Protecting Homeowners Rights in Foreclosure
In the wake of the robo-signing scandal, the issue of homeowners rights in foreclosure has become big news. Are the mortgage servicing companies simply trying to push foreclosures through without consideration for the homeowners? Are they being pressured to just get these foreclosures off of their books so they don’t face fines? How can homeowners protect themselves?
The number of foreclosures in the past few years has been so large that banks have struggled to keep up. According to CNBC, $150 million in fines has been levied against servicers because they are not moving foreclosures through quickly enough. Some cases have languished for years in foreclosure limbo, mostly in states that require judicial foreclosure. So what can you do to make sure that you are not a victim of the process?
Get a Housing Counselor
In most major metro areas, there are HUD-approved housing counselors that can help homeowners with rights in foreclosure. If you make it clear to the banks that you are working with one of these individuals, you likely have a better chance of saving your home. The sooner you do this in your foreclosure process, the greater the chance of saving your home. If you have a VA or FHA loan, there may be special government programs you qualify for that a housing counselor can help you understand. If your loan is owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, there are programs put in place by the Obama administration that could help. A housing counselor will know for sure. Having a housing counselor will also ensure that you have someone who is witnessing your efforts to work with your bank.
Every time that you talk to your bank or a housing counselor, write down the date, time, issues discussed, and who you talked to. If they promised to follow up with you at a certain date or send you certain papers, make note of the date that they promised. This way you will at least have documentation to bring to a court if you believe that your bank incorrectly foreclosed on you. Keep copies of any documents you sign and any information you provide to the bank. Document the date the information was sent to the bank, the fax number or address it was sent to, and who it was sent to. If you send anything to an address, send it in a way that can be tracked like UPS or FedEx. This is especially true of any money that you send to them. If you send bank wires or money transfers, keep all documentation of where it was sent to.
Every foreclosure is different and even if you attempt to work with your bank, things may not work out. But if you believe that you have been wrongly foreclosed on, protecting your homeowners rights in foreclosure is important and so is getting an attorney. Try to get an attorney as soon as possible to help you defend yourself and your rights.
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