On March 22nd, President Trump ordered foreclosures (and evictions) to cease for 60 days across the U.S. in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. For Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and FHA loans, the moratorium currently goes through August 2020.
That keeps struggling homeowners in their homes for now, but it does not solve the issue of missed payments.
Wondering what your mortgage company is doing to help? Check out this List of Banks Offering to Help Customers.
Many mortgage companies are offering assistance - but BEWARE - many are only offering forbearance of payments. Forbearance means you don't have to make your payment for a few months, but it doesn't mean the scheduled payments are no longer owed. In fact, as soon as the forbearance is lifted in a few months, ALL the payments you’ve missed may be due in full. If you aren’t able to make all the payments at once, you’ll be in default and your house will go into foreclosure.
Payments on mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae can be under Freddie Mac's COVID-19 Payment Deferral program for up to 12 months, with missed payments being added to the end of the loan. Fannie Mae has a similar COVID-19 Payment Deferral program. Not sure if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac? Find out at www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov.
In order to stay in your home, you’ll likely have to apply for a loan modification as banks can’t just automatically tack on payments to the back of the loan without your consent and paperwork being signed. If you can’t qualify for a modification due to inability to pay (or for any other reason), they’ll move forward with foreclosure and kick you out of your home.
That’s when you may need the professional services of a law firm to help slow down the foreclosure proceedings and negotiate a loan modification, short sale, or other negotiated settlement such as a Deed in Lieu of foreclosure. Bankruptcy may also provide you relief, but in most cases should be used as a last resort.
Tips to avoid default and foreclosure:
Your home is your castle, a safe haven for you and your family. If you are facing foreclosure, particularly in the aftermath of storm such as Hurricane Harvey, a divorce, job loss, hospitalization or death, it threatens the stability of your home life. Once a foreclosure action has been made, you typically have less than 21 days to act before your property is sold at auction. The banks have lawyers to protect their rights, and so should you.
A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is typically the best way to stop an impending foreclosure, but in some cases it may not be necessary at all. We can file for and request a TRO from a judge in order to stop the foreclosure process immediately and give us time to negotiate a resolution that will keep you in your home, or allow you to exit gracefully if you desire.
Bankruptcy is also an option, but typically we don't recommend such a drastic measure unless absolutely necessary.
We understand you want to slow the foreclosure process or stop foreclosure altogether. At The Lane Law Firm, we offer strong foreclosure defense representation to homeowners in the Houston, Dallas / Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and throughout most of Texas.
In many circumstances, we can delay your foreclosure or lawsuit long enough to allow you to catch up on late payments, if you wish to simply reinstate the mortgage, or until you can complete the short sale of your home.
Depending on your situation, we may be able to:
Contact us today to find out how we can help with your foreclosure or other mortgage matter. We offer free, confidential consultations where we'll help demystify the legal process and you understand your options. We'll also develop a legal strategy specifically with your goals in mind and provide a free cost estimate of what it will take to accomplish them.
When facing a foreclosure, many people think bankruptcy is their only means to stop foreclosure. While bankruptcy does provide an automatic temporary stay to avoid foreclosure, it causes considerable damage to one's credit so it is advisable to consider all other remedies first.
At The Lane Law Firm, we believe that bankruptcy is not the best foreclosure defense option for most of our clients. So before we recommend bankruptcy, we will first explore other options including a Temporary Restraining Order with loss mitigation strategies such as a loan modification or short sale that will have less of an impact on your credit report and financial future.
If you have overwhelming debt from your mortgage and other creditors, bankruptcy may be your best option. Click here to find out more about our bankruptcy services.
We encourage our clients to remain in residence at their homes. If you leave, the mortgage company will consider the property to be abandoned and they will not treat you as favorably when it comes to your loss mitigation options. Also, remaining in the property protects it from deteriorating, becoming vandalized or broken into, and keeps squatters from taking up residence. Any devaluation of the property will increase the loss the bank may incur, which may increase your liability should you be sued for a deficiency. Remaining in the property is in your best interests as well as you will not acquire extra expenses for living elsewhere while investing in getting out of your situation during the legal process.
The most frequent cause for foreclosure is a sudden and temporary change to the financial condition of a household. In most cases this may be a birth or death in the family, an extended and unexpected hospital stay, caring for loved ones, divorce, change in job or working conditions.
If your temporary situation has passed but your mortgage servicer is no longer accepting payment or moving forward to foreclose then you could benefit from the help of a foreclosure defense attorney or foreclosure defense lawyer.
In spite of the fanfare and political promises, achieving a meaningful loan modification without professional assistance has proven to be an extremely difficult task. While The Lane Law Firm does not modify your mortgage, a modification by the servicer or lender of your mortgage may be a favorable settlement outcome of your litigation.
If you own a home that is facing foreclosure in Texas, you may have received a letter starting that process, stating that your property would be foreclosed upon in 21 days. This does not give much time to save your house without intervention. With help from an experienced lawyer, you can stall or even stop the foreclosure process completely.
Often, when considering alternatives to foreclosure, Texas homeowners often have concerns regarding the costs involved with either a short sale or loan modification. In essence, the question comes down to, do you want to stay or move out of your property. If you have the ability to pay principal, interest and payments on a mortgage, you can negotiate for a loan modification. If you are unable to make regular mortgage payments, then you are able to sell your property through a short sale.
Our foreclosure defense attorneys are experienced in all aspects of mortgage litigation including loan modifications, and they can negotiate with your lender to get you back in good standing through a solution that is best for you. The bank may offer loan modification in attempt to settle mortgage litigation claim, if you have the necessary income to qualify.
If you have little to no equity or if you don't have the financial ability or desire to seek a loan modification, a short sale may be a good option for you.
A Short Sale, or Pre-Foreclosure Sale, is when the bank agrees to allow a house to be sold for less than what they are owed. The "Short" in Short Sale refers to the payoff being less than what is owed, not the amount of time required to complete the process. In fact, Short Sales can be quite lengthy, averaging 3-9 months or more to complete.
Possible benefits to the homeowner of a properly negotiated Short Sale:
Typically a Short Sale house is marketed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) by a professional real estate agent or REALTOR®. He/she obtains a competitive offer and submits it to the bank along with a complete Short Sale packet as required by the mortgage company. They then decide if the offer is sufficient and approves or negotiates the offer. Once approved, the property closes with a title company and possession passes to a new owner.
Negotiating a Short Sale can be very difficult. With so much as stake, it's recommended that the homeowner align themselves with an experienced team consisting of a REALTOR® and a Foreclosure Relief law firm. The Lane Law Firm is the largest and most experienced Foreclosure Relief Services law firm in Texas with an experienced team of Attorneys, legal support staff, and seasoned client relationship managers. We've helped over 1,000 families complete a Short Sale since 2009, and we want to help you too!
If you want to find out if a Short Sale can benefit you in your situation, contact Steven Schwinger, Senior Client Relationship Manager, at 713-595-8203 or schedule an appointment here.
Although it is preferable to intervene in a Texas foreclosure before it is finalized, there are legal steps you can take even after it is finalized. Typically in Texas, homeowners are given only seven days to move out or they face eviction and the auction of their belongings. A skilled lawyer can advocate for more time for you during this transition.
If your foreclosure is pending, we can take various measures to delay or even prevent it from happening. Our Houston wrongful foreclosure attorneys will closely evaluate your situation to determine if the bank has followed the rules during the process. For example, we will evaluate the following: