The loss of a home is a scary possibility that more and more South Carolinians are facing every day. However, no one has to fight this battle alone, and several alternatives exist to help avoid foreclosure. Furthermore, you may have claims against a bank for their handling of the foreclosure process and for potential predatory lending practices.

Time is of the essence in a foreclosure defense case; you have thirty days in which to answer a foreclosure complaint once it has been served upon you. After thirty days have passed, the bank’s attorneys can march forward with a default judgment, and your case becomes much harder to defend. However, if thirty days have passed since you received service of the complaint, you still may have a chance to save your home.

Pay attention to the wording of the Complaint served upon you; often clients fear facing a deficiency judgment. A lender seeking a deficiency judgment plans to hold you responsible for the amount of money owed on your home that they don’t receive from selling your home. For example, if you owe the lender $70,000 on the home, and the home sells for $50,000 at an auction, the lender can seek a personal judgment against you for the remaining $20,000. Often, an attorney can help negotiate or remove deficiency judgments from the picture.

Brian has years of experience representing people with foreclosure defense for commercial, residential, and investment property. If you are facing foreclosure, contact our office as soon as possible for a consultation regarding your options for fighting foreclosure.

Navigating Modifications, Short Sales, and Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure

Modifications: Banks and the federal government have programs that you may qualify for in obtaining a modification of your loan, such as the Home Affordable Modifications Program (HAMP). A modification may be a good option if you have fallen behind on payments and are facing rising fees in addition to past due payments. We may be able to assist you with the modification process and assist you with your defense while the modification is pending. Beware of banks telling you the foreclosure process will halt while the modification application is pending; often the foreclosure process marches on while families struggle to push through the paperwork for a modification application. We can be there to assist you in the entire process and work with you to try to save your home.

In South Carolina, banks and foreclosing entities are required to comply with South Carolina Supreme Court Administrative Order No. 2011-05-02-01. This order states that a borrower, mortgagor, or owner who lives in the property as their primary residence must be reviewed for loss mitigation options before a foreclosure can occur.

Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure: A deed in lieu of foreclosure is an option if you do not want to face foreclosure and also do not care about losing your property. Effectively, we would try to assist you in deeding your property back to the bank and avoiding further damage to your credit from foreclosure proceedings.

Short Sales: A short sale is another option if you do not want to face foreclosure and do not care about walking away from your property. With a short sale you would find someone willing to buy the property, and we would assist you in negotiating with the lender to sell the property for less than it is worth while still fulfilling your obligation to the lender. In essence, we would assist you in trying to get the lender to accept a lower payoff than the lender is owed.

Time is key in defending your home; contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss which options might be right for you.

Recognizing and Avoiding Scams

Beware of third parties offering to fill out paperwork for you to modify your monthly payments for a fee. NO COMPANY OR LAW FIRM CAN GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL QUALIFY OR RECEIVE A LOAN MODIFICATION. Often, we have seen families pay for help without realizing the scam artist plans to fill out paperwork that the victim could fill out for himself for free.

Beware of third parties offering you papers to sign promising to bring your mortgage current. We’ve seen people sign documents not realizing they have given the title of their home to the third party. Often they don’t realize the problem until the third party attempts to evict them from their home.

Beware of third parties outright offering to buy the property out of foreclosure, put the property in their name, allow you to pay rent to stay in your home, and allow you to buy your home back at a later date. We have seen families fight evictions brought by heroes-turned-landlords.

If you have been the victim of a scam, contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you.