The Law Office of Marilyn Sullivan Was Voted Best Law Firm in Marin County, CA by the Readers of the Marin Independent Journal 

Recent Authenticated Client Reviews on Google, click here

Loan Workout Reviews

“Our loan mod situation was extremely challenging and very complex. Marilyn proved to be an excellent attorney, a trusted ally, and a tireless champion of our cause. Truly an iron fist in a velvet glove. See the San Francisco Chronicle article at bottom of page and here

-Robert & Susan Gerke, San Rafael, CA 

“Marilyn, You probably don't realize what you have meant to me in the last 7 months. You held it together for me and made it happen. I often hung to the words in your emails. You always gave me hope. I appreciate you in so many ways. “

MJC, Redwood City, CA

“I can't express my thanks enough for what you have done for me.    What could have haunted me the rest of my life is now behind me.   I truly believe God blesses us through other people, and you have been that person.” 

ET, Richmond, VA

"This was indeed a miraculous outcome.  We have been extremely blessed.  We will always be grateful for your exceptional work." 

B,O,S & CC, Nipomo, CA

“I appreciate it and that's an amazing offer thanks to you!

JS, Sonora, CA

“Outstanding job!!!  Truly excellent.”

JL, San Rafael, CA

"I just wanted to say thank you. I really never thought we would be able to pull off a short sale, given the many obstacles that faced us, and I give you all the credit for having achieved it. It wasn't easy, I know! I appreciate all your time and effort."

J & T Adler, Valencia, CA

“You are the best, Marilyn.  Thank you so much!” 

CP, Carlsbad, CA

“What great news at the end of a long day! This is incredible! We are so relieved and thankful for you! Thank you, thank you, thank you Marilyn, you have been a tremendous blessing!”

MV, Fremont, CA

“You did a fabulous job. I admire your energy and tenacity. Thank you for everything.”

PJ, Belvedere CA

"We would of surely had to foreclose if it was not for you."

S&KR, San Ramon, CA

“You are incredible.  I cannot express my appreciation enough.  You saved my home.”

VB, Nipomo, CA
 “We are speechless.”

BW, San Francisco, CA

“Again, thanks for all your help.  We would have been lost if we had to do this by ourselves.”

J&D G, Tracy, CA

"I really am stressed and quite depressed. There are not too many people who have made me feel like there is some kind of hope like you have. Thank you so much for the hope you have given me."

BD, Brooklyn, NY

“We can’t thank you enough for all your efforts.”

JM, Goleta, CA

"Thank you so much for all of the hard work that you have done on our behalf. … you really have lifted an enormous burden off of our shoulders. This process would have been so arduous had it not been for your expertise and experience. Keep up the good work and hopefully you can continue to help other people out in our situation."

S&J C, Las Vegas, NV

“Thank you for all your help and going out of your way for me.”

JA, El Sobrante, CA

This is fantastic news!  AP, Berkeley, CA

“I appreciate your help and tutelage, Marilyn.”

PC, Boston, Mass.

“Still can't quite believe it! Thank you for all your very detailed & thorough work - It is a HUGE relief to be out from under & we feel very lucky.”

CF, Belvedere CA

“I cannot say it enough, Thank you for all of your hard work. My hope rests in God's grace thru all your good work. Thanks for being that beacon of light for us.”

MV, Colorado Springs, Co

“Thank You! I know you are working hard for me. I am grateful for all your help. Again, thank you for your hard work. You earn your fees!”

CW, Sacramento, CA

“Thank you for your good work and advice over the latter half of 2009.”

SH, Ross, CA

“Thanks again.  And, bless you for being my miracle.”

JA,  Fremont, CA

"Your assistance has made a huge difference for me in this process and much appreciated."

SM, Pismo Beach, CA 

“Again thanks for all your help we could have not done it without you. “ 

JM, Sarasota, Fla.

Other Services Reviews

Joseph and I want to say thank you for meeting with us yesterday, it helped us a great deal. It was a very important appointment, not only because of your extensive knowledge and expertise in both real estate and the law, which of course is incredibly valuable, but also because of the spiritual/life philosophy dimension you offer through the gift of yourself and your practice. We are very grateful, thank you so much. -- M.M., Novato, CA

Thanks so much for your help with my house sale. I had no idea how much work was going to go into this and I certainly didn’t have the time or resources to do it. So, I really appreciate your making this so simple for me."
-- J. L., San Rafael, CA

"There has been no more contact with the people who threatened the lawsuit. I'm sure this is due at least in part to the very pointed and articulate letter you wrote them on my behalf."
-- J. V., San Rafael, CA

[to real estate office manager] "I contacted Marilyn Sullivan on your recommendation. I was pleased beyond all expectations. Her quick action, knowledge, professionalism and thorough assistance (far above any compensation) enabled my family to purchase their new home. Speed was of the essence, she was available to me in the evenings and early mornings during this critical time. Marilyn puts 'heart' into her work. She is very sharp, open with suggestions and discussing strategy (and with a sense of humor). She helped me feel at ease in a tough situation. Again, my family and I were thrilled with her work, thank you for your excellent recommendation."
-- M. W., Corte Madera, CA

"Many thanks to you for a job that, I'm sure, often goes thankless. Your efforts and ingenuity really helped. I was astonished we got everything resolved."
-- J. D., San Rafael, CA

"Subsequent to attending one of your For Sale By Owner seminars recently, we put the wheels in motion and in less than three weeks entered into negotiations which concluded very favorably for all involved parties. And keep in mind, the property had been listed with agents for eight months. ... We want to thank you for all of the fine information and suggestions which you provided. And, perhaps most of all, for giving us the confidence to take on what most people feel is a job that can only be accomplished by trained professionals."
- C&J v, San Rafael, CA

"Thank you for excellent legal representation and prompt attention..."
-- C.H., Tiburon, CA

"Thank you for all your help and support during the lease ordeal. You were fantastic -, no - you were awesome!"
-- P.T., M.D., San Francisco, CA

"Marilyn D. Sullivan is the top Real Estate attorney ..."
-- A. B., San Francisco, CA

"We both want to thank you very much for all the work you did last week on such short notice. You made it possible that we are able to record the deed on the house in very short time. Without your interference this would not have been possible."
-- M & R W., West Orange, N. J.

"Thank you so very much. We are in escrow and all counter terms were accepted."
-- N&CB, San Anselmo, CA

"I didn't get a chance to speak with you after the proceedings and I wanted to write to let you know how impressed I was with your skillful handling of the mediation."
-- BWC, Santa Rosa, CA

"You did an excellent job of bringing this matter to its conclusion and I appreciate the outstanding effort you made."
-- SCG, Walnut Creek, CA

"Thank you for your help with the sale of our home, the credit issues and the quitclaim deed. You handled all three matters competently and with efficiency."
-- R. S., San Francisco, CA

"I appreciate the time you spent on this for me. I have learned a lot. I also greatly appreciate your candor in all facets of the case."
-- C.E.C., Novato, CA

"It certainly feels good to have the * matter behind me and I do appreciate your expeditious and helpful efforts."
-- D.D., Mill Valley, CA

"We were very pleased with your letter. It is outstanding and promises to get a rapid response."
-- V&RH, Vallejo, CA

"Thank you for helping us resolve our differences with ... . I know ... very well and he is not the type of person to settle issues easily. You did a great job and I really appreciate it. I will recommend you to my friends."
-- J. J., San Rafael, CA

"I was so pleased and impressed... you were able to put all parties in a position for total settlement..."
-- V.L., Moss Beach, CA

"I wouldn't recommend anyone but Marilyn D. Sullivan..."
-- J.W., Greenbrae, CA

" Your experience and persistence is truly remarkable... I am both relieved and delighted to have an attorney of your caliber representing my interests."
-- T.D., Novato, CA

"You were brilliant!", "If anyone could do it, you could!"
-- L.L., Mill Valley, CA

"You were stellar, just so awesome!"
-- P.B.T., San Francisco, CA

"I want to thank you for representing us and leading us through the quagmire... It was the security of knowing that you were our attorney that assured me that there would be an end, and we would not be buried when it was all over."
-- L. H., Brisbane, CA

" We both want to thank you very much for all the work you did...without you in our corner, this would not have been possible..."
-- M.T.W., Corte Madera, CA 

Notable Short Sale Facilitation Results

Short sale of primary residence for $2.3 M with no borrower contribution for release of an $804,000 deficiency.

Short sale of primary residence for $1.3 M with 7 liens with no borrower contribution for release of an $472,000 deficiency.

Short sale of a rental property for $1.057 M with 9 liens post-foreclosure with no borrower contribution for release of all deficiency rights.

Short sale of rental property with borrower contribution of $7500 for release of a $610,000 deficiency.

Short sale of a vacation home with borrower contribution of $7500 for release of a $574,000 deficiency.

Short sale of rental property with borrower contribution of $0 for release of a $101,000 deficiency.

Short sale of rental property with borrower contribution of $0 for release of a $126,000 deficiency.

Short sale of a primary residence with a $3,000 borrower contribution for release of a $243,000 deficiency.

Short sale of a second home with no contribution by borrowers for release of a $283,000 deficiency.

Short sale of a primary residence with borrower contribution of $4387 for release of a $425,000 deficiency.

Short sale of second home with borrower contribution of $8500 for release of a $340,000 deficiency.

Short sale of a primary residence with no borrower contribution for release of a $425,000 deficiency. 

Notable Loan Modification Results 

Principal Residence

$322,200 Principal Forgiveness reducing loan principal from $1,785,000 to $1,462,800, reducing the interest rate from 2.875% adjustable to 2% fixed and the loan payment from $7551 to $5496, no re-amortization of term (and all late fees waived); First and Second loans modified. 

$254,000 Principal Forgiveness reducing loan principal from $752,000 to $498,000, reducing the interest rate from 6% adjustable to 2% fixed and the loan payment from $3550 to $1508, no re-amortization of term (and all late fees waived);  Second loan of $93,000 settled for $9,000, resulting in additional $84,000 Principal Forgiveness

$166,000 Principal Forgiveness reducing loan principal from $721,000 to $555,283, reducing the interest rate from 9.625% to 2% and the loan payment from $5529.44 to $1690.55, 31% of the prior payment, and re-amortization of term to 40 years. 

$45,000 Principal Forgiveness, $3595 old payment, $1996.04 modified payment, 55% of the old payment.

$30,000 Principal Forgiveness and reduction in interest rate from 6.8% to a fixed interest rate of 5%.

$2.5M loan. Old payment: $12,654.18; $6,583.14 modified payment. Principal forbearance $742,212.03. New interest rate 3% for 5 years adjusting to 4.91% for the life of the loan. Term extended to 38 years.

$3427 old payment on first, $2222.45 modified payment on first, 64% of old payment. $547 old payment on the second, $297 modified payment, 54% of old payment.

$3968 old payment, $2531 new payment, 63% of the old payment, 2% interest rate.

$3355 old payment, $2325 new payment, 69% of old payment, 3% interest rate.

$3262.58 old payment, $1388.68 modified payment, 40% of the old payment, beginning with a 2% interest rate and re-amortized over 40 years.

$5371 old payment, $3799 modified payment, 71% of the old payment, beginning with a 2% interest rate.

$2529 old payment, $1595 modified payment, 63% of the old payment, and $45,522 of arrearages forgiven.

Investment Property

$979 old payment, $747 new payment; old interest rate: 6.375%, new interest rate: 2.75%

$820 old payment, $595 new payment; old interest rate: 6.375%, new interest rate: 2%

$983 old payment, $804 new payment; old interest rate: 6.7%, new interest rate 3.125%

Reconsideration of Modification Denial

Granted for non-HAMP modification for home worth $2.3M (listed above under loan modifications)

Granted for HAMP modification for home worth $825,000 from a 6% interest rate and a $3897 payment to a 2% interest rate, re-amortized over 40 years, and a new payment of $2019, 52% of the old payment.

Granted for HAMP modification for home worth $710,000.

Granted for HAMP modification for home worth $465,000.

Granted for non-HAMP modification for home worth $525,000.

Granted for HAMP modification of home worth $715,000

Some notable loan settlements

Settlement of $97,700 second loan for $6,000.


Settlement of $56,000 HELOC for $2500.

Settlement of $94,000 HELOC for $8300.



First Page, Business section

Thursday, November 25, 2010
Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer

After struggling with medical crises and recession-related lost income, Susan and Robert Gerke thought they had jumped through every hoop that their bank, CitiMortgage, required for them to get a loan modification.

They made 11 trial payments on time, sent in paperwork as requested and stayed in close touch with Citi. So it came as a rude shock when they received the foreclosure notice on the San Rafael home they've owned for 15 years.

"We were so sure we could keep it and that they were really working with us, I just feel blindsided," Susan Gerke said.

The house is scheduled to be foreclosed upon on Dec. 29, leaving the family of four - the Gerkes, their 22-year-old autistic daughter and Susan's 86-year-old father, who has Altzheimer's disease, without a place to live.

Their story mirrors those of thousands of other homeowners who've been denied long-term relief under the government's Home Affordable Modification Program. The pace of conversion from trial plans to permanent modifications has slowed dramatically, dropping from about 55,000 a month early this year to just 28,000 in September, government records show.
What sets the Gerkes' situation apart is that as longtime homeowners, they have significant equity in their home.

Penalized for equity

In fact, their attorney, Marilyn Sullivan, said the couple are being penalized for that equity.
"Citibank gave them a HAMP loan modification and took it away from them - because the house is worth more than the loan, so Citi will financially benefit from foreclosure," she said.

Citi spokesman Mark Rodgers wrote in an e-mail discussing the typical approach to equity, not the Gerkes' case: "In general, a borrower with positive equity in their property has the ability to refinance or sell their property and pay off the loan in full to avoid foreclosure. A modification is still an option if the borrowers' income can support a payment that passes the (net present value) test when compared against liquidation." 
Net present value is a formula banks use to determine whether foreclosure or loan modification would be better for them financially. Under HAMP, banks may pick the option that nets them more money.

The Gerke family's difficulties escalated in 2008, when Robert Gerke began using a wheelchair because of multiple foot and leg injuries and neuropathy. Around the same time, Susan Gerke became gravely ill with an intestinal disorder that required major abdominal surgery. Both health crises racked up large medical expenses.

Even earlier, Robert Gerke's business as a consultant and writer in advertising and marketing had suffered as the economy crumbled. He is the family's sole breadwinner, as Susan stays home with her father and their daughter. The couple exhausted their retirement savings to stay current on their mortgage payments.

The Gerkes received a loan modification in September 2009. A month later, Robert Gerke's income improved thanks to a long-term consulting contract, something they said Citi ignored when it later denied them a permanent modification.

In July, Susan Gerke said, she attempted to make her 12th trial modification payment by phone and Citi told her it would not accept it because they had been "tracked for foreclosure."

Sullivan, the attorney, said the bank committed several errors in the process, including not complying with the California rule that lenders must discuss loan modification 30 days before filing a notice of default.

Modifications hard to get

Studies show that getting a permanent HAMP modification is increasingly difficult.
Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general who oversees HAMP and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, issued a scathing report to Congress last month, detailing how HAMP trial modifications frequently backfire.

"Many HAMP borrowers, already contending with other hardships ... end up unnecessarily depleting their dwindling savings in an ultimately futile attempt to obtain the sustainable relief promised by the program guidelines," he wrote. "Perhaps worst of all, ... they may face back payments, penalties and even late fees that suddenly become due on their 'modified mortgages' and that they are unable to pay, thus resulting in the very loss of their homes that HAMP is meant to prevent."

After being contacted by The Chronicle, Citi's Rodgers said the bank would review the Gerkes' situation to see whether a foreclosure-prevention program might still be applicable. Late Wednesday, Sullivan said she had been informed that the family had been conditionally approved for a loan modification. For the Gerke family, such a solution would be a lifesaver.

"My biggest concerns are my dad and my daughter," Susan Gerke said. "If we lose our home, then I'm going to have to put my dad in a (residential care) home. I know he'll decline very quickly from that. My daughter's birthday is in December, and she keeps asking if we will be home on her birthday. We love this house. It's not just my husband and I losing a place to live; it would have some very serious repercussions for my dad and my daughter. I'm so afraid of that." 

THE RESULT:  Marilyn was able to save her client’s home from foreclosure and got her clients their loan modification.