If you missed the previous installments of this series, read Part I and Part II. Go on, I'll wait :)
Attorney Jane Roach Maughan wrapped up the presentation at the REALTOR meeting, focusing her time on the foreclosure issue and how home owners can avoid losing their home. Obviously, having attorney representation from the very beginning stages is something she recommends, and from listening to what she had to say, I agree with her...there are many situations that can be leveraged on a homeowner's behalf.
"Foreclosure is Highly Defensible"
What a great lead in to her discussion! She definitely had the attention of every real estate agent in the room when she said that foreclosures are highly defensible, meaning there are many ways to stave off foreclosure, control the amount of money at issue, and/or buy homeowners time when mortgage default is unavoidable. Additionally, it is feasible to get a better interest rate on your loan and/or lower the principle balance of the mortgage thereby lowering your monthly mortgage payment.
How to Avoid Foreclosure
Attorney Maughan outlined several ways she has helped home owners who face foreclosure avoid losing their property. These include:
Equity/Fairness Defense: Advocating for what's fair to you is your attorney's first job
Challenges to the calculation of penalties and late fees
Challenges to the paperwork of foreclosure: oftentimes, she says, the legally required notices are not filled out properly.
Truth in Lending Defense: She advises, read the
Truth in Lending Statement provided at your closing and compare it to the foreclosure notices, your mortgage document recorded in the courthouse and other paperwork involved in the orignal transaction. Oftentimes there is conflicting information that can be used to your advantage.
The Ultimate Stall Tactic: Produce the Note
This last bit of advice was the highlight of of the presentation as far as I am concerned. She began with an exercise to illustrate the complicated nature of the whole mortgage mess, passing papers, the ' mortgage notes,' around the room to people representing the lender, the borrower, the securities traders, and the loan servicers. By the end of the exercise, no one knew who had their 'note.' The complicated nature of the secondary mortgage market can be a distressed homeowner's lifeline.
Because the notes associated with most mortgages had been packaged with other loans and sold as a commodity over and over again, the documents are often hard to find. Requesting your lender or loan servicer to 'produce the note,' as proof of the debt, can put the breaks on foreclosure in many instances.
Since the presentation by Attorney Maughan, this tactic has made it to prime time news. You may have seen coverage and explanation of the Produce the Note foreclosure stall:
Other "Produce the Note" Resources Attorney Jane Roach Maughan 726 Ann Street
Stroudsburg, Pa 18360
570.421.7009 Email Attorney Maughan The Poconos Real Estate Blog, Lisa Sanderson & Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates are not licensed attorneys and offer this for informational purposes only and not as legal advice. Everyone's situation is different and a consultation with an attorney is recommended to ensure all your legal rights are protected. If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure, short sale or other issues pertaining to your mortgage, please be pro-active by contacting the appropriate advisors early on - it will make you feel better and may even save your home!