Scott W. Spaulding has been fighting in foreclosure court for four years. Having a background in civil law has helped his clients remain in their homes while fighting their case. Whether its fighting a bad loan, helping a client to get back on their feet or resolve the case to the best of his ability, helping the client remain in the home is the best place to fight the case.
Foreclosures have dominated the news for the last 5 years in TV, magazines, internet and newspapers. No one is a stranger to the constant news of a slowing economy. Many have been victims of the economy in terms of lowered income, lost jobs, reduced benefits layoffs and the like. While the banking industry push the absurd notion that it is the public that has refused to pay its bills it is the sale of risky loans and downright fraud in those loans that has stalled the housing industry.
If you have not been able to keep up with your loan foreclosure is not the only option. There are alternatives to losing your home including modifications, deed in lieu or “cash for keys” programs. What most people need is breathing room.
In 2013 Lake County saw over 3,500 foreclosures filed in the Circuit Court. To combat the huge influx of cases Lake County the 19th Judicial Circuit has instituted a mediation program requiring the banks to have a responsible representative present to negotiate with the home owner.
If you are served with a summons and complaint for foreclosure there are a number of things you must consider if you want to fight for your home:
1. Do not ignore legal notices. Failing to address the issue head on can cause you to lose out on possible defenses to foreclosure on your home.
2. Begin to put together all the documents regarding your loan that you are able to find. This will help counsel draft legal documents in the defense of you case. If you possess any documentation of prior loans for the same residence, this too can be helpful.
3. Read each legal document carefully and seek counsel whenever possible. Failing to file the right documents in court can result in the bank obtaining a judgment against you and legally forcing from your home months later.
4. Consult an attorney to determine what is best for you. Do you wish to stay in the home and modify? Is the value of the home so low that to stay would mean paying for a home worth much less than you owe? Is bankruptcy an option, a fresh start? Would negotiating for the surrender of the home result in a savings to you or the avoidance of a money judgment against you for the difference between the sale price of the home and what you owe?
5. Many cases where the homeowner has simply given up have resulted in homes being taken where the bank does not have the necessary paperwork. This is a loss of any potential bargaining power for the homeowner.
It is important to keep in mind that in many instances while a homeowner is negotiating with the bank, that is, giving the bank the same documents over and over and over. . . . the attorneys representing the bank are moving forward with the foreclosure action and seeking a judgment against you. This is the first step in removing you from your home. An experienced attorney can put up all of the defenses a homeowner is entitled to in keeping you in your home while you decide what is best for you and your family.
A Foreclosure matter is governed by state law, specifically the Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law of 1986. The law sets out specific steps:
1. Service of Process: The actual service of a summons and complaint on the homeowner This can be a defense where a bank has served a homeowner improperly:
2. Filing an Appearance and Response: Homeowners would be required to file an appearance in the clerk’s office and response to the complaint normally within 30 days. If a homeowner fails to do so the bank can bring a motion in court (a written request to the court to take an action) to enter a default. This would prevent a homeowner from putting up any defenses to the case.
3. If a homeowner fails to appear in court and/or respond to the bank’s complaint the bank will move for judgment against the homeowner seeking to obtain the home and enter a money judgment against the homeowner any unpaid balance.
4. After obtaining a judgment the bank cannot put the home up for sale for 90 days after which the bank will put the house on the market (auction).
5. After the sale, the bank will appear in court and ask the court to confirm the sale. From that point the homeowner has 30 days upon which to exit the home.
A homeowner who ignores the legal notices can find themselves moving through these steps rapidly and losing their home equally as fast. It is important to consult an attorney who can advise you on these steps, slowing the process and bringing it to the best conclusion possible.
If you are served with a summons and complaint because the economy let you down, do not ignore those legal notices and consult an attorney. Scott Spaulding can advise you and help you stay in your home!