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.
For more information on related topics check out:
Who Says Life’s Not Fair? Two Things to Know About the Fairness Act
Okay. Okay. So, life’s not fair. It’s true. However, when things come around like the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act, life seems to seem a little fairer, a little brighter. This act or law helps bring homeowners back from the brink of foreclosure by forcing lenders to enter into face to face negotiations. There are two things to remember about the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act:
1) You MUST have representation to advocate for you. You cannot make use of the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act without good representation. Why? Because you must have someone ( your attorney/representation) make a referral on your behalf so that Washington State commerce stops the foreclosure long enough for you to enter into negotiations with the bank’s lawyers. The reason you can’t do it yourself without an attorney is because they want you to be prepared. This is an adversarial process. The attorneys on the other side are not there to help you, therefore it’s imperative to have someone there who is.
2) It often takes more than just one meeting. The Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act actually only provides for one three hour mediation session, but it usually takes two or three of these sessions. In these sessions your attorney presents a package to your bank’s lawyers and lets them know how much you make for a living and what you can afford. They then negotiate back and forth until an agreement is made.
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Surprisingly most people in Washington state don’t even realize that they can qualify for a mortgage modification or mediation. Mortgage payment each month is causing you more and more stress or you’re simply not able to make the payment, there are options. Washington state has Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Act, which was implemented several years ago helps Washington homeowners modify their existing mortgage in order to stay in their home.
Like to stay in your home there are options but there are also qualifications. Banks will not tell homeowners that there are options oftentimes considered a better “dirty little secret”. Banks have not financially incentivized homeowners to modify their loan in most cases, and this is where a mortgage lender needs to come into play. Homeowners cannot modify their own mortgage unless the letter asking for a straight refinance. Often, homeowners that are already struggling making their mortgage payment cannot qualify for refinance. This is where attorneys such as Advantage Legal Group can come into play. Attorneys or housing counselors must modify and mediate the mortgage refinance or modification on behalf of the homeowner. This really is the only caveat and can be difficult for a lot of homeowners to understand. Often get asked why they cannot simply go to their bank and ask for modification on their own. But with Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Act, there is a moderator on behalf of the homeowner that can handle and facilitate the moderation between the homeowner and the bank.
The downside is that the only way to qualify is to actually stop paying your mortgage. While this is often the case for a lot of homeowners, some may find it difficult to do so without food and utilities in order to make the mortgage payment. This is where the moderator needs to step in and provide alternate options. Once the homeowner is unable to pay and this is a payment, they can trigger events under the current law which provides the homeowner an option to elect to enter into mortgage mediation. The homeowner will receive the “Notice of Pre-Foreclosure Options” and after this will have 30 days to respond to elect to request a meeting with the bank in order to discuss the situation, however, this must be done with a moderator as in a housing counselor or attorney. You can meet with the bank on your own but homeowners cannot request mortgage mediation by themselves. This mediation can only be requested through a HUD counselor or mortgage mediation attorney.
(See How Advantage Can Help You)
- In order to qualify the homeowner must complete the package for loan modification including submitting paycheck stubs, budget, documents that the loan servicer requests and a hardship letter stating why you are unable to make their mortgage payment.
- The property must be the primary residence, meaning it cannot be an investment or rental property.
- Homeowners to choose modification if they are unable to refinance. Allows a temporary briefing room to get through financial hardship.
- Homeowners must also have adequate debt to income ratio. Lenders prefer as low as 36% but can go as high as 45%.
If you’re concerned you may not qualify contact Advantage Legal Group today to discuss your options! You might be surprised at how affordable a mortgage modification really is, even through an attorney. And of course, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you can keep your home.