You are behind on mortgage payments. You come home and find a notice taped to your door. It says that you are officially in default and foreclosure proceedings have started. It recommends that you find a foreclosure attorney.
You pull open the computer and search for a “foreclosure attorney near me.”
What can a foreclosure attorney do for you?
A foreclosure attorney can:
- Help you understand the government programs that may assist you with foreclosure prevention
- Counsel you about your situation to determine whether the loan modification process can help you keep your home and stop foreclosure
- Counsel you about other types of loss mitigation options that may help you stop foreclosure
- Help you understand how foreclosure laws may protect you
- Help you understand whether bankruptcy is the right option to help you stop foreclosure
- Help you understand whether you are facing a judicial foreclosure or a non-judicial foreclosure.
- Help you understand the timeline of your foreclosure process and how much time you have
- Help you build a tailored plan for your particular situation
Do I need to find a foreclosure attorney near me?
The short answer to this question is: yes and no.
It’s important to retain a foreclosure attorney in the state where you live in order to get the best representation.
Foreclosure laws are dictated by the state in which you live.
There are some lawyers who are licensed to practice in multiple states but sometimes, the type of representation you get with an out of state lawyer will be less tailored to your specific goals and needs.
An attorney in your state will:
Understand the state-specific foreclosure protections that may apply to your situation (like foreclosure mediation!)
- Understand the market issues impacting your home’s equity and selling conditions (this is particularly important if you want to try and sell your home as a last resort option to avoid foreclosure)
- Understand your particular state’s type of foreclosure and the foreclosure timelines at play (some states have judicial foreclosures and others have non-judicial foreclosures and some states have both)
- Be in the same time zone as you. Communication is a huge part of effective foreclosure defense representation. Being able to get in touch with your attorney is a big part of feeling like you hired the right party.
While you should retain an attorney that is in your state, you do not necessarily have to retain an attorney that is in your town
Since state laws are the same regardless of the city or town you live in, it works fine to retain an attorney that is in your state, but not specifically in your town.
It can feel weird to hire an attorney that doesn’t live in the same city as you but for purposes of loss mitigation, it doesn’t matter.
I work with most clients now almost exclusively remotely.
We use email, fax, phone, Zoom and Skype to communicate. If there ends up being an in-person Mediation session, I drive to the session (of course) but most of these sessions are now being held remotely via Zoom and will continue to stay this way.
Loss Mitigation reviews (for loan modifications or short sales etc.) often happen in the same manner, no matter what state you live in
90% of all mortgages are backed by a government investor (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA or USDA). These guidelines are the same across the country and do not change depending on what state you live in.
So, while states govern the actual foreclosure process, what will happen in your loss mitigation review, what you qualify for, and what your mortgage servicer can offer you is determined by the investor on your mortgage not your individual state’s laws.
For example, a Fannie Mae mortgage worked by Mr. Cooper in Oklahoma will have the same guidelines governing a loan modification review as a Fannie Mae mortgage worked by Mr. Cooper in Washington.
So, if your goal is to apply for a loan modification, short sale, deed in lieu or some other type of loss mitigation review – if your attorney is in your state but not necessarily in your town, it’s okay.
I work with homeowners all over Washington State
Here are a few of the cities where my clients live:
Eastern Washington cities: Spokane, Yakima, Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Wenatchee, Walla Walla, Dayton, Cheney, Moses Lake, and more.
Western Washington cities: Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Kent, Everett, Renton, Federal Way, Auburn, Lakewood, Longview, Castle Rock, Aberdeen, and more.
Paul thought he needed a “foreclosure attorney near me” but he ended up working with me while living on the other side of the state
Paul was almost a year behind on mortgage payments to Select Portfolio Servicing.
He needed a loan modification so he could resume making regular payments without having to pay the year’s worth of missed payments.
Because Paul was self-employed SPS kept rejecting his income during the application process for the loan modification.
SPS kept telling him that his profit and loss statement “wasn’t sufficient” and he couldn’t figure out why.
Once Paul retained me, we were able to identify what the problem actually was. SPS was having an issue not with the profit and loss statement itself but how the income was actually being deposited into the business bank account. They were not communicating with Paul clearly.
We fixed the issue and Paul’s modification application got approved.
We worked together using fax, phone, and email communication. Paul chose to meet me on Zoom just so he could see my face (which I’m always happy to do).
I helped him find a notary in his area when it came time to notarize final documents and he fully executed his loan modification.
Here are some questions to help you determine whether you need a “foreclosure attorney near me”
- Can I find an attorney in my state familiar with state foreclosure procedures?
- Am I able to communicate remotely with an attorney via fax, phone and email?
- Is the person I’m talking to actually licensed and located in my state somewhere?
Answering these questions will help you hire the right person.
There are many companies offering to “help” homeowners in foreclosure who are actually scamming people.
One sign that you may be talking to a company that does not actually have your best interests in mind is that they may be located in a different state. This isn’t always the case but it’s something to be aware of.
If you are a homeowner in Washington state and are looking for a foreclosure attorney near you, feel free to give me a call at (425) 654-1674.
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