Although the housing market has improved in the wake of the Great Recession, many American families are still fighting to save their homes. According to RealtyTrac, a real estate information company, over nine hundred thousand U.S. properties are currently in some stage of the foreclosure process. Depending on where you live, the process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. One thing is for certain, however: if you do nothing to stop it, you will lose your home!
If you have missed one or more mortgage payments, your lender has the right to issue a notice of default. If ignored, this document will be used as proof that you have defaulted on your mortgage loan. The next step the lender will most likely take is to file a complaint in court, thereby initiating the foreclosure process. The court will then send you a copy of the complaint and give you a few weeks to answer it. At this point, it is imperative that you contact a foreclosure attorney.
In addition to representing you in court, an experienced attorney can attempt to negotiate an alternative settlement that does not end with the lender seizing your property. It is important to remember that banks and mortgage companies have little interest in acquiring real estate. Since maintaining and selling these foreclosed abodes can be costly, they generally lose money on the deal. As a result, they often prefer to keep the homeowner in place. The only exception is when the property owner refuses to work with them. This is where a lawyer comes in.
After your foreclosure attorney peruses the terms and conditions of your mortgage agreement, he or she will immediately attempt to open the lines of communication with your lender. This vital first step can go a long way toward helping the other side understand your personal and financial situation. Perhaps you were injured in an accident and missed work, or maybe you were going through a divorce and had a hard time making ends meet. Whatever the issue, the lender may be more amenable to an arrangement that does not involve a foreclosure if your attorney can convince them that you can make future payments.
While there is no guarantee that a foreclosure attorney will be able to keep you in your home, the odds are inestimably better than if you go at it alone. Why? For one thing, a homeowner who hires a lawyer demonstrates that they are taking the process seriously. By comparison, banks and mortgage companies have little patience for customers who miss payments and ignore all attempts at communication.
How can someone who cannot afford to pay their mortgage afford a foreclosure attorney? The good news is that these lawyers rarely charge excessive fees for their services. Depending on how much work they put into a case, attorneys typically charge anywhere from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. That’s not a huge cost, when you consider that they’re working to save your home!