Whenever I meet with a potential client, I always ask a critical question: what is your goal for my legal representation? In other words, if I take your case, what do you want to get out it? This question is especially important for foreclosure defense.
As I tell all potential clients involved in foreclosure, no one gets a free home from fighting a foreclosure. While a successful legal challenge can prevent or undo a foreclosure that is not compliant with the law, nothing prevents a lender from simply starting the process again. With this in mind, the goal of foreclosure defense should always be a permanent resolution to the problem . . . not a temporary fix. Given that the foreclosure process in Massachusetts is complex, it is critical to have the help of an experienced attorney.
Here, I want to share three stories of how I have been able to help Massachusetts homeowners with preventing foreclosure. To protect privacy, I have changed each client’s name and location, but the underlining facts of each case are the same.
Preventing Foreclosure Through a Loan Modification
Meet Matt. Matt owned a two-family home in Saugus that was foreclosed in 2016. While he tried for years to work with his lender to avoid foreclosure, the loan servicer kept losing his loan modification applications and giving him excuses about why he didn’t qualify for foreclosure relief assistance. After foreclosure, the bank brought a post-foreclosure eviction case against him, at which time he retained me.
I challenged the bank’s case against him by arguing that it never served him with a proper notice to quit, and failed to provide him notice that he did qualify for a loan modification. The Court agreed that Matt never received the proper notice, which forced the bank to start the eviction case all over again.
In the end, we were able to negotiate a favorable loan modification for Matt, and a rescission (“undoing”) of the foreclosure sale!
Preventing Foreclosure Through Refinancing
Meet Tom. Tom inherited his parents’ home in Jamaica Plain several years ago, which had a past-due mortgage loan on it. Tom tried, repeatedly, to work with the lender to take over the loan and make these payments. Incredibly, the lender, at one point, outright refused to accept Tom’s payments towards the loan.
Tom retained me a month before the scheduled foreclosure sale, and I filed a lawsuit to stop the sale and for damages from the bank’s unfair and deceptive business practices. I succeeded in stopping the sale, and then began working with the bank to reach a settlement for this matter.
Tom was in a unique situation: he was fighting a foreclosure against a mortgage loan that wasn’t his. While he owned the home, the loan was from his deceased parents. I had Tom speak to several other mortgage lenders, and got him approved for financing. I then negotiated with the bank to accept a lower amount of the total owed debt, which the bank agreed to (at an amount far less than the home’s fair market value). Not only did Tom avoid foreclosure, this deal put instant equity into his home!
Preventing Foreclosure Through a Sale of the Home
Meet Jane. Jane owned a home in Beverly and was behind on her mortgage loan, due to lost employment. Jane was in the process of applying for a loan modification when her lender foreclosed, despite promising it would not do so.
Jane hired me to see what could be done. After we reviewed her options, we agreed that her best option wasn’t to keep the home, but rather, to sell it. The home was in a good neighborhood and would sell at a great price.
Since the foreclosure had already happened, I filed a lawsuit and requested an emergency court order to prevent the bank from selling the home again, which the Court granted. In the end, we reached a deal where the bank agreed to reverse the foreclosure and allow Jane to sell the home, which she did. Jane not only avoided foreclosure, but was able to recover significant equity from her home . . . money that would have been lost if the foreclosure had gone through.
If you need assistance with preventing foreclosure, contact me for a consultation.