An attorney talks 'real estate disarray'
When I walk into attorney Frank Marciano’s second-floor office overlooking a vibrant intersection of Hoboken, N.J., he is on the phone with a potential client. “It’s hard to tell you the one thing you don’t want to do is your best solution,” says Marciano, his compassionate eyes giving balance to his emphatic, booming voice. “Sell your house.” Marciano has spent nearly a half-hour listening carefully and offering the same advice to this man who has nowhere to turn. He took out a loan a few years ago on the house he has lived in for over 30 years -- once paid for -- and cannot meet the steep payments that come with a 12% interest rate. He is a laborer whose income has dipped considerably in this economy and is hoping Marciano can assist him in his quest to refinance, but his troubles are tied to the credit problems he’s developed because of this bind. “Walk away before this loan eats away at your equity,” Marciano says, heartened by the fact that he has triple the equity he needs to come out respectable. “If you wait, you’re going to be at ground zero and worse off. There are worse things than renting. Your mental health is the most important thing.”