Friday, February 28, 2014

How (not) to Select a Mortgage Company

In the end, it will always be your choice of which company you want to hold your mortgage when you purchase a property. So far in 2014, I have witnessed the multitude of problems that can arise when a client chooses the absolute cheapest option for a mortgage company, including some crazy closings that were longer than they had to be only because of that choice.

In instance one, the closing documents that were to be signed at the closing were not the same documents that the client had approved less than 24 hours before. The documents had completely different loan term payment lengths, different monthly payments and information that had nothing to do with the closing. When we finally got the bank on the telephone, their answer was simply that there was nothing they could do, that was the way the documents were put together and they had to be signed that way. Even my client pointed out the absurdity of it all, the bank refused to budge – all in the name of saving  few dollars a month.

In another instance, the bank created documents with the wrong address. All of the title documents and other legal documents had been prepared correctly and approved by everyone, including the bank. It was only that morning, mere minutes before the closing, that the bank realized that they had made a mistake in the address (merely a typo). Because of their typo, the bank required that all of the documents needed to be redone and they did not wire the funds for the closing until the following day – again, all because of their own mistake and in the name of saving a few dollars.

These two examples reminded me of the importance of shopping around for a good mortgage rate, but also doing your research on how the company operates and if they have a good reputation or not. While you may save a few dollars down the road, going with a fly-by-night loan company can cause quite a few headaches when you try to purchase that first home!

For more information on real estate closings, or to set up a consultation, please call my offices (718.568.0221 or 908.698.0417) or visit my website ( to schedule a consultation.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Can I Appeal After I Lost My Trial?

2014 has brought me an uptick in consultations with individuals who decided to represent themselves in court, taking their cases all the way to trial, and then when they lost, they now want to hire an attorney to appeal their loss. While generally, you are entitled to appeal a trial decision (assuming you file your notice of appeal within the time required by the rules – a very important deadline to know), it is very important to look at the reasons that the court decided the case the way it did.

This year I’ve seen two individuals who were looking to appeal decisions that were issued a long time ago. In one instance, the trial had occurred more than one year before the prospective client met with me and for reasons only known to that person, they waited too long to talk to an attorney. While attorneys are able to guide you through the various facets of the law, there are very definite time limits of when things need to be done.

Some of the more focused prospective clients at least came to their consultation within the time limits required by the rules. For those, there can also be other hurdles built into their case. One of the downsides of representing yourself at trial is that you are bound by the same rules as someone who is represented by an attorney. So, if the Court threw out your case because you failed to submit evidence supporting your case, it is going to be quite an uphill battle on appeal if you have no evidence to support your case.

In one case, the prospective client brought the evidence that they wanted to present at trial, but didn’t present because they were not sure if the judge wanted to consider it. Because they didn’t give the evidence to the judge, and the judge ruled against them, they now wanted to appeal and show the appellate court the evidence. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the system works. The court that considers your appeal can generally only look at the evidence that was presented at the lower court, not other documents that you forgot to give to the Court.

While you can get an appellate court to reverse certain issues on appeal, if you failed to follow the rules at the lower court, sometimes it can’t be cured.

For more information on appeals or to schedule a consultation, please contact my office (718.568.0221 or 908.698.0417) or contact me through my website (