If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, it's encouraged that you speak with an experienced and knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorney who can properly inform you of the best solutions for your specific situation. Not to mention that on average, a defended foreclosure usually takes anywhere from one to two years or longer.
Each foreclosure case is different and has complicated nuances that can ultimately make or break the case. For example if you have been served with a foreclosure lawsuit in Florida and New York you have 20 days to file a proper legal response in court. In Illinois, you have 30 days to reply. In New Jersey, you have 35 days. In your reply you can:
- Accept the Claim -OR-
- Dispute the Claim – Perhaps your loan servicer didn't follow proper foreclosure procedures or the foreclosing party can’t prove it owns your loan. Maybe your loan servicer made a serious error with your account such as misapplying funds, failing to credit payments to the account, or charging unreasonable and non-allowable fees. Or you’re in the military and as an active military service-member you have some special protections against foreclosure and have certain rights under the Service-members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). -OR-
- Claim Affirmative Defenses – Which means that without denying responsibility, you may claim that the foreclosing bank had contributing negligence or perhaps there is an expiration of the Statute of Limitations.
Failure to file a legally satisfactory Answer could result in default being entered against you and not being able to fight the foreclosure.The Attorney’s Role
A foreclosure attorney will not only defend you in a foreclosure proceeding but will also work with your lender to work out an alternative to foreclosure. Some services that are in your best interest that you should expect from your attorney are:
- An examination of your mortgage and other relevant documents.
- An understanding of your personal and financial hardship.
- A plan of attack as far as available defenses and possible counterclaims.
- Possible alternative solutions to foreclosure such as loan modification.
- Negotiations on your behalf with your lender. -AND-
- Strong defense of your interests in all court filings and proceedings.
Many homeowners fight foreclosure by hiring lawyers to represent them. The sooner you act, the better your chances are for success. In order to help you achieve even more during your free consultation, it is recommended that you prepare the following:
- Get organized, create a chronology of what happened to you, your hardship etc.
- List the most important facts of the case: Did the lender bait-and-switch you with a predatory loan? Were you unfairly turned down for a mortgage modification?
- Gather documentation, from the paperwork you gave the lender at application to the letters you got after you fell behind on payments.
- Have a history of your correspondence such as a log of conversations you had with the mortgage bank. -AND-
- Know what you want, where do you want to be? For example: Do you want help negotiating a loan modification? Do you seek a new loan to settle a claim of predatory lending? Do you simply want to buy time? -OR- Do you want to avoid a deficiency judgment?
Key Takeaway: A foreclosure attorney’s available solutions depend a great deal on how early they are involved in the foreclosure process. The longer you wait, the fewer the solutions that can be made available to you.