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Real Estate Closings

Are real estate transaction/closing documents public record?

In the state of North Carolina, closing documents are made available to the public by request to the register of deeds. The buyer, seller, and final sale price are disclosed.

Who/what is a real estate closing agent?

Commonly referred to as a settlement agent or real estate closing attorney the role is to represent the buyer or seller and handle the legal transfer of title/deed and ownership from the seller to the buyer.

 

What exactly does a real estate attorney do during a standard, residential closing?

  • Conducting title searches and preparing abstracts of title;
  • Reviewing the status of the title in the title commitment, resolving any exceptions to the title, and reviewing the purchase agreement to identify any requirements in it in order to ensure compliance with this fundamental contract;
  • Verifying the payment of existing loans secured by the real estate;
  • Verifying the amount of special assessments and calculating taxes on the property;
  • Obtaining an updated title insurance commitment to the date of closing;
  • Preparing the required checks, deeds, affidavits, and obtaining any authorization letters needed;
  • Establishing a time and place for the closing, conducting the closing, and ensuring that all parties properly execute all appropriate documents and meet all commitments;
  • Collecting and disbursing funds for the parties;
  • Holding funds in escrow pending satisfaction of certain commitments;
  • Preparing Significant Paperwork - including the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, the mortgage, the deed of trust, and, where applicable, the Truth-in-Lending Statement, and the purchaser's affidavits; and
  • Recording the appropriate documents as required under law.

Foreclosure Information

Woman trying to get back into her foreclosed house.

Can They Change The Locks On My House?

In short: Yes In long: SometimesPlease be aware that there is probably a mechanism in the closing paperwork that you signed with your bank/lender that allows them to enter the property ‘early’ (before foreclosing) in the event that they believe the house is empty. This provision is agreed upon in the understanding that the bank does not want the property they have an interest in, sitting vacant and being vandalized. Many of us have seen properties where the a/c has been stolen, windows have been broken and copper piping has been stripped from the house. This provision attempts to help remedy that problem. In practice, the bank should not lock you from your home or attempt to take possession if you are still living in the house. On occasion, they will send an inspector to the house to ascertain whether or not the property is inhabited. You must be vigilant in making sure that you are living in the property with no intention of leaving. Do not make it easy for the lender! Usually, this is not a particular worry. Some lenders have more aggressive ‘lock changers’ than others and we can discuss if this is an issue.

Person holding up a sign that says no job, no money, now what?

I Don't Have A Job, Should I Let Them Have My House?

Don’t give up! Your inaction is rarely a good strategy and will usually cause harm. Even if you don’t have income, it is beneficial to call me. There are a number of processes that we could work through to attempt to minimize harm to your credit. Without your action, the court will sell your house as quickly as the procedure allows. Often, my intervention can delay this process by months and sometimes years. I have clients that have been in their houses (without paying their mortgage) for multiple years, while the foreclosing attorneys work to organize the proper paperwork to complete your foreclosure. This can give you time to improve your condition and make retention of the property possible. This could also give you time to arrange your finances for the future.Call me at 704-956-7498 to discuss and we will pursue the right course of action or contact us online!

A calendar

They Tell Me A Sale Date Is Not Set.

When you are speaking with you bank or lender, please recognize that they are probably located in a foreign state. As such, they deal with the foreclosure laws of each individual state and have policies that are broadly created to try and cover foreclosures in every state.

Accordingly, some of their policies do not fit certain states very well. One disconnect that I often see:

You: Bank, when is the sale date on my property?

Bank: Borrower, we don’t have a sale date yet.

You: But I have a piece of paper in my hand saying that the sale date is August 25?

Bank: That can’t be….our system does not show a sale date. (at this point, they may give you any number of explanations or excuses)

You: Are you sure my house won’t be sold on August 25?

Bank: We can’t give you legal advice. (this is what they should say, but they could say anything)

Be careful! The banks don’t understand North Carolina procedure. You could argue that they are intentionally misleading people by saying there is not a sale date. Maybe that is true.

More likely, they simply don’t understand that a sale date is set after the foreclosure hearing. It isn’t officially ‘set’ until that date. This means that you could call your bank or lender on August 1 and ask about the sale date, hearing that there is no sale date.On August 25th, your house could be sold when they told you in the same month that there was no sale date! These are some of the little ‘tricks’ and complicated issues that you learn when you’re in the foreclosure world. Be careful, there are many more!

A justice scale with gavel sitting next to it.

What Is My Hearing?

I like to tell my clients that the hearing is ‘the whole ball of wax’ in North Carolina. Every state is different regarding their foreclosure procedure. In some states, a ‘judicial’ foreclosure can take two years to complete. In other states, a ‘nonjudicial’ foreclosure could only take 21 days. The legislature of each state chooses whether they are ‘judicial’ or ‘nonjudicial’ (usually). Except North Carolina! In North Carolina, we adopted a ‘quasi-judicial’ procedure. This means that we have a complicated mix of types of foreclosures referenced above.

In truth: I like our model of foreclosure. People that are trying to help themselves have time to do so: people that are not trying to do so will end up with their house quickly foreclosed and sold.

When you receive your paperwork from the foreclosing attorneys, you will see two important dates. One is your hearing date and one is the sale date. The hearing date is the opportunity for the attorneys foreclosing upon your house to present their evidence and show that proper procedure has been followed that allows them to sell your house (among other things).

A justice scale with a dollar sign on one side and a small house on the other side.

This hearing date is also your opportunity to show (or have your attorney show) and defend the foreclosure process. I have successfully defended numerous foreclosures for not having followed proper procedure. Additionally, depending on the circumstances of each case, this is your opportunity to ask the Clerk of Court for more time to allow you to avoid foreclosure. A consultation with me, Harry Marsh, will better explore whether this hearing can help you stay in your property for longer.

Regardless, not showing up to your hearing is the worst thing that you can do! If you do not (or are unable) to show to your hearing, we highly suggest that you hire an attorney to be present on your behalf. If an attorney shows to this hearing, your presence is not necessarily required.

I have spoken with the foreclosing attorneys and we estimate that only 30% of people being foreclosed upon show to their hearings. In Mecklenburg County alone, 1,000 foreclosures may be processed per month. This means that a lot of people are not trying to help themselves.

If you do not show to your hearing, a sale date will be set for the auction of your property. This normally happens 20 to 25 days after your hearing date.

You do not want this! After a sale date has been set, the balance of power in your foreclosure sways to the lender/bank. They are now in control of your sale date and you must negotiate directly with them. Call me for further information on how to keep this balance of power in your favor!

This one gives me a headache on a weekly basis. Remember that you are dealing with a mortgage company that likely does business in all 50 states of the USA. Their procedures and processes cannot possibly fit the foreclosure process of all 50 states. In one state, you may know of your scheduled sale date a year in advance of its occurrence. In North Carolina, you may only have about two weeks notice if you are asking your lender. If your sale date is ordered 21 days after your hearing, it may take 3-4 days for the Attorney to update the lender/mortgage company. If you are dealing with HSBC, PNC, Nationstar or Citibank, their comments immediately turn to blaming you for being too late to submit a loan modification or short sale request, as these lenders often requires a full submission package 37 days before the sale date is set.

Ironically, the clerk of court in North Carolina might have told you that you should request a postponement of the sale date from your lender in order to give you more time to avoid foreclosure. You will end up in a quagmire with no resolution. Call me before this happens.

 

Depends. You will likely hear many various radio advertisements and tv commercials regarding HAMP and HARP. These are the federal loan programs that are in place. Dependent upon what kind of loan you have, some lenders are required to participate in these programs. If you are eligible and you properly apply, the lender MUST apply the particular program.

However, the eligibility requirements and process for application can give plenty of ammunition to lenders to refuse your loan modification, should they choose. One lender that I know, seems to change their fax number for loan modification requests on a weekly basis. Another lender that I know tells me, without fail, that every signature I have from a borrower does not match what they have on file and will require notarized documents in every circumstance. Meanwhile, another lender 'loses' every 3rd or 4th page that is faxed to them, without fail. Even if a lender were to follow these programs closely, I would believe that a regular consumer filling out these loan modification program documents for the first time would have a difficult time properly executing them. I have seen a dozen ways that the most simple form, a 4506-T form, could be improperly executed. In short, you must realize that the burden is on you to properly submit your loan modification and that you may be held accountable for improperly submitting your loan modification. Obama's office recently released a statement that believed 1/3 of applications are denied for inability to submit the entire package. I would guess that the number is significantly higher than that. These are reasons to select a professional to help you.

Additionally, I must note that I have seen an increase in 'private investor' loans. If your loan is not owned by someone who is required to participate in the loan modification program, they may quickly tell you that they do not want to give you any sort of loan modification option. For loans above the $300,000 mark, I have seen a recent increase in 'private investor' activity. Based on who your lender is, I can often tell you what programs are available and what options may be best pursued.

 

Part A. On almost a weekly basis, I have someone call me who hired a television law firm who promised that they could drop their payment in exchange for a $3,500 retainer and $700 per month. These law firms are commonly from California, Florida and New York. DO NOT HIRE AN OUT OF STATE LAW FIRM. Many times, they will take your money and disappear. These unscrupulous Attorneys often form large firms that collect significant sums from numerous people. They disappear and reform under a different name six months later, to repeat the process. There are regulations in North Carolina that attempt to make this an illegal practice. However, it is impossible to stop their direct connection to you. Make sure that the law firm has an Attorney who is licensed in North Carolina. If you have doubts, call the North Carolina Bar Association's unauthorized practice of law division. Or, call me: I will do a bit of research on them for free to give an opinion as to their credible nature.

Part B. Be very wary of people that guarantee that they can drop your payments. Very often, a loan modification will increase your payment. Additionally, I would argue that it is unethical to guarantee any result. Finally, it is very rare that a lender will forgive or waive principal (principal reduction). They often have the option to do so, but I see it in one out of 20 or 30 loan modifications.

 

Different lenders have different policies regarding their loan modifications. Often, they are structured around how they receive compensation from the federal government. If they receive $1,000 for giving you a trial loan, you might see why they easily gave you a trial loan modification. They might receive $1,000 as compensation for participating in loan modification programs for every payment that you make under that loan modification. If so, you can again see why they easily gave you a loan modification. However, that does not translate to a permanent modification. In order to receive the permanent modification, they may request and require your full, complete and properly executed loan modification package. Being granted a trial modification does not entitle you to a permanent modification. In fact, the end of the trial payment period might require you to present large document requests, or your loan modification will be refused. See the next two remarks for common reasons that a permanent modification may be refused, despite approval on a trial modification.

 

There is not enough room on this page to fully elaborate, but remember that North Carolina is an equitable distribution state. Despite whether or not your spouse or x-spouse is on the deed to your house, he or she may have a 50% interest in the property. I commonly see divorce situations where one spouse is on the deed to the house and the bank does not require the other spouse's signature until the final modification papers have been drafted. You might have already made the trial payments, by yourself. If the spouse or x-spouse is unavailable or unwilling to cooperate, you have an immediate and large problem. Without their signature or immediate legal work, you may be in jeopardy of losing your loan modification.

Often! You need a lawyer who understands judgments and real property law. Very small differences can mean the difference between a lien attaching to your real property and not attaching. If a judgment, such as a credit card, attaches as a valid lean to your property, you may be ineligible for a loan modification.

If you have a 2nd mortgage, you may need to ask that it subordinate to the first mortgage. Maybe you have 2 or 3 mortgages and a home equity loan. Each of these recorded deeds of trust may be a separate entity that you need to negotiate a loan modification with. These different companies have different policies.

Often, lenders cooperate and have programs that will make loan modifications of a 2nd mortgage easier. Often, you will find yourself with a 2nd mortgage that will not cooperate with the first (Greentree, Ocwen, SLS). If you have Greentree, you need to find an Attorney and begin this process very quickly.

This is often true. After all, a lender will not want to consider you for a loan modification or short sale until you have quit making payments. Why would they? Once a week, I receive this question from a clever homeowner who thinks that they could benefit from a loan modification. If we can negotiate for the bank to lower the interest rate (and drop their payment amount), this may be true. However, it may also be true that you don't qualify for a loan modification (for any number of reasons, including too much income). This decision is often referred to as a 'strategic default' and you must be careful before going down this path.

At the end of the day, remember that the lender is telling you that they can't consider you for a loan modification until after you are in default (missed payments). They are not telling you that you are approved for a loan modification: only that you may apply for one. Speak to me before you make this decision to see if it is a wise decision.

Sometimes true, but not always. After so many years doing foreclosure defense, I would believe that I have operated in most of the Counties in North Carolina. They vary wildly. I know of two or three counties where I rarely see a continuance (never, in one). They WILL order the sale of your house if you don't know what you are doing. Meanwhile, I know of other Counties that may come down to the luck of the draw, for you. Some of the assistant clerks will give continuances while others are less likely. It helps to know each of the Clerks and what questions they ask or what answers they are looking for.

Meanwhile, various foreclosure firms operate differently. Some of the foreclosure law firms are receptive to certain defenses while others will strongly battle that practice. These are questions for the Attorney that you plan to hire and reasons why you might not want to try to do this on your own.

They often are. To date, out of 100s of loan modifications, I have never seen Greentree modify a balloon loan with a longer term. On rare occasion, they will allow you to modify with the same maturity date (when the balloon is due), but I have never seen them modify this term. They might encourage you to apply for a loan modification, but I try to set my client's expectations that this sort of remedy might not happen. Meanwhile, I find it far more likely that a lender remove the ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) and replace it with a fixed rate.

The banks/lenders are not driven by reason or rationale. More likely (depending on what type of loan), they are driven by reproducible results. If Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase or another large bank modifies a loan, or rejects a different modification, they must be prepared to undergo government and private scrutiny for that practice. I would argue that they are far safer applying the same set of principles to every loan, regardless of whether it is under water, has equity, etc etc etc. In short, they do not care about your particular details. There is no reasoning with these lenders and be prepared to see them do something that is very contrary to their best interests.Private investors have a bit more leeway in their practices.

This may be true, but is usually not true. I have seen lenders given loan modifications with very little paperwork. More often than not, if you read your letter from the lender carefully, it will tell you that you eligible to APPLY for a loan modification. This is a very far cry from being approved for a loan modification.

9 times out of 10, this is a waste or your breath. Please read Myth #10 above. If you have a private investor, you might gain a bit of traction with this argument. On rare occasion, Ocwen services a number of loans that will make this sort of offer to you. I would not waste my time calling Wells Fargo or similar with this sort of idea. Remember that these loans are often government backed and have insurance policies.

Once every two weeks, I have an informed client tell me that they are sure that this is a Countrywide loan (or similar) and that the bank surely cannot prove that they are the holder of this note. They swear to me that the documentation cannot be produced and that they foreclosing law firm is bluffing in the foreclosure.

This doesn't make sense and isn't practical for a number of reasons. Remember that the foreclosing law firm may receive 100, 1000 foreclosures from that lender every month. They have rigid procedures in place and will only proceed with foreclosing on the loans for which they have the proper documentation. The last thing that the local foreclosing law firm wants is a lawsuit against them on a case that they shouldn't have filed. More often than not, if there is a problem with documentation on your foreclosure, the law firm filing the foreclosure will file the appropriate paperwork to fix that problem (lost note, etc).

It is rare that this argument gains traction. Furthermore, the foreclosing law firm in North Carolina need only produce a copy of your original paperwork. These copies are presumed valid unless you have a good faith argument to show otherwise (not your signature, etc). Be careful if you want to assert these defenses.

There are certain document requests that the lender and/or its attorneys may be responsible for providing. Commonly, I see clients hiring out of state law firms or who have purchased foreclosure defense packages that are supposed to stop their foreclosure. More on this later, but see Cases to look at

Furst 29 NC app. 248, AKA 224 S.E.2d 631

Sutton Investments 46 NC app. 654, aka 266 SE 2d 686

Razack 11Sp 8243, aka COA13-342

In my experience, here is why they are doing that:

  • 70% of the time: the lender has requested the Attorney do this, in order to give you more time to submit a loan modification or short sale
  • 20% of the time: the Attorney is requesting documentation from the lender that they are slow to provide, such as the affidavit of default
  • 10% of the time: something fishy is going on and needs to be further investigated

Rarely (if ever) does it mean they lost your records. The foreclosing Attorney would dismiss or not file the case, if your records were lost.

This is rarely true. You may have correspondence and/or a credit report that shows your other loan as written off, charged off or otherwise. But, until you receive a 1099 for cancellation of debt (IRS document), you likely still owe on this loan. It may be years before the original holder of this loan sells this note to a different debt collection agency or holder, but it is very likely an active debt. At any time, a collection agency such as Greentree could rise from the ashes and begin collection and/or foreclosure activity.

Also not true in most circumstances. A second is legally able to foreclose, even if they will not receive any of the proceeds of the foreclosure auction. If a second forces foreclosure, your property will be sold at auction and the proceeds will be distributed to pay off the first mortgage. After the first mortgage has been entirely paid off, the second will receive what monies remain. This may explain why your second mortgage has disappeared for a few years. They could stand to gain nothing from your foreclosure but the cost of legal fees. Sometimes, they lay in wait, hoping that you may have equity in your home in the future.

This is probably a 50/50. It is true that a chapter 13 bankruptcy could give you the ability to make a payment arrangement through the bankruptcy court to become current on your mortgage obligations over the course of 3 to 5 years. However, these monthly payments are likely to be substantially higher than your current payment obligations. If you do not have the income to support these large payments, you may not qualify to file chapter 13. Additionally, filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy to save a property that is substantially underwater could be a poor economic decision in spite of your possible eligibility.

You would expect this to be false, but it is actually true. Some mortgage companies exercise a right in their mortgage documents to enter your property and 'secure' it in the event that they think you have left it vacant. I have been increasingly called by homeowners with Chase mortgages that come home to changed doorlocks. If this happens to you, call your mortgage company immediately.

If you are facing foreclosure, HARP is likely worthless. Most (if not all) Harp eligibility requirements insist that you be current on your mortgage. Others request that you not have made a late payment for six months. Beware out of state law firms or television advertisements that lure you into giving them up-front money to apply for programs such as HARP. They know that you are not eligible, but won't relate this information until they have your money.

Usually true. However, a licensed Attorney from North Carolina is an exception to this rule. They may charge you. This regulation was enacted to attempt to protect consumers from what was an onslaught of out-of-state law firms, debt consolidation companies and other quasi-scam organizations that were preying on North Carolina consumers. Some of these companies gave you guarantees of certain results (unethical) while others grossly overcharged for their efforts, which often amounted to no action by them. Meanwhile, these out-of-state entities were hard to control. The North Carolina State Bar has limited jurisdiction over a company in California or New York. I highly suggest that you hire a local law firm with local Attorneys to help with your case. Furthermore, pay attention to out-of-state law firms that promise they have local partners. Be aware that these 'local partners' often receive $50 per case. You can imagine that they might not be aggressively pursuing your case.

 

Short Sale

A woman holding a sign that says for sale

What Is A Short Sale?

A ‘Short Sale’ is what the real estate world commonly calls the sale of a property for less than what is owed on any liens, mortgages or other encumbrances.That means that you are able to sell the property for less than what you owe. You owe $150,000 and are able to sell the house for $100,000.

After the real estate collapse of 2008, property values were often decreased by 40%. I have seen cases where people owned homes appraised for $1.2 million in 2007 that were worth $700,000 in 2013. Obviously, the financial damage with a drop in your property value can lead to a homeowner owing far more than a property is worth.

Additionally, if you are not making payments on your mortgage, those payments become ‘arrears’. If you owe $1,000 per month on your mortgage and are 3 months behind, the bank will say that you are 3 payments in arrears for $3,000. You owe $3,000. Additionally, other fees and attorney fees can be added to these ‘arrears’ to make your mortgage balance increase over time. As you can see, if you have not made a mortgage payment in several months (sometimes years), the figure required to make your account current could be substantial. Maybe you had equity in your home at some point, but are under water after considering the arrears.

Both of the above situations could lead to you owing more on your house than it is worth. Under certain conditions and after following certain procedures, you can request that the bank accept an offer by a third party to purchase your house for less than what you owe: that is the beauty of a short sale. Many other considerations must be weighed, including tax consequences. Please contact me for more information.

Why Should I Consider A Short Sale?

There are a number of reasons to consider a short sale.Although each situation is different and details may vary, here are a few of the highlights.

  1. A Short Sale may postpone your foreclosure. Depending on the situation, initiating a Short Sale may postpone your sale date and corresponding foreclosure. I have worked on Short Sales that have been over a year in their completion. On the other hand, other lenders may only allow you 2-4 months to complete the process (from start of foreclosure process). Regardless, the Short Sale can keep you in the house for additional time and minimal expense (after all, you are not paying the mortgage).
  2. Moving assistance. I have completed many Short Sales where the sellers (you) are given moving assistance upon closing. Moving assistance varies from $3,000 to $30,000 to help you vacate the property and leave it in a condition where the next buyer can easily move in. Some banks and some investors offer this, while others do not, based upon your situation. Having an experienced attorney negotiate and ask for this can be crucial. This is money that goes directly to you: I do not take any of this amount (and it often far surpasses any fees I have charged you).
  3. No foreclosure or bankruptcy on your record. My clients often wish to initiate and pursue a short sale in order to start over. They want to remove negative debts from their records, improve their credit score and potentially buy a different house in the future. I have seen job applications that ask if you have had a foreclosure or bankruptcy, particularly those sort of jobs in the financial industry or government sector. I have never seen a job application that asked if you have ever performed a Short Sale (I am sure someone will someday send me such an application).
  4. A foreclosure or bankruptcy could act as a negative factor that could follow you for the rest of your life. Short Sales are often more favorably viewed because they show that the seller (you) actively did something to improve their situation. It shows that you were an active participant in the process and could signal that you are a far less risky individual than someone who made the bank foreclose or someone who filed a bankruptcy. The issue of how this affects your credit compared to other options is a complicated matter that we could discuss over the phone.
  5. Did I mention that you’re living in the house while this process occurs, and that you’re potentially being paid to move out? Those two reasons alone should encourage you to pursue a Short Sale when it is in your best interest.

A justice scale

 

Loan Modification

A house on top of a stack of one hundred dollar bills

What Is A Loan Modification?

A loan modification is one of the best results that you can hope to achieve when you find yourself behind in your mortgage. Depending on a number of ratios, factors and circumstances, the past due amount that you owe on the mortgage is added to the back end of your loan. You make a payment close to your original mortgage payment (sometimes lower, depending on your interest rate, etc) and are eventually considered ‘current’ for purposes of your mortgage.

Most bankruptcy attorneys will tell you to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. I do not recommend filing the bankruptcy unless it is absolutely required: a loan modification is superior to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in most ways. Filing Chapter 13 is the lazy attorney’s method of helping you keep your house.

A bankruptcy will follow you around for the rest of your life. You have to list this on job applications. A chapter 13 will result in a 3 to 5 year payment plan. That means you are not discharged from bankruptcy for up to 5 years! A loan modification can be completed in as little as a few weeks (normal time is 3 months). By the time 5 years has passed and you would exit your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your credit could already be cleaned up after the loan modification!

What Is The Process To Get A Loan Modification?

Loan modifications are very complicated. I don’t have the room or the energy to explain the procedure, mainly because loan modifications vary from lender to lender and investor to investor.

In short, you apply for the applicable loan modification by calling your bank and requesting their packet.You fill out these various forms and submit them to the bank for review.

Under normal and ‘best case’ circumstances, the bank will be friendly and tell you what loan modification programs are available to you after a review period that could last weeks to months.

A hand drawing a diagram with a sharpie

It sounds simple. In reality: it is far from simple.

Anyone can do their own loan modification. I have met a handful of people over the years that were not lawyers working in this field that have understood the process well and successfully negotiated their loan modification from start to finish. The banks have recently been sued, alleging that they purposely make loan modifications as difficult as possible. Recent allegations even believe that they pay their employees bonuses for the successful rejection of loan modifications:

See here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100818866

Knowing the particular requirements of each lender is important in giving you the best shot at your loan modification. Some banks are willing to extend deadlines or accept certain pieces of information: others are not. This is where my experience could be invaluable to you.

What Is My Hearing?

A justice scale with gavel sitting next to it.

What Is My Hearing?

I like to tell my clients that the hearing is ‘the whole ball of wax’ in North Carolina. Every state is different regarding their foreclosure procedure. In some states, a ‘judicial’ foreclosure can take two years to complete. In other states, a ‘nonjudicial’ foreclosure could only take 21 days. The legislature of each state chooses whether they are ‘judicial’ or ‘nonjudicial’ (usually). Except North Carolina! In North Carolina, we adopted a ‘quasi-judicial’ procedure. This means that we have a complicated mix of types of foreclosures referenced above.

In truth: I like our model of foreclosure. People that are trying to help themselves have time to do so: people that are not trying to do so will end up with their house quickly foreclosed and sold.

When you receive your paperwork from the foreclosing attorneys, you will see two important dates. One is your hearing date and one is the sale date. The hearing date is the opportunity for the attorneys foreclosing upon your house to present their evidence and show that proper procedure has been followed that allows them to sell your house (among other things).

A justice scale with a dollar sign on one side and a house on the other side.

This hearing date is also your opportunity to show (or have your attorney show) and defend the foreclosure process. I have successfully defended numerous foreclosures for not having followed proper procedure. Additionally, depending on the circumstances of each case, this is your opportunity to ask the Clerk of Court for more time to allow you to avoid foreclosure. A consultation with me, Harry Marsh, will better explore whether this hearing can help you stay in your property for longer.

Regardless, not showing up to your hearing is the worst thing that you can do! If you do not (or are unable) to show to your hearing, we highly suggest that you hire an attorney to be present on your behalf. If an attorney shows to this hearing, your presence is not necessarily required.

I have spoken with the foreclosing attorneys and we estimate that only 30% of people being foreclosed upon show to their hearings. In Mecklenburg County alone, 1,000 foreclosures may be processed per month. This means that a lot of people are not trying to help themselves.

If you do not show to your hearing, a sale date will be set for the auction of your property. This normally happens 20 to 25 days after your hearing date.

You do not want this! After a sale date has been set, the balance of power in your foreclosure sways to the lender/bank. They are now in control of your sale date and you must negotiate directly with them. Call me for further information on how to keep this balance of power in your favor!

A gavel sitting on s desk.

When To Choose Loan Modification

There are a number of reasons to choose a loan modification. When you have had a temporary hardship that has resulted in decreased income, a loan modification can help you get back on your feet. Here are the reasons you may want to choose a loan modification:

  1. …..when you are now making enough income to resume the mortgage payment.
  2. …..if you are eligible for an interest rate reduction, which might help you support a reduced mortgage for your property.
  3. …..if the investor of your loan is a private entity, which may present you with a ‘deal’
  4. …..if you have no place to live and credit that will not allow you to move or buy another property
  5. …..if you have no options but foreclosure and wish to live in the property for additional time before it is foreclosed

In truth, there are many reasons to choose a loan modification. Each reason must be weighed carefully in your situation in order to pick the plan that will maximize value to yourself. You need to call Harry Marsh at 704-956-7498 for further information.

A hand selecting a silhouette business man

Why Should I Hire Harry Marsh?

Although anyone can do their own loan modification, I never advise to try. Allegations in recent lawsuits brought against major banks state that they are purposely attempting to thwart your efforts at a loan modifications. A lawsuit brought against some banks even believes that bank employees are paid bonuses and other incentives to deny your loan modification (see here).

After doing loan modifications for a number of years, I have learned many ‘tricks’ and shortcuts. I believe that I have seen most of the pitfalls that could happen to a potential loan modification client and have learned the best ways to deal with each situation. Chances are, I have previously worked on multiple loan modifications with your lender. They may have specialized requirements or processes that I will anticipate and be able to supply. Some lenders do not allow for postponements of sale dates or hearing dates, which can make certain deadlines critical.

Without this knowledge, you could be blindly submitting your loan modification with the hope that it is approved. The above paragraphs outline the ‘best case’ pitfalls that you may encounter. I won’t comment on whether or not I believe the banks are actively and purposely refusing loan modifications, but I have procedures in place from years of experience to help alleviate this possibility.

I record every conversation with the bank. I keep copies and documentation of every fax or other bit of information. My staff will always follow up with the bank to ensure that your documentation has been received, removing their opportunity to say that certain information has not been received.

I will keep you apprised of your court dates and always give you information along the way. My experience and counsel can help you sleep better at night.

Contact Harry

 

Locations

10550 Independence Pointe Pkwy #302, Matthews, NC 28105

6555 Old Monroe Rd D, Indian Trail, NC 28079

Foreclosures & Closings:

(704) 743-6387

Fax
(866) 535-8589

harry@harrymarshlaw.com

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1(704)743-6387