If you find yourself at risk of losing your home, hiring an attorney can be a practical option when you are trying to avoid or fight foreclosure. An attorney can explain your legal rights and obligations, negotiate new loan terms with your lender, assist you in completing the paperwork necessary to apply for a loan modification, or delay the foreclosure sale by helping you file for bankruptcy. When you are facing foreclosure, it pays to know in what situations hiring an attorney like Jeffrey S Arnold Attorney At Law P.C. can help.
1. You are confused about your legal rights.
Although state laws regarding foreclosure vary, in most states, the lender must give you notice that you are in default. The notice must also explain the steps you need to take to get your mortgage loan out of default.
If your mortgage loan documents include an acceleration clause, the lender has the legal right to demand full payment of the debt you owe as soon as you miss a single loan payment. You will be given a limited period of time to bring your mortgage loan current, which includes paying all interest, late penalties, and other fees due.
2. The lender made a mistake.
An attorney can help you if the lender made a mistake and you did not default on your loan. You may have to take the lender to court to prove you are not in default. However, you must provide documentation to prove the lender made a mistake on your account and that you paid the principal and interest on time.
If the bank or mortgage company is foreclosing on your property, an attorney may be able to stop the foreclosure by filing an order showing that the lender failed to give you adequate notice of the default or foreclosure proceedings. This may delay the foreclosure, but the lender can issue a new notice and start the proceedings again.
3. You were a victim of mortgage fraud.
An attorney can help if you think you were the victim of predatory lending practices. The attorney will review your loan documents to make certain the lender complied with state and federal laws related to mortgage lending. If a forensic loan audit spots a problem, you can file a lawsuit against the lender.
4. You want to know if you qualify for bankruptcy.
You can stop the foreclosure temporarily by filing for bankruptcy before the foreclosure sale. A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if you are financially eligible for bankruptcy. Since filing for bankruptcy stalls the lender's foreclosure action, it gives you time catch up on missed payments or negotiate new loan terms with your lender if you want to keep your home.
5. You need to stop the foreclosure proceedings.
An attorney may be able to stop the foreclosure process without filing bankruptcy by successfully negotiating with your lender to: refinance your loan at a lower interest rate; lower your payments and extend the length of your loan; or give you time to sell your home and pay off the mortgage loan. Many attorneys have established relationships with area lenders and real estate agents so they know what people to contact.
6. You need help with a loan modification.
Although not everyone seeking a loan modification needs an attorney, if you are still confused about the loan modification process after talking to your lender or a housing counselor, an attorney can help. An attorney will help you fill out the application or write a hardship letter explaining your financial problems when you request a loan modification. If you do the paperwork on your own, you can hire an attorney to help you make an appeal if the lender denies your request for a mortgage modification.