Foreclosure is a major crisis for the people who experience it. It's something you never thought would happen, otherwise you would not have taken out a mortgage loan. You may feel that you need the help of an attorney, but deciding what type, and who among them you should hire is no easy task.
If you're starting a small business, you would be best served by retaining a law firm that has experience working with small businesses. If you are facing foreclosure, your best bet would be hiring a law firm that specializes in foreclosure defense and can help you understand what happens when you've been served. Having determined the type of attorney you need, the next step is deciding which attorney gives you the best chance to keep your home.
You could decide by looking in the phone book and choosing the first attorney you see. However, Aardvark and Associates (if they exist) isn't necessarily the best fit for your needs just because they are first alphabetically. How exactly do you decide which law firm to retain? Some guidelines for choosing an attorney who will implement a foreclosure defense strategy on your behalf are in order.
Is the Attorney reputable?
You can check your prospective attorney's record by entering their name into the state bar association's website. First, check to see if the website recognizes the name you enter as a person licensed to practice law in that state. Assuming it does, check if they have a public record of being disciplined. If the person you will be counting on to save your home has a history of being disciplined for ethical violations, you may want to look elsewhere.
The attorneys at Amerihope Alliance Legal Services can be looked up at the state bar websites for Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida. Don't take our word for it. See for yourself.
Beware of the obvious scams
Any firm that promises a specific result, or guarantees that they can stop foreclosure or achieve loan modification should be avoided. While an experienced attorney can look at your case and know if the odds of success are very good, they cannot definitively guarantee it. Unfortunately, there are criminals out there waiting to separate you from your money by making promises they can't keep. Knowing what tricks are commonly used empowers you to be able to ignore them and seek reputable help.
Will the attorney keep you up to date on information about your case?
Considering how important keeping your home is, you're going to want to be made aware of every development in your case. Does the attorney plan to communicate with you primarily by phone, email, or web? How often? Will they return your calls? Amerihope Alliance staff enters all developments and work done on your case into a web portal that clients can access at any time.
How much do they charge and how do they charge it?
Attorney fees can be charged based on an hourly, monthly, or flat fee schedule. Be aware that paying hourly can be extremely expensive and is not typical for foreclosure defense cases.
If your law firm does not accept payment by credit card, that may be a red flag. You should find out why they don't, and what payment methods are accepted. If they prefer a cashier's check made out to Ice Station Zebra Associates in the Cayman Islands (like the character Saul Goodman in 'Breaking Bad' and 'Better Call Saul'), you may not have a reputable attorney!
Do they have a record of helping others in your situation?
While everyone has to start somewhere, you probably don't want someone who is practicing their first foreclosure defense with your case. Although the exact details of a case are confidential, law firms should be able to prove their record by sharing the successful outcomes they have achieved for their clients with you.
Each foreclosure defense case is unique, and no one can guarantee that you will be able to keep your home. But, if you follow these guidlines, avoid scams, and work with a qualified law firm, you set yourself up for the best possible outcome.