Jacqueline A. Salcines, founding and managing partner of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA began her career 13 years ago as a criminal law attorney, interning in the Miami Dade County State Attorney’s Office and then shifting her focus to criminal defense, both federal and state.
She was working for a criminal defense firm where a small part of the practice dealt with real estate. Not knowing anything about real estate, she was thrown in to handle real estate closings and forced to learn how to navigate a real estate transaction in order to properly handle the closing and inform her clients.
“The shift just kind of happened and I loved real estate. So when it started taking off in 2003, I rode the wave. I reinvented my practice,” she said. “I worked with numerous lenders who sent me their closings and then, when the bottom fell out, everybody I had refinanced began soliciting me for foreclosure defense, loan modifications and short sales.”
Salcines shifted her practice to primarily handle real estate and armed herself with a team of real estate experts and support staff to handle the avalanche of foreclosures and property related issues her clients, past and present, were facing with their homes.
“A lot of attorneys that handle real estate only handle the transactional aspect of it. And, honestly, to only offer closing or title services to my clients, I was performing a great injustice,” she said. “I wanted to be able to analyze their cases in depth and offer a well done loan modification, short sale or bankruptcy. I did not want to sell them short when so many options existed.”
Currently, the bulk of her practice deals with foreclosure defense, short sales, loan modifications and investment consulting. She also finds incentives for sellers, to the tune of $35,000 for short selling their homes and getting their balances forgiven.
Her career as a master numbers manipulator started when Salcines was merely 16 years old, working in her father’s accounting firm. She worked there for numerous years as a summer intern, then full time during undergraduate studies and obtained her accounting degree from the University of Miami School of Business.
After realizing that accounting was not her passion, she was hired to work as an accountant in a bankruptcy law firm and her love for law took off. She was a legal secretary for more than five years before returning to the University of Miami to obtain her law degree. She worked days in a prestigious downtown law firm and attended law school at night until she graduated in 1998.
“I always knew it was in my heart,” she said. When it comes to real estate law, Salcines has had the opportunity to service an unusually diverse client base, including investors from Venezuela, Brazil, Spain, Germany and India. She is able to provide both sound tax and legal advice, which sets her apart from many attorneys that only handle real estate and don’t have the business or accounting background.
“I’m a benefit to both sides,” she said. “I’m in the thick of the distressed property market from clients coming in to request assistance on homes they have stopped paying. And then in turn, I can put them in touch with an investor seeking a good deal and can buy it. This is a win-win for all involved.”
When short sales exploded, Ms. Salcines took every possible course and obtained numerous accreditations to solidify her knowledge and expertise in the field and to offer the most competitive, up-to-the-minute advice and counsel for her clients.
“Everything went crazy and the whole economy went into a slump,” she said. “There were changes every month. New rules, new regulations, I always kept myself abreast of any law change that could adversely affect or benefit my client.”
Currently, the dedicated attorney’s ability to consistently calculate an excellent outcome for her clients throughout the changing face of adversity is well known.
“It’s interesting because Miami is one of the leaders that had the highest change in property values negatively, where properties have lost half their value. Something like one in three houses in Miami was in foreclosure,” she said. “Now in this area you have all these banks holding on to inventory, so now it’s flipped. The economy went back to normal.”
Salcines said that this added inventory has created a prime sellers market environment in which a seller might get roughly ten or more offers over the asking price.
“You have investors out looking for distressed properties,” she said. “It’s a seller’s market again, so things are looking up.”
This is good news for the busy and accomplished lawyer, wife, and mother of three. While she admits to being in love with the process of transferring title and the transactional component of it, her connection to her position is one she feels on a number of different levels.
“I like saving people’s homes, it’s a very emotional thing,” she said. “There are always some investors where it’s just investment and no attachment, but a lot of times the homeowners are emotionally attached to their homes.”
More than anything else, Salcines treasures the opportunity to put her broad and useful skill set to use. She has dedicated herself to offering thorough, resourceful representation to her clients.
“Sometimes people can benefit from walking away from a home or short sale. I want to educate my clients about other routes that can preserve their credit,” she said. “It’s difficult but at least they walk away gracefully.”