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If you’re facing foreclosure, you may have been advised to hire an attorney who can help you through the process. Is this really necessary, though? What can an attorney do for you that you can’t do on your own during foreclosure proceedings? This is the type of thinking that many homeowners have once their lender has started the foreclosure process. It doesn’t usually take long before the homeowner then realizes that the foreclosure process is quite complex and that they should have hired an attorney. So, what will an attorney actually do for you if you’re facing foreclosure?
File a Notice of Appearance
A notice of appearance (NOA) tells the court and the lender that the attorney is representing you. Once it’s filed, all the communication and important documents pertaining to your foreclosure will be sent to your attorney, so you don’t have to deal with it directly. You also won’t have to act as the middle man between your lender and your attorney, which could cause things to get missed. An attorney will file this NOA for you, making life less stressful for you right from the beginning of your case.
Answer the Summons and Complaint
Florida is a judicial foreclosure state. This means that in order to foreclose on your home, your lender will have to first file a lawsuit against you. Once they file the lawsuit, you will be served a summons and complaint and become a defendant in the lawsuit. If you don’t respond to this summons and complaint, a default judgment will be issued against you, which means you will automatically lose your home.
However, you do have a certain amount of time to respond to this summons and complaint. When you respond, you are telling the court and your lender that you are prepared to fight the lawsuit using any number of foreclosure defenses. An attorney will not only prepare an answer to the summons and complaint, but they will also identify any mistakes within the complaint that you may not have noticed.
Appear at Settlement Conferences or Mediation
In Florida, homeowners can go through a settlement conference or mediation to come to an agreement with the lender and you to try and avoid foreclosure. When you hire a foreclosure defense attorney, they will attend these meetings either with you or on your behalf. This makes the entire process less stressful, because an attorney will act as your advocate and keep your best interests in mind the entire time. However, there’s another benefit to having an attorney by your side during these proceedings as well. There is a lot of work that must be done when you’re going through mediation or a settlement conference, and an attorney will do all of this for you.
Use Effective Foreclosure Defense Strategies
Florida foreclosure defense attorneys have the necessary skill and experience to use foreclosure defense strategies effectively. For example, an attorney will recognize when the lender lacks the standing to foreclose due to a wrong mortgage assignment. They will also recognize unfair lending practices and other missteps on the part of the lender that could save your home from foreclosure. These are just a few of the defenses an attorney will use, but all of them could possibly delay your foreclosure for years.
Save You from a Deficiency Judgment
If the lender forgives a portion of your debt but you still have a remaining balance at the end of the process, they could petition the courts for a deficiency judgment. This will hold you responsible for repaying any portion of the debt still owed.
For example, if you’re facing foreclosure, you may put your house up for a short sale. In this instance, another buyer would purchase your home for less than what you owe on the mortgage. In order to recover that amount of debt, the lender may pursue a deficiency judgment. This is very difficult for borrowers that are already in a bad financial position but have more money added to their total debt.
An attorney will understand how to avoid these deficiency judgments. In the short sale example, a lawyer will include in the short sale agreement that the lender waives the right to pursue a deficiency judgment. This will prevent you from having to pay more money at a time when you can’t even afford to keep your home. This will make a huge difference in your foreclosure case.
Assist with a Loan Modification
If you want to keep your home, you may be eligible for a loan modification. In this instance, you will negotiate with your lender to change the terms of your mortgage loan. The lender may change the length of your loan, your interest rate, or other terms to make your home loan more affordable and stop the foreclosure process. Loan modifications are not always easy to obtain, however, and you may not know how to negotiate to get the best terms. An attorney will know this, though, and will use that knowledge to get you the best deal possible.
Offer Good Advice
When you’re facing foreclosure, there are many routes you can take, and you may have many options. Without the experience of handling numerous foreclosure cases, you won’t know what these are, or which one is best for you. An attorney, however, can and will advise on what is best for your situation.
Do You Fear Losing Your Home? Our Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyers Can Help
If you’re going through the foreclosure process or you think you will soon lose your home, don’t think you have to go through it on your own. At Loan Lawyers, our Fort Lauderdale foreclosure defense attorneys know the defenses to use that can help save your home, and save you money, too. We have helped many homeowners in Florida avoid foreclosure and we want to help you, too. Call us today at (954) 523-HELP (4357) for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we may be able to help you.