If you decide to hire a law firm to defend your Mortgage Foreclosure, what should you expect?
The primary goal of the defense should be:
- Get an agreement with the lender not to pursue a deficiency judgment
- Or if you are upside-down in the property,
- Cancel the Promissory Note and have them take back the property or
- Cancel the Promissory Note and have them accept a short Sale
A secondary benefit to a Mortgage Foreclosure defense is time. Right now, in Florida at least, it takes approximately 18 months from the filing of a foreclosure action to its final resolution. However, that time period is starting to increase, and time is your friend when you are in this situation. The longer the foreclosure suit drags on, the more pain both the law firm and the lender feels. The law firm feels pain, because many times their fees are tied to how quickly they can bring the action to a close. The longer it takes, the more likely it is that the lender will make a deal.
It’s also taking longer for lenders to agree to short sales. This is because the lender apparently believes that they can get more for the property by taking it back, then selling it themselves, rather than accept what a short sale buyer is willing to pay, which many times is the most accurate measure of the true current value of the property.
Another reason these cases are taking longer is the disintegration of several law firms that represent the lenders. First David Stern’s Office, and now the firm of Ben-Ezra & Katz have come under investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Office, and have been removed from the list of approved law firms for Fannie Mae. This means that each one of the loan servicers must find a new law firm to handle thousands of cases. There have been numerous reports of attorneys not appearing for hearings, and lenders who cannot be contacted. It takes time for a law firm to receive the file from the old firm, familiarize themselves with the case, and hire new staff and attorneys to handle these cases. This means that foreclosures will take longer to complete, and may be dismissed entirely.
So look for an aggressive law firm, who’s willing to fight for you to stay in your home as long as possible. One that’s on the forefront of the fight.