If you’re behind on mortgage payments, you may be wondering how a real estate foreclosure attorney can help you.
What is a Real Estate Foreclosure Attorney?
A real estate foreclosure attorney can:
- Help you understand the government programs that can help you prevent foreclosure
- 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
My client searched for a real estate foreclosure attorney and this is what happened
John came to me about four payments behind on his mortgage. He had just received a Notice of Default taped to his door from Wells Fargo.
He wanted to keep the home if it was possible. But he was not able to make a full four months worth of payments. He was open to selling the property as a last resort if he was not able to keep the home but he didn’t know whether he needed to list it for sale now or whether there was something else he could do first.
As it turns out, John was eligible for foreclosure mediation but he didn’t know that.
After his initial consultation, he walked away with a clear plan about his next steps.
- File for mediation to stop the foreclosure activity
- Apply for and negotiate loss mitigation through the mediation process to see if home retention was available
We went through the loss mitigation review and got John approved for a loan modification. John’s income was steady, he qualified for a loan modification and was able to resume regular mortgage payments.
We kept mediation open during his trial payment period so that no foreclosure activity moved forward.
He was able to keep his home!
In this situation, a real estate foreclosure attorney helped him know which laws protected him and how to use them to apply for home retention. I was also able to prevent John from making a mistake and listing his property when he didn’t have to.
It can be confusing to know how much time you have once you’re facing foreclosure – John had much more time than he thought which we were able to take advantage of to be able to retain the home.
A real estate foreclosure attorney should be able to help you with all the services below:
- Loan Modification: A loan modification is a new loan with new terms that allows you to resume mortgage payments without having to pay everything you owe all at once. Usually, your missed mortgage payments get added to your total principal balance and become due at the maturity date of the loan. It is common for loan modifications to offer reductions in interest rates, extended maturity dates, and sometimes – they lower the monthly mortgage payments.
- Repayment Plan: A repayment plan is an agreement that allows you to resume your regular mortgage payment and pay an extra amount on top of your mortgage payment until you’ve paid back all your missed payments. Once you have paid everything back, you continue making your regular monthly mortgage payment.
- Forbearance: A forbearance gives you a temporary break in having to pay your mortgage. Once approved for a forbearance, you are allowed to stop payments for the approved months without the lender taking foreclosure action against you.
- COVID-19 Deferral Agreement: For those of you who were placed on a COVID-19 Forbearance plan (and have Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as your investor), you may be able to receive a deferral agreement which takes the amount of payments you missed during your forbearance and defers the amount owed to the maturity date of your loan so you can just resume your regular payment.
- Partial Claim COVID Transition Option: For those of you who were placed on a COVID-19 Forbearance plan (and have FHA as your investor), you may be able to receive a partial claim agreement which takes the amount of payments you missed during your forbearance and defers the amount owed to the maturity date of your loan so you can just resume your regular payment.
- Short Sale: A short sale allows you to sell an underwater property for less than what is owed on the mortgage. Your mortgage lender approves the sale and then typically waives the deficiency balance (the remaining amount owed) so you can sell your home and move on without owing the remaining balance.
- Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure: A deed in lieu of foreclosure is an agreement between yourself and your mortgage lender where you sign a document giving the house back to the bank in exchange for the bank agreeing not to foreclose on you.
- Reinstatement Support: If you’re behind on payments and want to pay everything back that you owe at one time, this is called a reinstatement. The process can be complicated as there can be many different parties involved.
If you’re a Washington state homeowner and would like to speak with a real estate foreclosure attorney, feel free to give me a call at (425) 654-1674.