What Are The Pitfalls Associated With Handling A Foreclosure On Your Own?
Before the housing market crashed, I was virtually the only foreclosure defense attorney where I practice. Then, there was a period of time where there were only a handful of bank attorneys and defense attorneys. There are now many different bank attorneys. There are also many foreclosure defense attorneys, some of whom don’t know what they’re doing. Just because you’re hiring an attorney doesn’t mean that attorney is going to be good. You should do your homework before you make a decision. Ask them what cases they’ve handled. Ask them what cases they’ve won – really won. Ask them what laws they’re going to use in order to protect you. If they don’t know the laws, then they’re probably not a very good attorney. They may be able to shuffle paper, meaning they can shuffle paper and fill out a modification package. Anyone can do that. You want to make sure you hire someone who knows what they’re doing and has expertise in the area.
One of the main pitfalls of representing yourself or using an unqualified lawyer is failing to file an Answer in a timely fashion, which is usually 20 to 30 days, depending on how you were served. The bank can then get a default judgment against you. In order for you to overcome a default, you have to show that you had a reasonable excuse for defaulting, meaning there was a good reason why you didn’t answer the summons and complaint on time. That is a high bar. Most excuses are found to not be reasonable for default.
You also have to show what’s called a meritorious defense, meaning that if this case goes forward, you would win or have a good chance of winning. You need to know the law and you need to understand what could be a meritorious defense. People sort of dabble in defending themselves and think that they know what they’re doing. They’ll know buzz words and not much else. You have to really know and understand your defense, the law and procedure and be able to put it on paper and articulate it. That is not easy for a person who is not a lawyer to do. That is why it’s important to make sure that you hire an expert in the area.
What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Foreclosure Cases?
After having an entire police career and making it to the executive ranks of the New York City Police Department, I’ve been defending homeowners in foreclosure for 20 years. I’ve handled several hundred cases. I try to win every single case and figure out what the right solution is for my client. Sometimes, the goals change in the middle of the lawsuit. Their original goal may be to keep the house and then, after a couple of years, they might decide they want to relocate. I want to make sure they don’t get a deficiency judgment against them. I always keep track of what my client’s goals are, even if they change along the way.
I do everything in my power to get my clients to their goals. Sometimes, it’s not so easy. There are many lawyers who can say that they handle foreclosure defense. There are very few that do it well and I know I’m one of them. I’ve heard it from my peers. I’ve heard it from the banks’ own attorneys, the court staff, and the judges themselves. I frequently get complimented on the jobs I do for my clients by judges.
You want to make sure that you hire someone with expertise in the area and that is something that I certainly have more of than any other attorney I’ve ever encountered in this area of law. I’ve been doing it well for a really long time. It is important to remember who you are and how you got to where you are now. You have to realize that the person sitting across the table may not be sophisticated, or they may understand perfectly but they have a lot of questions because they want to be involved. Either way, they are putting their faith in you.
Having had a police career helps me to deal with clients because I’ve done something else besides being a lawyer in my life. I try to be able to communicate in a clear way that people understand and help them avoid unnecessary legal fees as much as possible. That is probably the best kind of lawyer one can be.
For more information on Handling A Foreclosure On Your Own, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (212) 766-9779 or (718) 979-9779 today.
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