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Category: Debt Management

Pros and Cons of Short Sales

Each year, millions of Americans struggle to keep up with their mortgage. Financial issues from the sudden death of a loved one, prolonged unemployment, and other issues can leave a homeowner overwhelmed without many options. This is around the time when homeowners start considering a short sale.

A short sale allows a homeowner to sell their home for less than they owe on their overall mortgage. If approved, a homeowner can reduce their financial burden by getting rid of the home. With the help of a real estate attorney, a short sale can be a great solution for most people, it’s not always the right solution for everyone.

Pros of Short Sales

Avoid a Foreclosure

Depending on the circumstances, people who consider a short sale do so with the interest of avoiding foreclosure. If the seller has assessed the situation and come to the conclusion that they simply won’t be able to keep up with the payments, a short sale would definitely be an advantage.

Less Credit Impact

A person’s credit can be strongly affected by a foreclosure. It’s a mark of unpaid debt that could remain on your credit report for well over 7 years. With a short sale, your credit may still be affected, but it may not be as harmful as a foreclosure.

Selling Could Be Easier

Depending on location and various real estate factors, short sales are often in a league of their own. By undercutting other homes in the area and simply offering the home at a lower price, short sales often sell quickly, barring any bank delays. In fact, short sales are often a dedicated target for investors, house “flippers”, and first-time homebuyers.

Cons of Short Sales

You’re Not In Full Control

When a house is listed for sale in the traditional way, everything from the price to the offers is on your terms. But when the house is being sold in a short sale, the bank is directly involved. The bank ultimately decides if a short sale is valid depending on the offers received; they even have the power of negotiation.

Your Credit May Be Affected

Perhaps not as badly as a foreclosure, however, a short sale is still classified as a debt that wasn’t completely paid.

It Can Take a While

Though the popularity of short sales as a bargain has increased in recent years, how quickly your home sells in a short sale largely depends on factors outside of your control. There’s the criteria of your location, rates on the market, the value of the home – all this and the skepticism of some buyers’ willingness to buy the property. Some buyers will try to lower the price to unreasonable lows that can delay and distract the selling process.

Get Your Free Consultation With Residential Real Estate Attorney Andrew Archer

If you’re facing foreclosure but looking for an alternative, a short sale may be one of the best ways for you to avoid both bankruptcy and foreclosure. The attorneys and staff at Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP provide friendly, caring, and affordable legal services.

We serve clients throughout central and south Jersey with offices in West Berlin, Mount Holly, Vineland, and Freehold. If you need an experienced real estate attorney, call 856.963.5000 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

Foreclosure Defense Strategies

The U.S. economy isn’t lifting everyone in New Jersey out of debt. If you want to avoid foreclosure and save your home, or you’re wondering how to get a loan modification, you need the help of a foreclosure attorney.

Dealing with your lender and negotiating mortgage issues are simply too complex to manage alone. An experienced foreclosure and loan modification law firm can defend your rights by helping you avoid foreclosure.

File a Notice of Appearance

After consulting with a foreclosure and loan modification attorney, a notice of appearance is filed with the court. This is done to allow the attorney to represent you. Your lender will send details and information about the case to the attorney.

Answer the Summons & Complaint

In order to foreclose on your property, the lender must file a lawsuit against you. To that end, you’ll receive a summons and complaint from a process server. You are then a defendant in a lawsuit and your lender is the plaintiff.

To achieve the goal of keeping your home, you must fight the lawsuit. The first step involves preparing your answer to the summons and complaint. Your attorney will answer on your behalf and initiate the defense against foreclosure.

An experienced litigator can prepare the response and fight the lender’s lawsuit. They’ll review the summons and complaint to identify errors and do everything possible to defeat the lender’s foreclosure lawsuit in court.

Court Appearances

You may be required to appear at one or more settlement conferences where you and the lender representative discuss a mutually agreeable resolution to avoid foreclosure. Your attorney will attend any settlement conferences in your stead.

Foreclosure Defense Strategy

If your attorney is pursuing a loan modification, they may utilize one or more foreclosure defense strategies to avoid foreclosure. The attorney may argue a “bogus” mortgage assignment or unfair lending practices or failure of condition precedent. The foreclosure defense strategies chosen will depend on the circumstances of your case.

Get Your Free Consultation With an Experienced Attorney

Because a loan modification is a permanent way to save your home, your foreclosure defense attorney may work towards this end. An experienced attorney can help you achieve this goal.

Foreclosure and loan modification are complex matters. Lenders are unlikely to warm to the idea of direct negotiations with the mortgagor. Contact Brenner Spiller & Archer to schedule your free consultation.

Bankruptcy and credit cards

Debt Consolidation or Bankruptcy: Which is Better?

Debt is a frustrating beast. No one enjoys debt and losing control of it only adds to the mental (and monetary) stress. The good news is that there are two popular options to help manage overbearing repayments: debt consolidation and bankruptcy. Here’s how to tell which one will best help your situation.

What is Debt Consolidation?

When someone runs into money troubles, it often means they have several loans and bills to repay to different banks and companies, but may not have the money to fully pay them back on time.

Debt consolidation is one option for repaying these creditors. In debt consolidation, all loans and bills are lumped into one single repayment plan instead of several separate repayments.

This makes repayment easier to manage, as well as offering lower monthly payments and lower interest rates.

What is Bankruptcy?

A bankruptcy filing is another way to manage or dismiss bills and loans that are difficult to repay. Most people are offered two types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the person filing will have most (if not all) of their debts wiped clean and will not need to repay any of them. When someone files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the borrower pays back at least parts of his or her debts.

The Differences Between Debt Consolidation and Bankruptcy

Mental Strain

Debt consolidation, though reduces stress by offering one repayment each month, still leaves a constant reminder of your debts until all payments have been made. Bankruptcy can eliminate your worries with a clean slate (Chapter 7) or fewer repayments (Chapter 13).

Credit Score

Debt consolidation won’t affect your credit score, meaning if you have a low score, it will stay low. Bankruptcy, while initially lowering your credit score, can eventually increase it.


Debt consolidation is entirely private, so friends, family, and coworkers never have to know. Bankruptcy may cause your employer to find out (if your Chapter 13 plan pulls repayments from your paychecks). Bankruptcies are also publicly available, so if someone searches hard enough, they can find out.

Obtaining Credit

Debt consolidation may allow you to keep credit cards, though more purchases using credit only adds to your debt. Bankruptcy can inhibit you from obtaining credit for three to five years.

Creditor Interaction

Debt consolidation doesn’t block creditors and lenders from contacting you, asking for more or faster repayments. Bankruptcy (and an automatic stay) prohibits creditors from contacting you or shutting off utilities and repossessing vehicles.


Debt consolidation doesn’t guarantee that lenders can’t take your home or car if you list it as collateral. Bankruptcy will prohibit lenders from collecting your house or vehicle.

Which is best for you?

Though this gives you a quick snapshot of debt consolidation and bankruptcy, to really get an idea of which is best for you, you should sit down with a lawyer and go through the details of your situation. Give us a call today to learn which path you should take.

Contact Our NJ Debt Relief Attorneys

The attorneys at Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP provide friendly, caring, and affordable legal services. We serve clients throughout central and south Jersey with offices in West Berlin, Mount Holly, Vineland, and Freehold.

Call (856) 963-5000 Today to Get Your Free Consultation

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

6 Alternatives to Foreclosure

Foreclosure is a term that’s plagued with financial and social stigma and it brings to mind struggle, irresponsibility and loss. But though it has this stigma, many don’t realize that foreclosure could really happen to anyone. Anything from an unexpected loss in the family to prolonged unemployment, or even a sudden illness could lead to a financial situation that leaves people struggling to keep their homes.

As if a foreclosure wasn’t bad enough, it can also wreak havoc on a homeowner’s credit score, making for an ugly financial situation. The good news is that there are at least six alternatives to foreclosure:

Talk to Your Lender about Loan Modification

As with most bills, a lot of financial situations could be remedied by simply being honest with your lender. If you have missed payments and trouble paying, talk to your lender about a loan modification. Though you must qualify depending on their standards, a loan modification could mean a lower interest rate, a longer amount of time to pay, and of course lower payments.

Rent Out a Room or the Property

It seems like an obvious action to take, but it’s an alternative that’s often overlooked. If a homeowner is having trouble paying the mortgage, it may be worthwhile to make use of extra space in the home and rent out a room to a tenant. If this isn’t possible, it may be worthwhile to rent out the entire property – this way, most of the mortgage gets covered while the homeowner seeks a more affordable place to live.


If you have a good or even passable credit rating and enough equity in the home, refinancing is a good option to at least look into. Refinancing can bring with it a better rate, no matter how slight, and in turn bring more affordable payments.


Also known as a payment plan, forbearance is an arrangement that allows you to work out a temporary payment plan with your lender. It’s also known as a hardship program – in these cases, the payments may be lowered or stopped altogether to allow a homeowner to catch up.

Friendly Foreclosure

A “friendly foreclosure” is just another term for a process called a “deed-in-lieu.” It’s fairly straightforward on paper: rather than allow the bank to foreclose your home, you would return the deed of the home on your own volition.

Short Sale

The most common route taken by those facing foreclosure, a short sale is just that: selling the house for less than what is owed under approved parameters to get out of paying more than the home is worth. The impact to your credit is still there but can be significantly lower than foreclosure and friendly foreclosure.

Our Experienced, Friendly Debt Attorneys Can Help Save Your Home

Your home is your castle. It’s likely the largest investment you’ve ever made and it’s the place where you and your family feel safe. However, when unmanageable debt threatens your home, it’s completely understandable if you feel overwhelmed and frustrated. The mortgage company wants its payments and when a homeowner gets into significant arrears, it can be very difficult to avoid foreclosure.

However, all hope is not lost. At the law firm of Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP, we care about our clients and have helped countless homeowners in South Jersey remain in their homes through a variety of methods. Contact our West Berlin, NJ office today to speak with an experienced, friendly lawyer who will explain your rights and options, answer all of your questions, and do what’s necessary to save your home.

Contact Us Online or Call 856-963-5000 to Get Your Free Initial Consultation

Picture of money and a gavel.

5 Debt Relief Options in New Jersey

Have you ever made a big purchase and thought it was a big investment? Maybe you decided to build equity by owning a home, or you saw an advantage to owning a second home. Perhaps you thought owning a car would give you convenience and independence for years down the road.

But then, the bills started to pile up and now you’re overwhelmed with debt. You need to get out of debt but might not know your options. If you’re in New Jersey, the following are five debt relief options.

1) Strip off your second mortgage. If your first mortgage balance is higher than the value of your real estate, you may be able to “strip off” any mortgage that you can classify as wholly unsecured debt. Learn more here.

2) Cramdown your car loan. If you’ve owned your car fewer than two-and-a-half years and its worth is less than the amount you owe, you can reduce the debt to the value of your car.

3) Loan discharge with Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Learn more here.

4) Modify your loans, possibly with a loan extension. This depends on your mortgage company’s voluntary participation in the federal government’s loan modification program. Learn more here.

5) Seek a short sale. Your lender or mortgage company might agree to accept less money than the outstanding mortgage to satisfy a debt. Learn more here.

This article should not be taken as legal advice. If you’re considering bankruptcy or another legal debt relief option, you need to consult an attorney for guidance. If you’re in New Jersey and seeking legal assistance, we can help you.

Brenner Spiller & Archer, LLP is a New Jersey law firm that is dedicated to helping families find relief from the burden of debt and other financial woes. For more than 35 years, our bankruptcy lawyers have provided effective guidance on all debt relief matters to clients throughout Central and South Jersey.

Click here to schedule a free consultation with our trusted bankruptcy attorneys.

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