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Defense Against Foreclosure

Defense Against Foreclosure

Defense Against Foreclosure

Defending Against Foreclosure

If you are facing the loss of your home or fear that you may soon be facing a foreclosure, a law firm can help you to develop a strategy that may include defending against the foreclosure, negotiating a modification, refinance, short sale, or implementing a strategic default plan.  A Foreclosure Defense Law Firm assists clients in all stages of the pre-foreclosure and foreclosure process.

30 Days to Respond

It is important to act or seek assistance as soon as possible to ensure that you do not lose some of the many options you have when faced with a foreclosure.  There are deadlines in the foreclosure process as well as certain requirements that the banks must follow, in order to successfully foreclose on a home.  Once you are served with a summons and complaint from the bank, you have only thirty days to respond and defend against the foreclosure.

Defenses to Foreclosure

Challenge a foreclosure by bringing a defense such as unconscionability or lender mistake.  Homeowners and their attorneys are challenging foreclosure actions in many different ways.  Here are some of the most common defenses to foreclosure.

How to Raise a Defense to Foreclosure

Courts are sympathetic to challenges to foreclosure actions; attorneys are raising many different types of defenses.  Below is a description of the most common of these.

Common Foreclosure Defenses

  • The Terms of the Mortgage Are Unconscionable – It usually is not enough to simply claim that the foreclosure is unfair; rather, you have to come up with a specific justification for your position that has previously been recognized by the courts.

  • You Are a Service member on Active Duty – If a foreclosure is initiated while you are on active duty, you can automatically receive a nine-month postponement.

  • The Foreclosing Party Did not Follow State Procedures – If your challenge is successful, the court will issue an order requiring the foreclosing party to start over.

  • The Foreclosing Party Can’t Prove It Owns the Mortgage- If your mortgage has been sold and bought by many different banks, lenders, and investors, proving just who owns it can be difficult for the last holder in the chain.

  • The Original Lender Engaged in Unfair Lending Practices- You may be able to fight your foreclosure by proving that your lender violated a federal or state law.  Lenders violate TILA law when they do not make certain disclosures in the mortgage documents, including the annual percentage rate, the finance charge, the amount financed, the total payments, the payment schedule, and more.

  • The right to rescind the loan – the key remedy in foreclosure actions is the borrower’s ability to retroactively cancel or rescind the loan.

  • State-law remedies for “high-cost” loans – A few states have special protections for people facing foreclosure on “high-cost” mortgages.

  • The Mortgage Servicer Made a Serious Mistake – You may be able to challenge a foreclosure based on mistakes such as:

    • Crediting your payments to the wrong party.
    • Imposing excessive fees or fees not authorized.
    • Substantially overstating the amount you must pay to reinstate your mortgage.

To learn more about these defenses and other ways to avoid foreclosure contact a foreclosure Defense Lawyer.  A Foreclosure Defense Lawyer will:

  • Provide you with a free consultation
  • Review your documents and information
  • Outline a strategy to defend your home

Fear losing your home? Foreclosure looming?

Fear losing your home? Foreclosure looming?

You held out for this long but your lender has finally sent you the” letter.”  However, the letter talks about consumer debt counseling and mediation.  This is part of the Washington Foreclosure fairness act.  Lenders must inform you of your rights before a Foreclosure can be processed.  Bankruptcy is a valuable option to consider.  Understanding and knowing your options will help you to come out ahead.

Bankruptcies are on the decline?  You might think so as the economy recovers but bankruptcies are actually on the rise in many areas.  If you have recently been sent a letter from your bank or lending institution, it is time to contact an Attorney or consumer debt counselor that is recognized by the court system.

Whether you have been laid off, had medical issues with bills piling up, or just got in over your head with consumer debt, you are not alone.  Now you are afraid you are going to lose your home.  There are ways to help save your home.  Check out the New Washington program to help people just like you.  It is called the Washington foreclosure fairness act.  This act helps homeowners just like you to help are you negotiate with your lender.  It requires a wonder to notify you of the process before the foreclosure process starts.  The process includes consumer debt counseling and mediation with the lender.  You will need to have an Attorney or a debt counselor on your side to go into the mediation process.  Advantage legal group out of Bellevue can help you find your best option, walk you through the process, and hold your hand through the process.

It will become much clearer through the Washington foreclosure fairness act and with the aid of an attorney to be knowledgeable about your rights and responsibilities, and how to save your home.  First being in the mediation process actually stops the foreclosure.

Advantage Legal Group offers free seminars in Seattle and around the Puget Sound area.  These free seminars cover many options for distressed homeowners.  Knowing what options are available to you and what makes sense for your family will give you the confidence to go through the foreclosure process, mortgage mediation process, or short sales process.  These are only a few of the strategies that the seminar covers.  Understanding your financial situation and the types of strategies that are out there for you will help you to figure out your defense.  Is mortgage modification the option for you?  What is your best option, deed in lieu of foreclosure, mortgage modification, short sales, mortgage mediation, and what will your Foreclosure defense strategy be.

If after the seminar, you need more information Jonathan Smith a Seattle Bankruptcy  Attorney will schedule a free consultation with you to go over even more specific situations.

Additional Financial Resources:

 

Preventing Bankruptcies

Preventing Bankruptcies

We are in some unusual and unprecedented times right now but that doesn’t’ mean you can’t prepare and still have some time to plan.

People use the phrase “Practice good money management.”  However, what does this really mean?  Terms like impulse spending, realistic budgeting, and no high-risk investment are not part of the “good practice.”  Understanding what is good money management practices can help you in preventing bankruptcies.  Bankruptcy might be your only option but there are ways to prevent it.

How do you avoid impulse spending? 

  • Impulse spending is spending money on anything that is not a NEED.  Steps you can take to avoid impulse spending:
  • Cut up credit cards so you cannot use your credit.
  • Take your credit cards out of your wallet so you have time to think about a purchase you are going to make.
  • Ask yourself do I need this item or just want it.
  • Can I get this item somewhere else for less money?  Is an item available on Craigslist, E-bay, or a thrift store?
  • Discipline yourself to use credit only when you know you have money in the bank to pay off the total at the end of the month.
  • Tear up credit card offers.
  • Tear up credit card checks that your credit company sends in the mail.
  • If you have to use credit cards and you are not in a position to pay the total off at the end of the month pay more than the minimums.  If you can pay more than you put on the card that month.
    • Say you have$ 5000 in debt on a credit card and you bought $500 in stuff this month.  Pay $500 plus more when the bill comes.  This way you didn’t add anything to the card and if you did pay more then you are on your way to reducing the outstanding debt on the card.

What is Realistic Budgeting?

  • Write down what you pay each month for bills:  House payments, electricity, garbage, water, natural gas, home insurance, life insurance, medical insurance, car payment, cable, phone, internet, and whatever else is a reoccurring monthly expense.
    • Some expenses are every other month like garbage and natural gas.  Set aside an amount so that the total bill can be paid when it is due.  (If your natural gas bill is around 200 every other month set aside 100 on the month it is not due that will be used in the next month)
  • Budget for food, entertainment, gas, and misc. expenses
    • Know what your average spending is for food, entertainment, gas, and misc expenses.
    • Create a set amount (budget) for each category and stick to it.
      • This might take some collecting of receipts or writing down each purchase.
      • Some people have taken out money from their paycheck, put it in an envelope, and that is the money for food for the month.
      • Whatever will work for you, to stick to a set amount, and do it!

What are high- risk investments and how can I avoid them?     

  • Don’t incur debt with others who have questionable financial habits.
    • If they walk out on a debt your credit rating will be effected
    • Co-signing on loan is a high-risk investment – it might be helping a family or friend out but if anything happens to them, you are left holding the loan!
    • Interest-only loan payments are high-risk investments.  If you can only afford to make an interest-only home payment, then the house is out of your price range.

You may be looking at how to get out of debt and bankruptcy seems like the only way just remember these ideas so you will not have to file for bankruptcy again.  Contact advantagelegalgroup.com for more help.

Schedule a Consultation

 

Additional Financial Resources:

 

What Happens if the Bank Forecloses on My Short Sale?

What Happens if the Bank Forecloses on My Short Sale?

It happens quite often…more than you realize…that a home in process of a short sale is foreclosed on. It is a common misconception that the lender won’t file a foreclosure lawsuit against you if you are currently in the process of negotiating a short sale or loan modification.

Example:

Debbie lists her home for a short sale in November and receives a contract from a buyer. While waiting for the bank’s approval, at the end of April gets served with foreclosure papers. How can this be if she has a contract on the property?

It can be. And again, it is quite common. You should expect to get served with a foreclosure lawsuit four months or so after you stop making mortgage payments. When you try to complete a short sale, it more often than not takes a month or two to get it under contract and 45 to 90 days to get approval from the lender. If you fail to respond to the foreclosure within 20 days, you will be in default and will have waived valuable rights in defending the lawsuit in case the short sale falls through. It is recommended that you see an attorney about responding to the lawsuit.

With the right and proper sequence of actions, it is possible to get foreclosure postponed so that you can successfully short sale your home. It takes knowing when and how to be proactive.  Advantage Legal Group can help you determine the best course of action for your foreclosure situation.

For more information on mortgage mediation, foreclosure, short sales, bankruptcy and all things related to personal finance, check out Bellevue Bankruptcy Blog. These topics and issues can be confusing and stressful, but help is available! Contact us today!

More tips on Short Sales:

 

Defined Contribution Plans Offer Employees Great Retirement Potential

As a business owner, if you work with federal contracts, you already know that the landscape is riddled with potential compliance landmines. The government is very focused on compliance with all of the provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act. One area that companies often find troublesome relates to Defined Contribution Plans.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) covers two types of pension plans: defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. A defined benefit plan promises a specified monthly benefit at retirement while a defined contribution plan, does not promise a specific amount of benefits at retirement.

For you the business owner, that is an important distinction.  Often, contract employees might not understand that while the amount of money contributed by the employer, the employee or both is set as a percentage of total earnings, the fund is an investment and returns are subject to market related gains or losses.

What are Defined Contribution Plans? Well, two commonly known plans are 401(k) and 403(b) plans. Profit-sharing plans and employee stock ownership plans are also listed in this category.

In essence, individual accounts are set up for participants. The amount of benefit is determined by salary percentages and may come from contributions made by the employee or the employer. The yield of this kind of program is determined by the success of the investment earnings and is not guaranteed to grow. In fact, the principle values may actually be lessened if market trends are poor.

There are tremendous benefits for companies that use contracted labor, but compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act is essential for attaining and maintaining government contracts. Defined Contribution Plans are a great way of offering employees the potential for growth in their retirement accounts.

 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Mortgage Mediation or Foreclosure?

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Mortgage Mediation or Foreclosure?

Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Mortgage Mediation or Foreclosure? – If your lender has failed to approve previous effort to modify your loan, often mediation is the best way to go. What is mediation? Foreclosure mediation is a meeting where a homeowner and mortgage lender negotiate potential modifications or other alternatives before an impartial Judge in an attempt to reach an agreement. And this kind of mediation requires the expertise of a lawyer.

Related: What to Expect in a Bank-Owned Home

Why hire a lawyer? The most common question asked when someone is facing foreclosure is, “What will give me the best chance to avoid this?” Although circumstances involved always vary greatly, the answer ALWAYS remains the same. And that answer is this, ” to fully and most completely use all your rights and remedies including foreclosure defense, loan modification, mortgage mediation, and bankruptcy, you MUST be represented by a foreclosure lawyer…an EXPERT foreclosure lawyer.”

Schedule a Consultation

You need a lawyer with TONS of experience and you need one NOW.  So, be sure to ask your potential representation how long they’ve been representing clients like you, how long their practice has been devoted to foreclosure prevention and then review evaluations of recent clients.  Remember, get to work on this immediately as delay, indecision and denial are the enemies of foreclosure prevention.

Beware of scams and make sure your lawyer is an expert. Anyone who generally guarantees they’ll save your home is either a scam artist or ignorant or both. Additionally, the person at the bank may be a brand new hire who knows nothing or someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. Either way, the next time you call, you may get the new hire. You want an expert, the same expert, and throughout the whole process.

An expert can help you understand the debt and tax consequences of a short sale, protect you from pitfalls and scams, assure you that, should foreclosure happen, you have the right to stay in your home for as long as your rights and remedies allow and enable you to plan where you’ll live next without fear of the sheriff showing up and ordering you to leave. An expert lawyer can also, in most cases, help you to be debt-free when you leave should foreclosure be inevitable in your case. And of course, an expert lawyer can help you come to an agreement with your lender that avoids foreclosure altogether.

Yes, these kinds of lawyers can be expensive but hiring an expert almost always benefits you not only financially but emotionally. The benefit of avoiding the loss of your home is obvious. But should you lose your home, remember, as mentioned before, there are pitfalls and scams to avoid and knowledge to be learned about debt and taxes that come with certain mediation agreements.

To contact an expert representative today, visit Advantage Legal Group.

Schedule a Consultation

Will Bankruptcy Mean I Have to Give up My House?

Will Bankruptcy Mean I Have to Give up My House?

Will Bankruptcy Mean I Have to Give up My House? – A common question weighing on the minds of those who are still making mortgage payments on their home and facing bankruptcy is “will I have to give up my home?” The answer to this lies in understanding the options available to your unique situation. It is possible to keep your home when filing bankruptcy if you meet necessary requirements.

To protect your home during bankruptcy, be aware of how much equity you have in your home and how you can protect that equity. If you’re making mortgage payments, you may have a certain amount of equity that’s exempt. This means a creditor can’t NOT touch this amount to satisfy debts you owe. Every state has a specific level or amount of “homestead exemption” which allows homeowners protection against debtors.

This homestead exemption is protection at the state level. However, there may also be help available at the federal level. Sometimes, if your state allows it AND you qualify, you may be able to use both kinds of exemptions( the state and the federal). A good example would be that if your state exemption protects you up to a certain level, then the federal exemption, often referred to as a wild card exemption, can protect your remaining equity. You may also be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are other exemptions available for items such as household goods, jewelry, vehicles, retirement accounts, and other personal assets.

Take heart. In most cases, you will not lose your home or even your car for that matter as long as your equity is fully exempt. Even if your property is not fully exempt you may be able to keep it if you pay its non-exempt value to the creditors.

However, be aware that if you’ve ever put your home up as collateral for a debt, then that creditor has a “security interest” in your home that does not go away with bankruptcy. If you’re unable to pay that interest, this creditor can repossess your home during or after bankruptcy.

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What to Do After Filing for Personal Bankruptcy

What to Do After Filing for Personal Bankruptcy

Many people feel like absolute failures after filing for bankruptcy. Therefore, you may be surprised to learn that it’s actually becoming more and more common and that YOU’RE NOT ALONE.  Bankruptcy happens to the answer for many debtors who simply need a fresh start. Now, the question is, “what do I do now to ensure future financial health?”

The first thing to do is decide what made you have to go bankrupt in the first place and keep that from happening again by setting a budget in place or some other plan that can keep history from repeating itself. You may also want to set some goals such as paying off debt or rebuilding your credit. Good credit will take time to acquire but by paying off your credit cards monthly, your credit can dramatically improve in under a decade.

Probably the most important thing to do is think positively. It may be difficult to obtain credit after bankruptcy but it’s not impossible. Many lenders are willing to give people a second chance. Additionally, working with a professional who offers services to help with debt and finance can help you through the recovery process.

A professional can also help a debtor decide if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is best for them. So, if you’re currently deciding whether to file for bankruptcy contact a professional today. Chapter 7 bankruptcies can be resolved in months whereas Chapter 13 bankruptcies allow debtors to set up a court-ordered payment plan. Plain and simple, bankruptcy can be the best way for a debtor to regain control of their financial life and get a fresh start.

Additional Financial Resources:

Better options than a huge down payment

How long will a bankruptcy keep me from buying a home?

8 Smart Money Moves to Make Now

Are All Debts forgiven in bankruptcy?

How do I Start a Bankruptcy?

Is Bankruptcy Embarrassing?

The Foreclosure Fairness Act

The Foreclosure Fairness Act

The Foreclosure Fairness Act

A little known law helps protect homeowners from foreclosure even when their situation may seem dire. The Department of Commerce is trying to spread the word about this law and Advantage Legal is here to help.

The Washington State Department of Commerce put out a press release to let people know about this Act that helps primary residential owners go into mediation with banks via a counselor or lawyer and look at alternatives to foreclosure. It’s a great way for homeowners to get help without the frustration of getting lost in the paperwork.

What is the Foreclosure Fairness Act?

“The Foreclosure Fairness Program provides homeowner foreclosure assistance by offering free housing counseling, civil legal aid, and foreclosure mediation. The program, created by the 2011 Foreclosure Fairness Act, helps homeowners and lenders explore possible alternatives to foreclosure and reach a resolution whenever possible. The Act requires lenders to notify homeowners, prior to initiating foreclosure, of the availability of foreclosure counseling and the potential for mediation, and to participate in mediation with homeowners who have been referred to the Mediation Program. The program is funded through fees paid by financial institutions recording notices of trustee sale on owner-occupied residential real property in Washington state (some financial institutions are exempt from this fee).” [Source]

 

This Act is huge for homeowners who are scared of losing their home or frustrated with the process of trying to save it. This Act along with experts like those at Advantage Legal Group brings happiness and relief to many Washington families.

Each individual case is different but the Foreclosure Fairness Act and Advantage Legal were able to help one particular family who hasn’t paid their mortgage since March of 2015 and their unpaid amount plus their principal balance totaled approximately $511,488, with the help of the Act and Advantage Legal they were forgiven the amount of $256,488. WOW! That’s forgiveness of almost half of what they owed. They were also able to get their monthly payment cut almost in half and their interest rate went from 8% down to 5%.

These kinds of results are almost impossible to get on your own without the help of experts like Advantage Legal.  If you’re not sure if you qualify under this law,  you can go to advantagelegal.com or call their office at 1-877-mediation to get a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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For more information on related topics check out:

Should I File Bankruptcy?

What If I’m a Year Behind in My Mortgage Payments?

 

How Quickly Can I Recover from a Bankruptcy?

How Quickly Can I Recover from a Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision. If you are considering bankruptcy or if you have been through it, there is probably just one question on your mind: “How quickly can I recover from  bankruptcy?”

There are many factors that contribute to the time you will spend mending your credit. The first step you should take is to carefully examine what you have coming in each month from any source.  Tally up what you are obligated to spend for basic living. Then, get some help if you need it and create a workable cash flow budget that ensures that you can begin living within your means. Keep all of your receipts, especially those that show on-time payments.

Spend some time looking at all three of your scores from the major credit rating services. Look for any mistakes in balances owed or payment records. Correct any errors by challenging the incorrect reports and once you have set the record straight, continue to monitor these reports on a regular basis.

It may be helpful to reestablish credit when possible, but be very careful with big-ticket purchases that have little or no resale value.  In other words, buying a good used car on a monthly plan is preferred by lenders over consumers buying plasma TVs.  The car has a greater resale value and can be easily sold if you hit a hard spot. A plasma TV might be entertaining, but loses a  large percentage of its value the moment you walk out of the store.

In general, use the old adage: “If the blanket isn’t long enough, don’t stretch it out so far.”  Use layaway plans instead of paying high fees and interest rates on sub-standard credit cards.  Over time, fewer purchases paid on time is more impressive than a large debt poorly serviced. The sooner you show your ability to make and keep commitments, the sooner your bankruptcy will be behind you.

Read More on Bankruptcy Myths

Overall, most people will face a 3-5 year journey out of bankruptcy. It can be shortened by an individual commitment to making payments on time and keeping an eagle eye on their credit reports. Once out of the bind you found yourself in, pat yourself on the back and commit to never going back to the courts for relief!

Want more help on Bankruptcy in your area? Contact the Advantage Legal Group for all mortgage modification and foreclosure assistance. Advantage Legal Group is your source for helping you file bankruptcy and then recouping and planning for the future. Call us for Mortgage Mediation and all questions regarding foreclosures and bankruptcy.

 

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Additional:

How to Make a Relocation as Stress-Free as Possible

How to Say Goodbye to Renting and Hello to Buying

New Therapy May Help with Mortgage Defaults

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    You held out for this long but your lender has finally sent you the” letter.”  However, the letter talks about consumer debt counseling and mediation.  This is part of the Washington Foreclosure fairness act.  Lenders must inform you of your rights before a Foreclosure can be processed.  Bankruptcy is a valuable option to consider.  Understanding […]Read More »
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