You’re not alone if you’re facing foreclosure and wondering if you need a lawyer. According to a recent survey, more than 33% of Americans are likely to suffer eviction or foreclosure in the coming months.
When a homeowner falls behind on their mortgage payments, the lending party may foreclose on the property and take it over. The mortgage company will attempt to sell or auction it in order to recoup part of the loan and the debtor is compelled to vacate the residence.
While it is possible to manage a foreclosure on your own, the procedure can be incredibly difficult to navigate. You may want—or need—a defense attorney on your side, based on your situation.
Attorneys that specialize in foreclosure defense handle all parts of the legal process, including court procedures and mortgage lender talks. They’ll be up to date on any new regulations that apply to your case, and they’ll know how to effectively protect your rights.
A meeting is usually the first step in the process, during which you may discuss the specifics of your case with a foreclosure attorney. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns and ask any questions you may have, and the attorney will be able to advise you on your rights and alternatives. They may want to see the mortgage company’s loan papers and correspondence records. The lawyer you employ may just assist you in understanding the process and advising you on your alternatives, or they may represent you in an attempt to stop the foreclosure.
Because each law firm is unique, make careful to inquire about the services they offer. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy as well, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer that specializes in both foreclosures and bankruptcies.
The assistance of a lawyer may make or break your case, but you may not require their services throughout the procedure. A brief consultation with a foreclosure attorney might sometimes be sufficient to place you in a better position in your home situation.
When Should You Get a Foreclosure Defense Attorney?
State law varies on how foreclosures are conducted. But under Alabama law we are a “non-judicial” foreclosure state, meaning that your lender probably does not need to initiate a court proceeding to foreclose on your property if you are in default on your payments. That also means that the process can move very quickly once you have been informed in writing by the mortgage company that they intend to foreclose. Typically the process only takes 4-6 weeks, making it important to move quickly to speak with a professional before it is too late. You must submit your own case for the court’s consideration to challenge a non-judicial foreclosure, which does not need the lender to obtain a judge’s consent. In either case, you should normally seek the advice of an attorney in most instances, such as when:
You have few legal choices, yet you want to maintain your house: even if a legal defense is doubtful, an attorney can help you maintain your house by assisting you in talks with your lender. If you anticipate a foreclosure, you should get legal counsel as soon as feasible.
You believe you have a strong case: a foreclosure lawyer can verify whether the lender followed correct procedures, made any errors with your account, and has the legal authority to foreclose. If an attorney can identify a legitimate issue with your foreclosure, it might tip the legal scales in your favor.
You hold a loan that is backed by the government: a loan guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) may be eligible for further assistance, so consult an attorney.
You’ve done your time in the military: service members in the military, both past and current, can consult with a lawyer to consider possible foreclosure protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
There are difficulties associated with a pandemic: foreclosure rules are still being implemented and updated by local and federal governments. You may be eligible for a temporary foreclosure moratorium, which prevents you from losing your house for the time being, depending on the conditions of your mortgage and where you live.
You may also be able to request “forbearance,” which is a temporary suspension of your payments, or other forms of relief. An attorney will be able to tell you which current regulations apply to your circumstance and what the best course of action is.
Why Should You NOT Get a Foreclosure Defense Attorney?
You Desire to Live in Your Home During Foreclosure
If all you want to do is stay in the house during the foreclosure process, you generally won’t require an attorney. You have legal ownership of your house until it is purchased in a foreclosure sale by a new owner. You may generally stay at home till this time. If state laws provide for a post-sale right of redemption, you may be permitted to remain in the property until the redemption period expires or until another action, such as ratification of the sale, has taken place.
However, if you intend to stay in the house during the foreclosure, you may need legal assistance if the bank or servicer changes the locks or takes your personal goods prematurely in the name of “property preservation.”
You Want Extra Time on Your Property
You can submit a loss mitigation application to the servicer if your primary aim is to acquire a little more time to reside in the property before the foreclosure is finalized. Dual tracking is illegal under federal law (and some state regulations). As a result, you can continue to reside in the house while the servicer considers your application. In most circumstances, you’ll be given a window of opportunity to appeal the judgment. You could even qualify for a loan modification, which would lower your monthly bill or provide an alternative to typical foreclosure.
But keep in mind that if the servicer has previously reviewed a loss mitigation application from you, you won’t be able to file another one solely to keep the foreclosure from happening. However, if you’ve brought your loan current since filing a comprehensive loss mitigation application and the servicer examined that application, the servicer is required by law to take a look at your application another time if you apply yet again.
You Can’t Afford Your Home
Most importantly, if you can’t make your mortgage payments and don’t want to keep your home, hiring an attorney to fight or prolong the foreclosure may be a waste of time, effort, and money. Instead, you may use that money to locate a new place to live.
To speak with a foreclosure defense attorney, contact The Elmer Law Firm L.L.C. We provide foreclosure attorney services in Jasper and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.