For most facing foreclosure either now or in the future, something has changed in their lives that is already causing more than enough stress without any help from the looming loss of their home. Many find that their change in circumstances leaves them unable to make monthly mortgage payments, and they face foreclosure simply because they don’t know what they need to do or how to go about it. When you interview lawyers to help keep your home, you might feel lost. What should be the cost of foreclosure defense?
The cost of foreclosure defense will vary somewhat depending on the solution you choose and how your lawyer charges for their foreclosure defense services. The first step to understanding what foreclosure defense is going to cost is to know what kind of defense you're looking for. While one method may cost more than another when speaking in dollars and cents, "cheaper" methods may only seek to extend the foreclosure process rather than completely halt it.
There are Three Ways to Pay a Foreclosure Defense Lawyer
The cost of foreclosure defense comes down to three basic three types of payment methods employed by foreclosure defense law firms that will determine your cost of foreclosure defense:
- Hourly – Some attorneys will charge hourly for their services which can add up quickly.
- Monthly – Often times the best choice is a monthly payment which allows for lower costs overall.
- Flat-Rate – Given that foreclosure can take up to two years, this can be the cheapest solution, though few still offer it.
When to Pay a Foreclosure Defense Lawyer an Hourly Rate
Some homeowners believe they were harried through the mortgage process or were unjustly foreclosed upon. These homeowners will often choose to hire an attorney to sue their lender. Before accepting a client, these attorneys carry out an extensive forensic evaluation where they search for incorrect paperwork, evidence of exploitation, and other irregularities that may have proven disadvantageous to the homeowner. If the attorney is able to find enough improprieties to build a case with, then he or she will accept the homeowner as a client and file a lawsuit against that homeowner's lender.
Hiring this type of foreclosure defense is often the most costly method of fighting foreclosure, and requires a significant investment. A foreclosure lawyer with hourly rates often charges an initial retainer fee of around $5,000 and charge a minimum of $250 per hour. Filing Answers and Affirmative defenses can take more than 4 hours, and the cost would be half of your retainer. The entire legal process usually takes a year or more, and can included mediation, multiple hearings and sometimes stopping foreclosure sale dates. When paying a foreclosure defense lawyer hourly, the cost of foreclosure defense can range from $8,000-$15,000 or more. Even with this kind of investment, it's not guaranteed that a homeowner will win their case and be able to stay in their home.
Foreclosure Defense Lawyers Charge Flat Fees
Some foreclosure defense law firms charge a flat fee of $3,000 to $4,000, which must be paid when the firm is hired. A flat fee for foreclosure defense can give homeowners a feeling of security, because they have paid their lawyer and have no further financial obligation until they have a mortgage to pay again. Depending on the current state of your foreclosure defense, there may be 3 months left in your case, or there might be 2 years left in your case. Many homeowners who have fallen on financial hardship are unable to afford a $4,000 payment all at once. It is important that you fully understand your attorney-client retainer agreement and it is clear what foreclosure defense services your attorney will provide you.
Monthly fees protect you
Most responsible homeowners will hire an attorney that charges monthly fees. One of the benefits to paying your attorney a monthly fee is that you have confidence that you know what your attorney's costs are. The amount you pay will never fluctuate.
A homeowner is able to budget this payment each month until they are able to pay their mortgage again. Foreclosure defense lawyers that charge a monthly fee will charge $400 to $1,000 per month. Be cautioned though, because an attorney must be able to show that they are providing you services and prove that their fees are reasonable.
Homeowners paying monthly fees to their foreclosure defense attorneys also feel more in control because they are often more involved in the foreclosure defense process because they are more empowered to release their attorney at any time without risking their investment.
How Much Should You Pay a Foreclosure Lawyer?
The average cost of foreclosure defense varies based on each homeowner's personal decisions. Most homeowners choose to pay their attorney a monthly fee.
We hope that this article has helped you get closer to your own decision. Please comment below or send an email if you have any concerns you'd like to see us address.