Why hire a lawyer-part 1

One of the most common questions I get asked is “what is the point of hiring a lawyer to defend a foreclosure?” People (naturally) assume that if someone hasn’t paid their mortgage the jig is up and a speedy foreclosure is a foregone conclusion. This is a misconception that I will try to address through the next couple of posts.

The most important reason that I can think of to hire a lawyer is to gain more time during the foreclosure process. Once someone has been served with foreclosure papers the lawyers for the lender begin the process of propelling that case through the system as fast as humanly possible to try and get to a foreclosure sale so their client can recoup some money from the property.

Having worked for the lenders myself, I can tell you that all cases get put into 3 separate piles: the largest pile by far is people that are served with a foreclosure complaint and file no response whatsoever. Those people are the easiest to obtain a final judgment against because they put up no fight.

The next pile would be people who are served and file their own response with the court. Their response will usually consist of a letter to the judge/clerk setting out all of the reasons they couldn’t pay their mortgage and asking for leniency. Unfortunately, while this is better than nothing (because it will save that homeowner from being defaulted), it won’t really slow down the process very much because no defenses are raised and a summary final judgment can usually still be easily obtained.

The last and smallest pile is of those cases that have responses (whether in the form of an Answer or a motion of some sort) filed by attorneys. These cases have to be reviewed by the lenders lawyers much more carefully and each and every point of contention has to be dealt with. THIS TAKES TIME, which gives homeowners a chance to come up with a solution.

While neither I nor any other lawyer can make promises about the outcome of a case, I can say that in every case where I have filed a written response on behalf of a homeowner the foreclosure was halted (sometimes for several months) while the lender’s lawyers reviewed my response. The fact of the matter is, anything that takes a case out of the normal flow will gain a homeowner more time. And time is valuable to anyone facing foreclosure, even if they don’t ultimately want to keep the property. It can either give them more time to come to a resolution with the lender or time to save money and secure a new place to live.

The cost of retaining an attorney for this valuable service may be well worth it for homeowners.

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2 Responses to “Why hire a lawyer-part 1”

  1. Chicago Attorney says:

    I agree 100% and thanks for posting. So many people just put their head in the sand when it comes to an impending foreclosure of their home. Instead, they need to go on offense, not defense, when the bank is on top of them. I see so many homeowners just give up and accept that they will lose their home, and early in the game too. Its a shame.

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