When a lender files suit against you in a foreclosure case, you have 20 to 30 days to create a response to the complaint made by the lender, depending on how the papers were served. Throughout this time you must:
◾Formulate a defense and a reason for why you missed payments;
◾Decide what alternatives are viable and the best for you and your situation and;
◾Review your mortgage contract.
This process tends to be overwhelming for many people. As we have helped countless clients successfully defend themselves and their properties against foreclosure, we can help you.
The lender is not permitted to file a lawsuit against the borrower without any warning. Once the suit is filed, the homeowner is asked to appear in court and answer to the notice of foreclosure that was served upon them. While anyone can appear in court without a lawyer, the homeowner would benefit from representation by an experienced foreclosure attorney.
With our assistance, a homeowner can prove that their property should not be foreclosed upon. Additionally, we can help the borrower negotiate terms with the lender and possibly avoid court altogether.
Myths about foreclosure
MYTH: My mortgage company would rather foreclose on my home than keep me in it.
The mortgage company sustains an average loss of about $58,000 when foreclosure
occurs. The mortgage company is in the business of providing mortgages;
not owning or selling homes. They would always prefer to keep you in your home.
MYTH: Foreclosure is an uncommon problem- I’m all alone in this.
Foreclosure is a challenge faced by millions of Americans every year from all
walks of life. Rich, poor, young, old – the list is as diverse as society itself.
MYTH: I’ve only missed one payment – I can likely catch up.
The most important thing to remember when playing catch-up with your mortgage
is you owe any delinquent payments plus the current month’s payment. So,
if you’re a month behind, you actually owe two payments;
last month’s and this month’s.
MYTH: I’m getting many offers or “help” from a variety of different people.
Are they are scams? Because of the public nature of foreclosures,
anyone is able to access foreclosure listings on a daily basis.
The public record includes the owner’s name and address at the very least,
and in some states, they could include other sensitive information. Armed
with this data, scammers can take advantage of a desperate owner.
Here’s what to look for to avoid foreclosure scams:
1. Your home’s ownership changes hands. A common scam is a party buys
your home, and then lets you rent it back. It sounds good at first, but
you’re losing your property, and your new landlord can now legally kick
you out of your home with little to no notice.
2. You’re asked to pay something up-front to stop making mortgage
payments. Usually, these scams involve paying large sums of money to
some sort of “foreclosure prevention service.” These services offer to
do what our counselors do: counseling, a budget, and approaching the
mortgage company to consider a payment plan. But the services do not
always do this work thoroughly, or follow through at all. The most
important thing to remember when it comes to any foreclosure service
is this: Foreclosure advice and direction should always be free.
3. You’re under pressure to act immediately. Some will prey on
the stress and anxiety surrounding the foreclosure process by
convincing owners to sign things they don’t understand. Don’t
sign anything without either first talking to an attorney, your
mortgage company or a nonprofit foreclosure prevention organization
like the Homeownership Preservation Foundation
MYTH: It’s impossible to stay in my house after foreclosure
proceedings begin. Contrary to what you might think, there are still
options available to you after the foreclosure process has started.
The sooner you call Homeownership Preservation Foundation,
the more tools they’ll have to help you fix your situation.
A foreclosure is what occurs when the mortgager is unable to keep their
promise to the bank or lender that has a lien on their home to pay their
mortgage payments on time. The lender then takes legal action to gain
ownership of the property, in an attempt to sell the property as a means
of satisfying the debt. Once this process is complete the homeowner loses
all rights to the property and, if necessary, will be evicted. This
unfortunate series of events can be avoided with the right preventative
steps. Often a lender initiates the law suit improperly which might get
the foreclosure dismissed with a proper defense. Often the original
mortgage firm sold the debt so the original required papers cannot be
procured and there is no right to foreclose. Lenders cannot make up
fees just because you’re in foreclosure so you are entitled to push
back. Lenders must adhere to consumer protection laws under RESPA
and Truth in Lending Act rules. If your loan is considered a
predatory loan, that is a defense. If you’re offered a loan
modification and then it is later denied, that can serve as a defense.
These are your rights
Defending a foreclosure without a lawyer is often a losing battle.
Our firm believes that you should not attempt to defend a foreclosure
lawsuit pro se unless you have experience in real estate and foreclosure
matters. The law governing the foreclosure process is complicated and
complex. You have a legal right to retain the help of an attorney to
counsel you in this time of need. Our firm is adept with the law
governing the foreclosure process. There are many different aspects
of a particular case, including the type of foreclosure, the various
deadlines and timeframes, and the impact the foreclosure will have
on you. During a free consultation, we will analyze your situation
and determine what actions are necessary and appropriate to help
you reach the best possible outcome.
A pre-foreclosure warning is a notice sent out to at-risk borrowers
by lenders and servicers 90 days prior to initiating foreclosure.
Throughout the entire state, Suffolk County, followed by Queens,
and then Nassau, has the highest number of notices sent out since
the law mandating these warnings was initiated. These notices
provide the homeowner with a formal warning about a potential
foreclosure, giving you time to get help before you fall too far
behind to recover. This is where our team of experienced attorneys
can help. We can provide you with the advice and expertise you need
in order to avoid the hefty fees and devastation that entails
foreclosure. If you have received a pre-foreclosure notice the
time to act is now, don’t hesitate to obtain the proper legal
advice that will ultimately save your money and your home.
Bankruptcy as an alternative
If you are served with a notice of foreclosure, the feeling can
be overwhelming. The threat of losing your home is like a cloud
hanging over your head, and is difficult to escape without the
right help. Our team can help you during this troubling time.
Bankruptcy can be an option for those that are dealing with
foreclosure. We will determine if bankruptcy is the best option for you.
Once a bankruptcy is filed, the lender can no longer legally
contact the borrower for payment, often opening the door to
negotiations and may provide for an alternative to losing
your house in a foreclosure.
What if I don’t want to file bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is an ugly word for many people. It is also not for everyone;
for many people, other methods work better for their specific situation.
Fortunately, for those faced with foreclosure, there are other options if
you do not wish to file bankruptcy. Legal and real estate procedures
such as short sales, deeds in lieu of foreclosures, and loan modifications
are all viable alternatives to both bankruptcy and foreclosure.
In a short sale, the homeowner is allowed (by the lender) to sell
their property for a price less than the mortgage. While the sale
price is typically lower than the balance on the mortgage, the
lender will usually agree to a short sale because it is typically
better for the lender than a foreclosure. Short sales are utilized
by homeowners to avoid foreclosure and bankruptcy. Engaging in a
short sale halts the foreclosure process, and typically immunizes
the borrower from any further lawsuits from the lender. For those
that do not qualify for a loan modification, the short sale is
an option; it is a way to cut financial exposure after the short sale.
Deed in lieu of foreclosure
A deed in lieu of foreclosure is when the homeowner gives a property
back to the lender. This is not common in New York for a primary
residence. This usually occurs when the homeowner cannot afford
the mortgage anymore, and cannot make payments to become current
on the mortgage. The lender then sells the property for whatever
it can get. The homeowner walks away from the problem. In a free
and confidential consultation, our firm can discuss your particular
case and situation, and determine if this is the correct course of
action for you and your property.
Loan modifications are often available for individuals who have fallen
behind on their mortgage payments and are now facing late fees, interest,
and other penalties on top of what they have already failed to pay on
their original balance. We can negotiate with your lender to work out
a new payment plan. This process is often successful in producing
situations where, over time you become current with your mortgage
and are able to keep your home.
The foreclosure process
Foreclosures can be traced back to missed mortgage payments.
This may have occurred as a result of a job loss, increased interest
rates, or the addition of a second mortgage. After the homeowner
misses a few monthly payments, the lender will file a foreclosure
lawsuit. Once served notice, you are required to respond within 20
or 30 days. This time is critical since a good defense can buy
you the time needed to review alternatives and options.
While you can file a response yourself, it is highly recommended
that you consult a lawyer before responding. Not responding, or
responding with an inadequate response, could eliminate any chance
you have to effectively defend against the foreclosure. On behalf
of our clients, our firm has successfully responded to hundreds
of foreclosure notices, and we hope we can do the same for you.
Difficulties with foreclosure
There are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” out there that ensnare
Americans every day. Traps in the form of scams, predatory lending,
and subprime loans may seem like beneficial options for homeowners
facing foreclosure. However, these traps eventually will destroy
your credit and even steal your money.
Given the current state of the economy, there are an increased
number of people who prey upon those in dire straits when it
comes to their mortgage and impending foreclosure. Some
policies and contracts you are presented with may in fact
be detrimental to your situation.
You may end up losing money or your property.