simple: it's the intentional act of going into default on your student loans. However, there's still a misnomer here Joshua Cohen, a student loan debt attorney, sums it up best: "First, when we say strategic, that almost sounds like it’s purposeful. I think that’s incorrect. Many of these strategic defaulters have no choice but to default. They simply cannot afford the payment. When I say strategic defaulters, it means there is a plan to deal with the debt, not that they actually default when they could afford the payment. It’s not the default that strategic, it’s the what to do after it defaults that is." And it's that idea - what you do after the default that is strategic - that is powerful for borrowers. Read more at Forbes.
The city is taking on lenders of “zombie homes” — decrepit, vacant, distressed houses with unpaid mortgages, which have forced the city to conduct emergency repairs and maintenance. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is seeking more than $1 million from CitiMortgage, Wells Fargo and other home lenders who have allegedly failed to maintain houses on the brink of foreclosure, the department announced. Read more at The Real Deal.
Each state has different rules around credit freezes, but in some states, it costs $10 to place a credit freeze on their account and another $10 if they want to lift the freeze. Not anymore though. Going forward, consumers can freeze their credit for free at Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. A credit freeze prevents lenders or other credit providers from opening a new account without a consumer unfreezing their credit. Read more at Housing Wire. 

In the second quarter of 2018, New York City foreclosures stagnated both year-over year and quarter-over-quarter. 881 homes were scheduled for auction for the first time, compared to 911 in Q2 2017...Citywide, the number of foreclosures is stable but high. Read more at PropertyShark.Com.  


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Can Reducing Court Delays and Narrowing Scope of Homeowner Protection Laws Contain the New York Foreclosure Epidemic?

New York Judge Thomas F. Whelan in his article entitled, The Long Island Foreclosure Epidemic, projects a light on the causes of the extensive delays in New York foreclosure lawsuits. There is no question that a foreclosure lawsuit can take up to 8 to 10 years to finish.

Judge Whelan writes that state laws created to protect homeowners can be used as a weapon instead of a shield to delay foreclosure lawsuits. He also observed that court procedures can contribute to lengthy delays.  


I believe it is also important to consider the lenders role in the foreclosure epidemic. 


First. Why are lenders so reluctant to enter into settlements that are "win win" i.e. modifying the loan with an interest rate reduction. Additionally a lender can defer  payment of a portion of the principle balance by requiring a lump sum at the end of the loan. By restructuring a loan with a lower interest rate and allowing for a deferred lump sum principle payment a lender can recover most of it's money, a homeowner can begin to make affordable payments and a foreclosure lawsuit will no longer clog the court system. To often lenders allow the loan modification or settlement process to be extremely frustrating and down right degrading. Lenders create unnecessary processing delays and make unreasonable requests for previously submitted documents. In some instances a lender can take up to a 1 year before making a decision. There is no reason why a lender can't make a decision to modify a loan in less than 2 weeks after a homeowner submits their paperwork.


Second. Lenders and their attorneys delay court proceedings by doing nothing. A foreclosure lawsuit can sit in court for years before a lender takes the next step in the court process. You will never find a single homeowner or property owner rushing to court to "force" a lender to foreclose faster. So a homeowner waits in foreclosure limbo while interests, fees and costs accrue. While it's true a good foreclosure defense attorney can use the law and court procedures to "extend" the life of a foreclosure lawsuit ultimately the lenders choose the pace of the case.  


Third. There may be an incentive for lenders to not foreclose quickly since a completed foreclosure sale requires the lender to assume the risks and costs associated with managing the property. Interests, fees and other loan costs accrue while a foreclosure lawsuit is pending. The homeowner ultimately pays the entire "bill" via a foreclosure sale. Currently property values continue to rise thereby increasing the likelihood a lender will collect all of its money. Additionally many loans in foreclosure have interest rates ranging from 6.5% to 11%. Does the lender say "cha ching" during a delayed foreclosure?  


I have been a beneficiary of the delays in foreclosure lawsuits. For over 10 years I have succeeded in defending foreclosure lawsuits brought against my properties. During the 10 years I obtained a loan modification, principle reduction and the dismissals of foreclosure lawsuits. In one such case, due to my lenders inaction, I filed a quiet title action under New York State law (RPAPL section 1501(4)) which led to a court ordered cancellation and discharge of my mortgage. You can read the decision here: Augustine Diji v. Deutsche BankYou can read the entire case here: Diji v. Deutsche


Judge Whelan confirms the ongoing trend to find and implement real solutions to end foreclosure delays and to reduce foreclosure lawsuits in the New York court system. 


Bottom Line: A lender should not have to wait a long time to collect money it is rightfully owed. Yet a homeowner is duty bound to defeat a lender who does not rightfully attempt to collect a loan. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How I Created a Brighter Financial Future for Myself, My Family, and My Business by Helping Home Owners Save Their Properties

Hello my name is Augustine Diji.

In 2010, I wrote the book Strategic Default: How to Create a Brighter Financial Future for You,Your Family or Your Business. Since then I have helped many people save their homes or investment properties from foreclosure. With my assistance homeowners obtained loan modifications. I devised strategies for “holding off” lenders during foreclosure proceedings by sharing my investigative research with clients and their attorneys on the misuse of loan and foreclosure documents. I have negotiated principle and interest rate reductions for myself, friends and clients at times eliminating the entire principle balance.

I have obtained loan modifications and principle reductions on the loans for my properties. I successfully defended all of the foreclosure actions filed against my properties. This year I received two (2) New York State Court decisions  eliminating mortgages from properties that I have an ownership interest because the statute of limitations expired to foreclose. In other words, under New York State law the lenders waited too long to start a foreclosure action so the lenders lost the right to foreclose. I then filed quiet title actions in New York state court to cancel, discharge and eliminate the mortgages. You can read the winning decisions by clicking here: Augustine Diji v. Deutsche Bank and Insiders Success Ventures, LLC v. Onewest.

What started out as financial self-preservation became an experience in how to turn failure into success. I helped over 100 people save their homes or investment properties and, most importantly, I helped the same clients “create a brighter financial future” for themselves. With my work came the greatest satisfaction: Helping my friends and clients regain their sanity and confidence while protecting their family and financial livelihood.

By joining with me to “fight the fight for financial self-preservation” all of us so called “strategic defaulters” ended up regaining personal and financial security. I finally understood 2 simple truths. First. Failure can make you better because it opens the door to humility. Second. The path to success is intertwined with the success of others. Therefore, it is important to give the best of you to the rest of us. 

For me, getting here was not an easy journey.  

In 2006, my descent to personal and financial ruin began to pick up pace. I was an arrogant, “too smart for my own good”, real estate attorney. On top of that, at the time I neglected my marriage by being singularly focused on work and entertainment. Absolutely forgetting my mother’s and my father’s lessons about developing personal integrity, ensuring family support and being true to oneself I became a greedy, self-centered person who refused to listen.

By 2007 I was in foreclosure on all my properties while my law career was slipping away through my fingers. In 2010 my marriage came to end (no children) and I was forced to resign from the practice of law. My reputation was in tatters. I lost the respect of friends and colleagues. I was  close to the edge of total personal and financial ruin. I became so paranoid that “everyone knew I was a loser” I hid myself from family, friends and the outside world.

Why am I sharing all of this?

Well there are reasons why certain outcomes befall each one us. As time went on it became clear that I needed to lose everything in order to shed the “fake”, scared, insecure man standing in front of the mirror.

The first step: Learning how to clear my mind of “self-made” fears and negative thoughts. So, I became serious about practicing meditation, Chi Gung, and yoga.

During my worst I learned to become my best. I met my best friend who became my wife. I worked (and continue to work) long and hard to repair broken relationships in order to regain trust. I am paying off most debts. I sought the advice of many close friends, mentors, elders and respected professionals. I embraced the pain of rejection as motivation to become a better person. I took it on the chin because I was told it was the only way to survive.

The wise words of a close friend soon became true: “Things are only as bad as you think they are. Change your thinking.”

Now, in 2018, I am happily married with 2 beautiful children. I became a certified Yoga teacher after studying in India. I am a New York State licensed real estate broker. I am an expert in strategic default consulting, foreclosure prevention and loan modification negotiations. My work has helped property owners regain tens of millions of dollars in equity as they have been beneficiaries of rising real estate market values. I am proud to have helped people gain their peace of mind.

Most importantly, with the support of an amazing family I have become the best version of myself.

Remember that you are not alone on your journey and you always have the power to change for the better. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Latest Mortgage & Real Estate News - 1-8-2018

Homeowners are Sitting on Trillions in Cash 
Following the housing crash, millions of borrowers fell underwater on their mortgages, owing more than their homes were worth. Fast-rising home prices over the last two years have brought borrowers above water and beyond. Approximately 80 percent of homeowners now have equity they can use, cash which could fuel the economy. Just 2.7 percent of borrowers, or about 1.36 million, still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Read More at CNBC.

The Banks with the Most CFPB Complaints in 2017
LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loan refinancing, put together a list of banks that received the most consumer complaints in 2017, as measured by the number of complaints per billions of dollars in deposits. Read More at Housing Wire

Mortgage Loan Modifications Basics
If you’re struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments or have fallen behind, you may be at risk of losing your home. But depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for a loan modification, which can make it easier to stay on top of mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. If you’re in this position, here’s what to know about getting a mortgage loan modification. Read More at NerdWallet.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Latest Mortgage & New York Foreclosure News - 12-23-2017

The Federal Housing and Finance Agency Changing Credit Models To Expand Homeownership Opportunities
FHFA’s request for input is a step forward towards creating a marketplace where credit scoring models can be judged on their predictiveness, innovation and inclusivity instead of the status quo where the government has created a de-facto monopoly for FICO,” said Barrett Burns, VantageScore Solutions president and CEO. “Monopolies never benefit markets or consumers and they create the opportunity for pricing power unchecked by competition. Read More at HousingWire.

New Foreclosure in NYC Up 79% in 3rd Quarter 2017
The number of first-time foreclosures in NYC surged 79% year-over-year in Q3 2017 – 859 homes were scheduled, compared to 481 in Q3 2016. After a peak in foreclosure activity in Q2 2017, with 911 new foreclosures scheduled across all 5 boroughs, Q3 2017 brought a slight slowdown in the number of cases. This translates into a 6% decrease quarter-over-quarter, following a trend we’ve noticed when tracking foreclosure data as Q3 is usually slower than Q2. By property type, single- and two-family homes have seen the highest increases in Q3 2017. Read More at Property Shark

Monday, October 2, 2017

Latest Student Loan News - 10-2-2017

Half all Millennials would Give up Their Right to Vote to have Their Student Loans Forgiven
It's not news that millennials are in debt. 42.3 million Americans owe a total of $1.33 trillion in federal student loans, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 20-somethings pay on average $351 a month, reports the Federal Reserve. The median monthly payment for that age range is $203. Now a survey from Credible, conducted through Pollfish, offers insight into just what millennials would be willing to do to be free of those loans. The most popular answer the 500 respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 chose for what they would be desperate enough to sacrifice: suffrage.Half of them said they would give up the ability to vote in the next two presidential elections. Read more at CNBC

From studentloanhero.com - The Complete List of Student Loan Forgiveness Programs and Options

Have you ever wished your student loans would just go away? While there’s no way to snap your fingers and have your student loan debt magically disappear, there are ways to get it forgiven. There are various student loan forgiveness programs out there for people who work in public service, education, and other areas. Some states are even helping debt-saddled graduates pay off their loans. Whether you’re struggling with six-figure debt or looking for “free money” to pay off your student debt, student loan forgiveness could save the day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Latest Student Loan News - 7-18-2017

As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away
Tens of thousands of people who took out private loans to pay for college but have not been able to keep up payments may get their debts wiped away because critical paperwork is missing.
The troubled loans, which total at least $5 billion, are at the center of a protracted legal dispute between the student borrowers and a group of creditors who have aggressively pursued them in court after they fell behind on payments.
Judges have already dismissed dozens of lawsuits against former students, essentially wiping out their debt, because documents proving who owns the loans are missing. A review of court records by The New York Times shows that many other collection cases are deeply flawed, with incomplete ownership records and mass-produced documentation... Read More at NY Times
Your Student Loans Might Be Forgiven Thanks to Some Lost Paperwork
Ah, student loans. The first of many bad decisions you made in college. At the time, they seemed like a great idea. After all, how could you be expected to get a job in the modern world without a four-year degree in English literature? It's not like they're going to let you make money in this world if you don't have an informed opinion on Shakespeare's comedies! But now that years have passed and you've realized that you could probably have the exact same career that you have right now if you just started interning after college while picking up bartender shifts on the side, the $60,000 you owe is beginning to look a little ridiculous. Throw in all the recent news stories about Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration's plans for the Department of Education, and the picture begins to look a little terrifying. Well, have I got some potentially good news for you! According to a new report from The New York Times, a combination of lost paperwork and the shady way in which private student-loan debt is handled has conspired to potentially wipe away your loan debt... Read More at GQ