If you’re behind on mortgage payments or facing foreclosure, you may be looking for a real estate attorney.
“Real estate attorney” is a very broad term. Real estate attorneys deal with many different kinds of legal issues such as:
- Property boundary disputes
- Purchase and Sale Agreement issues
- Escrow / Closing issues
- Advising on sale terms
- Nuisance Issues
- Homeowners Association or Condo Association Issues
If you’re a financially stressed homeowner who is looking for help with your mortgage lender, “real estate attorney” may not help you find what you’re looking for.
The type of attorney you need are usually referred to as:
- Mortgage attorneys
- Foreclosure attorneys
- Foreclosure defense attorneys
- Mortgage relief attorneys
These types of attorneys are technically “real estate attorneys” but they’re more specialized and focused on how they can help you with your mortgage lender.
So, if you have a mortgage issue, and you have found a real estate attorney you like, may sure they can do these things:
Identify the government programs that focus on foreclosure prevention
More than 90% of all mortgages are backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA or USDA.
If you have one of these investors on your loan and have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, there may be programs available to help you stop foreclosure.
Determine whether the loan modification process can help you keep your home and stop foreclosure
A mortgage modification (or a loan modification) is one way to stop the foreclosure process and keep your home.
A loan modification attorney should be able to speak with you about your individual financial situation to help you know whether you stand a good shot at being approved for a loan modification.
They will also explain to you what the process looks like so you know what to expect.
Through a negotiation with your servicer, you get approved to resume making regular mortgage payments without having to pay everything you owe at once.
This agreement (the loan modification) stops the foreclosure process and gets you caught up on your mortgage.
Describe the range of loss mitigation options that may help you stop foreclosure
If you’re not interested in keeping the home, there are other types of loss mitigation options (and foreclosure alternatives) to help you get out of the home. Options like short sales or deed lieu options may be available to you.
Help you understand the foreclosure laws that may protect you
There are both federal and state laws that may be able to help you.
For homeowners in Washington State, you may be eligible for Foreclosure Mediation under the Foreclosure Fairness Act law. This is a government help program designed to stop foreclosure so you can communicate directly with your bank.
Alternatively, if you think your lender has done something wrong, you may want to consider filing a wrongful foreclosure lawsuit or a predatory lending lawsuit against your bank using the foreclosure litigation process.
There are also ways to use the civil litigation process to sue your bank under federal laws like RESPA, TILA, the FDCPA and the CFPB. .
Help you understand whether you are facing a judicial foreclosure or a non-judicial foreclosure
There are two types of foreclosure proceedings, judicial and non-judicial. Judicial foreclosures happen through the court system. Non-judicial foreclosures happen outside the court system through a series of foreclosure notices.
Based on what type of foreclosure process you’re facing, an attorney will advise on whether you will have a deficiency judgment against you in the event your foreclosure moves forward.
Consulting with an attorney will help you know what type of foreclosure you’re facing, what types of notices will be coming your way and what the process will look like from start to finish.
Help you understand the timeline of your foreclosure process and how much time you have
It is important to understand how much time you have before the foreclosure auction of your home. Depending on how far along you are in the foreclosure process, different options may be available to you. An attorney can help you understand which options you have time for and which you don’t.
Build a tailored plan for your particular situation
Because foreclosure has so many moving parts – an attorney is most helpful because they can put all the pieces together to build you a specific plan that applies to you to help you stop foreclosure, taking into consideration:
- your financial situation
- your desired goals
- your lender’s programs
- your foreclosure timeline
With so many moving parts, a consultation can help you feel settled, informed and ready for action.
Most importantly, represent you against your lender to help you resolve the issue and avoid foreclosure
A foreclosure defense attorney will be able to:
- Stay in constant communication with your servicer
- Know when and how to escalate a problematic matter to management
- Track your foreclosure status and keep you updated on your timeline
- Negotiate agreements to keep the home, lower monthly payments and interest rates
- Negotiate agreements to vacate the home and avoid a deficiency balance (short sale negotiation)
- Serve as a distressed sale manager as you sell your home for equity to avoid foreclosure
- Negotiate settlements for any additional liens on Title (or pull payoffs from additional creditors if negotiations are not feasible)
- Handle the reinstatement process until your loan is brought current
- Request and review payoff quotes from your mortgage lender
- Communicate with your foreclosure Trustee about your sale date and any potential foreclosure postponements
- Represent you in state-specific help programs like Foreclosure Mediation
- Keep you advised of all available options, back-up options and timeline considerations as you move through your plan to avoid foreclosure
If you hire a foreclosure litigator to represent you, they will file suit against your bank and help you sue them.
If you hire a bankruptcy attorney, they will be able to file your bankruptcy, stop your foreclosure, and help you navigate through the process until you reach your goals
Something to be aware of…
Companies that offer you a “foreclosure refinance” or an easy loan to stop foreclosure may be scamming you. These companies may not always be making you legitimate offers so be careful that you don’t get taken advantage of during a stressful time.
The reasons for speaking to a mortgage and foreclosure defense attorney when you’re in this situation because:
The consequences of foreclosure can be devastating…
They often include an auction of your property followed by a short move-out timeframe. As soon as you are aware that you are facing foreclosure proceedings, you should get some help.
If you are in Washington State and looking for legal service or a foreclosure attorney near you, please reach out to me at The Law Office of Nadia K. Kilburn: 425-654-1674.
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