5 Things to Do If You’re Facing Foreclosure: START WITH TAKING CARE OF YOU

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FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN THROUGH IT:

Walker held the inevitable estate sale

Date:December 1, 2011 Author:Stephanie Walker

Whether you’re in foreclosure or afraid you might end up there, now is the time to get in action. The prospect of losing one’s home is an incredibly difficult place to be and tends to inspire paralysis over action. I get it. I’ve been there myself. In 2009, my husband and I sold our Los Angeles home in a short sale, managing to avoid a bank sale on our home by mere days. It was a long process getting there and one that altered our lives completely… for the better.

Here are five things that made a huge difference for us:

1. Communication

I know how you feel. You don’t want to talk to anyone about the fact that you’re behind in your mortgage and you have no idea how you’ll pay it. In fact, talking about it is the last thing you want to do. But talking is critical to creating a positive outcome.

Communicate with your partner. Be open. Be honest. Be patient. Talk about the facts of your situation. Get to the nitty gritty of your finances. Stick to the facts and don’t blame. There is no room for blame. Own your own mistakes and commit to learning from the experience.

Walker held the inevitable estate sale

Communicate with your lender. Tell them you’re committed to saving your house, make sure they are aware of the circumstances that led to your default and talk to them about your options. You’ll want to know what you can afford to pay on a monthly basis before you request a loan modification. Call your lender weekly. Tell them that you’re calling to touch base and to see if any progress has been made with your request for a modification. Tell them you are committed to staying in communication and being responsible. Make sure that they note the call in your file. Make sure that you note the call in your files. Always note the name/ID number of the person you spoke with and the time and date of all calls.

If you’re anything like us, we were hesitant about telling our friends and family just how bad things really were. We were embarrassed. But, we were sure glad when we did tell them because we no longer had to pretend that everything was okay. And by sharing the truth about our situation we opened ourselves up to the support and love of our family and friends. Tell them now. Don’t wait. It’s not going to be easy, but you’ll be glad that you did. Let them in and allow them to make a difference for you. They’ll be glad to have the opportunity.

If you haven’t already, talk to a real estate agent and get a CMA (comparative market analysis) for your home. You’ll want to know what your options are and finding a real estate agent who has training in short sales and foreclosures is going to be your best bet. We had our house on the market way before our first notice of default arrived, but we didn’t consider a short sale until months passed with the house just sitting on the market.

And lastly, you’ll want to communicate with a HUD counselor. HUD is the Department of Housing and Urban Development and it has counselors that offer guidance free of charge. They can help walk you through your options and navigate this confusing time.

2. Make a pledge to turn your crisis into an opportunity

Did you know that according to a study by the National Bureau for Economic Research foreclosures are making Americans sick? It’s true. Maybe you’re in foreclosure now as you read this. You might be feeling that tightening in your chest. The stress makes it hard for you to breathe. The questions that turn like a knife in your stomach:

How will we get out of this? Where will we live? How will I provide for my family? Will we ever bounce back?

They weigh so heavily. They might be making it hard for you to get out of bed. Hard to be a normal person. I get it. Completely.

The most difficult aspect is the feeling that there is nothing you can do.

But, you know what? No matter how bad it is; it only feels like there’s nothing you can do.

But there is something huge you can start doing now. You can take care of you. Take care of each other. Nurture yourself through this awful time. Love. Commit to rising above the hardship. Commit to turning your foreclosure story into a triumph over adversity story worthy of a Hollywood epic picture.
How? Make a pledge to turn this crisis into an opportunity. When we missed our first mortgage payment, my husband and I saw the potential for things to get really dark and nasty. It was that realization that had us pledge to each other to be at our best. This is our pledge…

The Love in the Time of Foreclosure Pledge

I, [say your name], pledge:

To not allow this foreclosure to get the best of me.
I will mine this financial crisis for every opportunity.
I will stay in communication with my family and friends.
I will stay in communication with the bank and my creditors.
I will learn every lesson there is to be learned from this.
I will live in the moment.
I will ask for and accept help.
I will take time every day to connect with the people in my life.
I will take time every day to do something that makes me happy.
I will empower myself to be happy without the need to spend money.
I will continue to live my life productively and responsibly.
I will acknowledge my fear and act in the face of it.
I pledge to Love. To love others, to love myself and to love my life…

…in the time of foreclosure
…in the time of hardship of any kind

This pledge made the difference for us.

View from Stephanie’s home

We actually flourished as human beings. We grew closer as a married couple. We wound up living a huge adventure on a beautiful island that gave us our son. And it is all because we pledged this to each other. This pledge, that we took very seriously, got us through foreclosure and then some.

Feel free to steal ours or write your very own pledge. And when you do, make sure you share it with at least one other person. Sharing it helps you keep it alive.

3. Research

Be like Nancy Drew and learn everything you can about your situation and options. You might even want to create a Google Alert for the terms foreclosure and short sale. You’ll end up getting a lot of alerts, but this way you’ll be able to easily keep up on any changes and critical information that pertain to the housing crisis. The point is to educate yourself about your options. The foreclosure process varies state to state so make sure you keep this in mind in your research.

4. Put your house to work

Estate sale items

Use your house while you still have it. Have a garage? Clear it out and rent it out. Have an extra room? Find a renter. Or, rent out your entire house on a site like Zillow.

List your house with location scouting companies. You never know when a film production company might be looking for a house like yours in your area. Google “Location Scouts” and your city to find local companies.

We posted our home on this site — Plan-It Locations — and they actually called us for a Comcast commercial after we had already sold the house.

At the very least, you try and it doesn’t work. At the very best, a big Hollywood production company books your house for a film and pays you enough money to pay off your mortgage. Don’t scoff. It could happen. Did you hear about the people who found a vintage Superman Comic Book in the basement of their foreclosed home that was worth enough to pay off their mortgage?!

5. Create a back-up plan that excites you

It’s never too early to start thinking about where you will go if you lose your house. And if it does come to that, it will be so much better for you if you have a plan that actually excites you.

We started the process of creating a back-up plan by brainstorming ways we could live rent-free. We came up with a list and started to get excited by the prospect of perhaps being lighthouse caretakers, for example. We subscribed to the Caretaker Gazette and started reading about all of the various care-taking and house-sitting opportunities around the world.  As it turned out, we ended up living rent-free as caretakers of a 1910 farmhouse on San Juan Island. It wasn’t anything we ever thought we would end up doing, and we’re so glad that we did. Let me tell you, there’s nothing that can take the sting out of losing your home like living rent-free on a beautiful island surrounded by mountains and Orca whales. Give it a try.

I interviewed a woman for my blog who, after selling her house in a short sale, moved her family into an old Airstream Trailer. It was always a dream of hers to travel the country in an Airstream. She, her two daughters, her boyfriend and their Labrador love their downsized and out-of-the-box new life.

My mom, who is a Realtor®, had suggested to us at one point to contact the bank about letting us live in foreclosed homes rent-free in exchange for us keeping up the properties. I think that’s a really great idea and more banks should be looking into creative ways in easing this housing crisis.

Stephanie Walker with her husband, Bob, son Malcolm and their dog, Pablo Neruda.

I have a friend who lives rent-free in exchange for being the manager of his apartment building. You’ll be amazed by how many rent-free opportunities there are once you start looking.

My husband said to me at one point, “If you think about it, losing everything is the opportunity to live the life of your dreams.” When you have “nothing” to lose, you have the freedom to actually go for your dreams. You could look at this as the opportunity for a re-boot in your life.

Use this time to really look at what you would be doing with your life if you could do anything. Would you change careers? Go back to school? Turn to a life of service? Sail around the world? “Road-school” your kids and see the country?

Consider selling off all of (or most of) your possessions. Without all that stuff weighing you down, you’ll be amazed at what opens up.

It can be all too easy to allow yourself to be consumed by the prospect of losing your home. Don’t let it consume you. Stay on top of it. Be proactive. But don’t let it take you over. If you notice yourself saying the words “If only” on a regular basis, you’re in danger of losing yourself to this crisis. Dwelling on all the things you could have done to avoid this, doesn’t help.

What does help? Getting out there and living your life. Using this moment to create. Who do you want to be? How do you want to be? Know that it is possible that you will lose your house and everything in it… and that it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. It can be the beginning. An exciting new beginning for a brand new you.

Stephanie Alison Walker is a playwright, blogger and the author of the new book Love in the Time of Foreclosure that details how she and her husband created the life of their dreams in the midst of losing their dream home — a story she also parlayed into an award-winning play, American Home.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

E

35 Responses

  1. Indeed. Ventura court let the bank not show up for an eviction hearing, the attorney for the homeowner did, but it was still rescheduled. There will be no winning for us, unless we all stick together, but that is not what our country stands for. It’s for individuals to pursue happiness, not obtain it, but we are allowed to pursue. No one really cares that doesn’t need to.

  2. The banks are getting away with stealing homes because of real estate agents like her. She is part of what is making me sick. Typical in LA. These are the same agents who sold us our home and told us the market was looking GREAT in 2007.

  3. http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-assistance/explore-eligibility/Pages/results.aspx?HAM=1&2MP=1&HHF=1&HAFA=1

    And really, they do offer a chance for the ones not in a foreclosure state to get their loans down.

  4. It should be just that. Wipe all the loans to what it would take to replace or close to, but some of these defaults on values that are closer to 25% than half. All the benifits, everything would return. Because real estate, whether an investment or residental, is just the same as money in the bank, or it used to be. So it’s like the other media of transactions, like money was inflated or deflated, the government controls that as needed, so why not do the same for the banks, it equates to adjusting the flow of money. Not sure if anyone understood that, but from reading above. Everyone will benifit. The neighbor that needs to retire, the pension that was tied to a dollar figure, to the top 1% won’t be from making money off others money, but hard work again. Sorry must the smartest man still need food, as wee need him who grows it. Bravo Chris!!!!

  5. Carie,
    They get away with it because the Lenders don’t care how they rake in the money, just as long as they’re getting their money, the Lenders turn a blind eye. The Servicers very well may be making shit up as they go along, and blatantly lying to you (and me, and the rest of America) over the telephone, saying that the Lender guidelines state they can’t do this and that. I firmly believe there should be something done about this nationwide. ANY time your NOTE changes hands, the new Lender of record should mandatorily have to send you, along with an updated copy of your NOTE showing the endorsement to them, their guidelines and procedures in case 1. you fall behind on payments what they will and wont allow on repayment, and 2. in the event of a pre-foreclosure or a full blown foreclosure what your rights are as the homeowner through the Lender. And we all know that won’t happen in our lifetimes, and if it ever does, they’ll find a way to hide the facts or distort them to servicer advantage.

    I’m so aggravated with my Servicer (BofA) due to the fact that we have been demanding information from them since March, through our attorneys, and they delude my legal counsel! They send partial documents or none at all, and they drag their heels doing it!
    They get away with it because there is NO STATE OR GOVERNMENT office governing how they conduct business, or at least not one that’s giving two shits at this point. You can file complaints with the OCC and the Office of Thrift Supervision all day long, and you can involve your attorney general in your state. Chances are, none of the three are going to really put forth any effort to thwart the abuse or research it.

    Bank of America thinks we are stupid enough to send in money to them AGAIN after they reinstated our loan from their fudge up from cancelling a finalized loan mod out from underneath us, misappropriating over $21,000.00 of mortgage payments (to this day we have no clear cut evidence as to how this big amount of money was “misappropriated”), and they sent us a reply letter in regards to one I sent them back in April demanding to see the Original NOTE to our home, with full endorsements to Freddie Mac, our purported Lender of record. We got told that Bank of America didn’t have the original note, nor did they know its whereabouts. Now tell me, HOW DUMB DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO SEND THESE ASSHOLES MONEY WHEN THEY OPENLY ADMIT THEY CANT PROVIDE THE NOTE TO YOUR HOME, WITH ENDORSEMENT TO WHO THEY SAY YOU OWE???

  6. The bottom line with all this is–how do these servicers get away with stealing homes with no proof of where our payments have been going?

    Where, oh where, is it written that a debt collector—not a real creditor— on unsecured alleged debt can take a house? The foreclosure mills are debt collectors…the servicers are debt collectors…THEY are the ones stealing these houses…there are NO REAL CREDITORS TAKING THESE HOUSES.

    They REFUSE to tell me where my payments have been going and who would be getting the proceeds from the theft/sale of my house.

    Refuse to tell me.

    Ignores the FDCPA and TILA laws.

    The government is LETTING them get away with that.

    GEITNER and OBAMA made it so.

  7. To comment on Dori Ann’s paragraph regarding being caretakers. I agree having someone come in and “caretake” someones elses home is just plain wrong and adding salt to the wound. The homeowner should be the one to take care of their own property. We asked the REO agent about staying in the home to “caretake”. He laughed and said Fannie Mae does not allow that sort of thing. I read about it in an article, asked around at the time we were being forelcosed on and no one knew what that meant. So where are these “caretaking” homes available? Maybe if the author of this sweet lovely story of foreclosure is reading this site can enlighten us.

  8. Dorie Ann, you have it 100% correct. Good for you! There are so many folks out there that still believe, all of this was because “people bought more than they could afford” Hogwash, all lies!

  9. All I can say to this article is WoW!!! I want whatever medication this woman was on when she wrote this. I’m glad that whatever worked for her husband and herself is okay by her standards, but for the rest of us who see what is going on in this country as a COLOSSAL injustice, this sugar-coated, lovey dovey, twangey on the heart strings farce of a story ain’t cutting it!!!

    To simply give the bank and the servicer what they ultimately want (your home) is bull and a weaklings way out! These servicers have been very well taught at how to divert customers, elude the obvious, deny payments and documentation, hide funds, and still manage to steal everything you own by any means necessary. If we as homeowners roll over and take the ass whipping, what does that say about us? We are all a bunch of pushovers who will succumb to whatever the servicer says is law, and not demand any proof otherwise.
    A servicer (let’s use Bank of America because they’re on my shit list) tells you that your lender won’t let you do a repayment plan after foreclosure proceedings have been initiated? Or better still, your lender will not let you do more than six months on a repayment plan? Well then show me proof!!! Where are they pulling this information from? And why as the homeowners and the ones with our feet held to the fire do we not have access to this information? Before you just roll over and take it from behind, demand to know what they know, and how they know it! Demand to see the guidelines for whatever lender they purport you now owe money to! Better than that…demand to see entry level accounting on your account that shows HOW you wound up in default, find any monies hiding out in “suspense accounts” for “fees due”, and challenge every single penny! There is nothing stating that you cannot demand documentation that holds you, as a consumer, liable and accountable under Lender or Servicer by laws or standards, and you should demand to see what documentation they are holding with these laws and limitations on them so you know you’re not being lied to and led down the primrose path!
    Even better still….challenge that your Lender is who the Servicer says they are, and demand from BOTH to see the original note to your home, and see what bullshit they come up with in response to that request! My point is, if they can’t factualize who you owe, and that your prior payments have indeed gone to said lender, why oh why would you bother selling off everything you have just to pay on a farcity of a mortgage? Because the servicer told you so? BAH! Humbug!

    Simply “talking” to these servicers and lenders wont get you very far at all unless you have the upfront money that THEY purport you owe to reinstate. They are simply debt collectors for a lender. The lender, especially if it’s Fannie or Freddie, will not give you the time of day. They will tell you flat to your face that they do not deal with individual homeowners and to go to your Servicer! The servicers are the debt collectors and the foreclosure initiators, the lenders wont talk to you directly because there’s a loop you have to go around and around and get nowhere…..see the picture?

    And it may just be me, but this part in above article about contact the banks and sign on to be caretakers of foreclosed properties? This is a direct kick to the groin of the person who lost the home!!! Personally, and this is just my opinion, having ANYthing to do with foreclosures to better your situation is highway robbery! I don’t condone nor do I agree with making money or bettering your circumstances on the heels of someone else’s demise. That’s just unAmerican.
    I’m wondering if this woman gave any thought to contacting their servicer or lender and saying “you know what, I would like to be a caretaker…I know I couldn’t afford my home and you foreclosed on me, but could I please move back into that home as a caretaker until you find someone to buy it?” The term “squatter” comes to mind. Maybe we all should try it.

  10. And just for the record, my opinion only; everyone single homeowner should fight foreclosure. The biggest reason for me; it is not good for our economy, neighborhoods and the banks solvency. It they are too stupid to do the right thing, for the economy, WE MUST! Fighting is the answer, the only answer to stop this “treasonous” behavior.

    Modifications will generate leveling out home prices, improve neighborhood values and stop degenerating them, resolve many of the title issues and generate profits on the notes.

    This situation is outrageous!

  11. I sold a lives worth of memories and hard-earned valuables, to pay the bank. They do not care. This has gone on so long, it is never enough. I had over 6 figures in the bank too. It doesn’t take long for the money to disappear. Even tried to sell the property for 18 months, prices were dumping so low, it didn’t matter what you did, you had to give it away, to sell it. None of this was my fault. The banks have created this monster at every angle and they should pay to repair it. Like enraged, I too, tried everything. Now I am living on pennies compared to what I was able to earn and just for the record, I still have a student loan to pay for my advanced degree, which hasn’t helped me find gainful employment, but actually hurt me. There is no benefit to taking a job at $10-$15.00 per hour, given the debt I have. After taxes, gas, food, etc…there is nothing left to pay the bills with (20 years I made 6 figures, so it was consistent). This is some kind of joke? I want to work, actually love working and the good jobs are just not out here. I cannot fix this mess, our government and financial sector MUST! Anyone who thinks selling jewelry, art, furniture, your car, etc…to pay the bank is nuts, ’cause it does not work! Would I do it again, sell everything for pennies on the dollar to be in the very same state I would have been in anyway….Hell no….!!!!!

  12. Why Should I Fight My Foreclosure?

    If you have been served with a complaint to foreclosure on your home, your options are limited. First, you can negotiate with your mortgage company to reinstate the mortgage. Secondly, you can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Thirdly, you can sell your home or attempt to refinance. Fourthly, you can give up and get out of your home. Finally, you can fight the foreclosure.

    The first two options assume that you can afford your current monthly payment, and selling or refinacing your home may be impossible if you have little equity or even negative equity.

    Many homeowners, especially those with subprime mortgages, can no longer afford the mortgage payments, even if the mortgage were current. That makes a Chapter 13 bankruptcy impossible. Even if you are behind on your payments, and cannot afford the current monthly payment, you should contact Parker & DuFresne to fight the foreclosure.

    While you are litigating the foreclosure case, you are not required to make your normal monthly mortgage payments. The legal process will afford you time to reinstate the mortgage, sell your home, file a bankruptcy or move out. You may be able to force the lender to completely rewrite the terms of your note and mortgage, enabling you to keep your home.

    This may sound too good to be true, but you may actually have valuable defenses and counterclaims against your mortgage company that could actually prevent foreclosure and even require your lender to pay you damages. Across the country, judges are punishing mortgage companies for incomplete record keeping and for violations of the Truth In Lending Act. You may be able to allege valid defenses including fraud and Truth In Lending Act violations.

    Are you aware that your mortgage company is probably not the same company that actually loaned you the money to buy or refinance your home? How do you know if the mortgage company suing you has been properly assigned your note and mortgage? Your mortgage company may have failed to properly assign the note and mortgage before initiating the foreclosure. Does your foreclosure complaint even have copies of the note, mortgage and purported assignment attached?

    Most likely, these documents are not attached, and may not even be in the possession of your mortgage company. Your mortgage company may be attempting to substitute your original note and/or mortgage with a purported copy. This is called a “Count to Establish Lost Documents.” There are strict legal requirements to establish a lost note or mortgage, and your mortgage company may be unable to meet the requirements if challenged.

    CHECK OUT THIS RECENT NEWS REPORT!

    If your current mortgage company is not your original lender, it probably has never read your mortgage. Your mortgage may require that the plaintiff accelerate (i.e. demand) the entire balance of the note. Your mortgage company may have failed to do that, which may entitle you the opportunity to cure the mortgage by paying the reinstatement amount. It is also common for mortgage companies to inflate the balance due on the mortgage by charging homeowners junk fees, such as Broker Price Opinions (BPO), property inspections and other “property preservation expenses.”

    So, essentially, your mortgage company may have filed an improper foreclosure lawsuit, but your time is limited. You have or will be served a copy of the foreclosure complaint by a process server. You typically have only 20 days to respond to the mortgage company’s complaint, so you need to see an attorney immediately if you wish to defend against the foreclosure. If you are beyond the twenty days, there are still defenses that can be raised.

    Chip Parker is a graduate of the prestigious Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp, which has been featured in Business Week magazine and on ABC’s Nightline. The attorneys of Parker & DuFresne are armed with the knowledge and resouces to fight your mortgage company, and they will meet with you for free to review your foreclosure complaint and discuss your options.

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  15. SHAME ON YOU NEIL FOR PUTTING THIS DRECK HERE—WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU???

    (I think Neil does this to us on purpose—’cause he knows we’ll get all riled up…either that or he’s got a split personality…I really don’t get it.))

  16. Guess these people think it’s ok for a rapist to get away with the rape…AND the pillage.

    Her mom is a “Realtor”…are they in on this, too? Hmmmm….

  17. Sorry, this didn’t add up to me. I researched this story all over the net. The mom is a Realtor and probably should of figured this one out by asking questions like,”How in heck can you afford this! ”

    http://loveinthetimeofforeclosure.blogspot.com/2009/08/wednesday-wisdom-from-real-estate-mom.html

    They started with a condo at 200k and mom says they doubled there money. Then they went for the gold and bought a 799k home and short sold for 700k? Was this one of those zero down no document loans? How did they qualify? In other articles they claim they spent 130K in upgrades. Hmm? If true, then they didn’t put much down. If nothing at all.

    They advertised the heck out of this home right after the two years living there.

    http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/house-tours/house-tour-stephanie-bobs-silverridge-sanctuary-los-angeles-065994

    Advertised at 875k

    http://2471silverridge.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2008-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2009-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=29

    Sorry, but love in a foreclosure? Or should this be love in high dollar gamble?
    Some of us really did or are losing everything we had to a foreclosure. But lets not go overboard.

  18. Totally Agree with Rabi – OR – perhaps we’ve just been co-opted by a Banksta – sorry but I don’t buy a Word of this piece! And, Why may I ask did it show up on Livinglies?

  19. Very well said.

  20. We communicated with our bank and did what they suggested we do. Sent in info requested, told they got it, then they don’t have it. You know the drill. When I questioned the “nice” person as to where all the info went that they said they had, she says to me that we would not be in this mess if we paid the mortgage. I asked her why she is lecturing me about being responsible when they are “loosing” docs with very private info. She hung up on me.

    We also told family and friends that we were in trouble. Well, people who we thought were friends deserted us because they said we were stealing and being irresponsible people. My servicer was Wells. Guess what, I have a niece that works for Wells in their offices in MN and a cousin who is a loan office for Wells. Guess who family memebers “sided” with. It wasn’t me–again the deadbeat issues.

    As far as my marriage, destroyed. We had a good marriage up until foreclosure.

    We sold lots of our possessions for very little. Should just have said come and get our stuff for free. We furnished our house with garage sale finds, Goodwill bargins and things family members gave. We sanded, painted, refinished, etc. our furniture. We didn’t go to department stores to buy expensive things, we chose to refurbish. Watching my things go out the door to me symbolized failure and not I am loosing my stuff. Yes, one good point, lots of things that were packed in closets were gone.

    I get the fact that if you cannot make your mortgage payments that you may loose your house. But I have a hard time with loosing my house becaue of fraud because the banks, foreclosure mills did not follow the law. I followed BK attorney’s advice and now realized it was wrong.

    Chris, Bob and others I totally agree with you. This person lives in a fantasy. I wonder if she is even real. She made it sound like foreclosure was a wonderful experience. Being Zillow is connected with this article gives me pause. This whole experience has been hell.

  21. @Ann,

    Unfortunately, we don’t find statistics for each and every state but I would bet that they would also show a greater number of wins by homeowners and dismissals by banks.

    That’s also what I have been advocating for a long time: fight. Banks realize that it will be increasingly more difficult for them to find juries willing to exonerate them from the mess they created.

  22. What’s Happening in Foreclosure Cases?

    Mark Stopa Esq. http://www.stayinmyhome.com

    Florida just revealed these statistics on the adjudication of foreclosure cases in the past year, and I’m pleasantly surprised. More than 104,000 foreclosure cases were dismissed in Florida in the past 12 months – greater than the number of summary judgments that were entered over this same time period.

    That’s terrific news. It proves there are ways to reduce the backlog of foreclosure cases in Florida courts without entering summary judgments and throwing homeowners on the streets.

    Know what else jumps out at me? The number of trials. 198. That’s 198 trials in the entire year, across the entire state. As I see it, that’s a glaring sign that banks don’t want to go to trial in foreclosure cases. What does that mean for homeowners? Just what I’ve been saying for years now – fight your case, force the banks to prove their entitlement to a foreclosure in court, force them to go to trial, and you may give yourself leverage to get a settlement/resolution that you can live with. Heck, you might even prompt a bank to dismiss the case.

  23. Pro se legal representation refers to the instance of a person representing himself or herself without a lawyer in a court proceeding, whether as a defendant or a plaintiff and whether the matter is civil or criminal. Pro se is a Latin phrase meaning “for oneself”. This status is sometimes known as propria persona (abbreviated to “pro per”).

    Florida is a judicial state when it comes to foreclosure. That means your lender has to sue you in court in order to foreclose on your property. In a non-judicial state such as Georgia, the mortgage document contains a “power of sale clause”. The clause gives the lender pre-authorization to sell your property without a court order. If you’ve just been served a foreclosure summon, do not panic. Your worst mistake would be to ignore it. If you do not respond to the complaint, you’ve given an easy victory to the mortgage company. Usually you have 20 to 30 days to respond; if you do not respond, a default judgment will be entered against you, and eventually you will lose your house..

    You must file an answer within that timeframe. Most people are intimidated by the judicial system. If you can overcome your initial fear, you will be immensely rewarded regardless of whether you win or lose. You must be prepared to leave behind the idea that a) the law is about justice b) that all attorneys are honest and follow the law c) that judges must take the side of justice. U.S judicial system is based on an adversarial contest between the plaintiff and the defendant. The judge has to be impartial to both parties. If the plaintiff cheats and lies in court, don’t expect the judge to raise the matter. It is the responsibility of the defendant to raise the issue. For that reason, you must be vigilant at all time and never trust the authenticity of anything the plaintiff attorney presents. Your weapon is the law and the rule of civil procedure. The rules of civil procedure dictate the manner in which the lawsuit must proceed. Like in any game, the opposing party will try to bend the rules and cheat. Knowing the rules of civil procedure is crucial to your success. If you don’t master the rules of civil procedure, your opponent will cheat without you being able to challenge the foul play. You can obtain a copy of the rules of civil procedure in your state for free.

    To buy time, you can file a Motion for Enlargement of Time or a Notice of Appearance. You can ask for 20 extra days to file your answer. Sample pleadings are available on the Pleading section of this web site.
    Call your county courthouse and get the contact info of the judge assigned to your case. Write down the name and address of the Judicial Assistance of the judge and the recording office of the court. Some courts allow you to file by mail; you can also go directly to the courthouse to have your documents filed. A copy of each filing must be sent to the plaintiff attorney and in some cases to the judge office. Call the judicial assistance for more information.

    Anatomy of A Foreclosure Complaint

    You’ve been served a foreclosure summon. That means the bank is suing you to get the property that secured your loan. With the summon, you will find the complaint detailing what you’re being sued for.

    The foreclosure complaint is made of several parts.
    1.Style of the case: this is the section that list the plaintiffs and the defendants. For example “BANKSTER BANK VS JOHN SMITH”;
    2.The case number;
    3.The title;
    4.An introductory paragraph;
    5.Numbered paragraphs;
    6.Demand for relief;
    7.Certificate of service;
    8.A signature block.

    Foreclosure Defense Road Map For Judicial States

    1) You’re at least three months late on your mortgage payment.
    2) The servicer or “lender” sends you a Notice of Default
    3) Send a Qualified Written Request to the loan servicer. They have twenty days to acknowledge receipt of your request; then they have sixty days to provide the information demanded.
    4) You receive a foreclosure complaint. You have 20 to 30 days to file a response to the complaint. Check the document for exact deadline. Failure to timely respond to the complaint will result in a default being entered against you. In a sense, you’ve given an easy victory to the plaintiff.
    5) If the plaintiff is a trust, a defunct bank, or a bank not registered in your state, file a “Motion to Dismiss For Lack of Capacity”.
    6) If the plaintiff is an entity from another state and did not post a cost bond, file a “Notice of Failure of Plaintiff to Post Non-residential Cost Bond”. After twenty days if plaintiff has not posted the cost bond, file a “Motion to Dismiss For Failure to Post Cost Bond”. Schedule a hearing and bring a court reporter to the hearing.
    7) If there is no assignment from the original lender to the current plaintiff, file a “Motion to Dismiss For Lack of Standing”.
    8) If plaintiff files an “Affidavit of Amount Due and Owed”, file a “Motion To Strike Affidavit of Amount Owed”.
    9) If plaintiff files a Motion for Summary Judgment, file an “Affidavit Opposing Summary Judgment”.
    10) Send your interrogatories. If plaintiff does not answer the interrogatories in a timely manner, file a “Motion to Compel” and schedule a hearing. Make sure to bring a court reporter.
    11) File your answer, affirmative defenses and counter-claims if necessary.
    12) Request for production of documents.
    13) Schedule deposition to depose affiants.
    Read more at http://www.foreclosureprose.com and
    http://www.foreclosureprose.com/the-reporter-guide-to-a-civil/

  24. Clearly after all we now know……. the writer of that article must have had too much of their Kool-aid to drink.

  25. Fabulous interview of Michael Hudson about his new book “Monsters”.

    http://mandelman.ml-implode.com/2011/12/author-michael-hudson-knows-the-monster-a-mandelman-matters-podcast/

    Makes us understand much, much better when it all started and how.

    The goal I have is to educate myself to such an extent that, the day I am before a jury, I will be able to explain it in simple terms they all can understand… and win! That should be everyone’s goal.

  26. Thank God for people who comment here. The foreclosure engine is a monster with a mindlelss mind and a momentum all its own. All the little actions by countless individuals who perpetuate it daily and look the other way add up to total devastation and despair for millions who will never recover. Time to take back American real property. How? Haven’t a clue but the solution will not come from those profiting from default and illegal foreclosure. Where is a homeowner’s union? Occupy mortgages. Frankly think a flood of well crafted court filings raining down on courts could gum up that monster engine for awhile and call attention to fraud on America. and that would be a good thing. We need a moratorium and those who lost homes illegally need to fill up the vacancies. It will stop the global crisis – not the other way around – no one in power gets that. Defective and fraudulent MBS derivatives ect is the root of what ails all. All the reasons MERS is getting sued are the same reasons all the servicer-collectors should be sued. The “lenders” are long gone and paid in full many times over if they ever actually loaned any money at all. All the reasons BofA gets sued are the same reasons Dimon and the rest should be sued and sent to jail. Maybe someone should just guarantee the tax breaks to judges and pension funds and take that conflict of interest off the table. Time for all to admidt the emporer has no clothes left in the closet.

  27. When I first started reading this article I thought it came right of a banker’s mouth or my CONGRESSWOMAN, here in CA who told me in a letter that I should sell any jewelry or other valuable items I may have to make payments to the banks!

    Some people like to take the easy way out, not that they didn’t struggle like many of us have, it sounded like they had their share, but their decision worked out well for THEM, I am happy that they are happy. Stephanie, you did what you thought would work out for you and your family, but you must understand that every situation is different. You put your home on the market even before the NOD was sent to you, you already had given up your home and possibly your right to own a home.

    Believe me when I say communication with the banks was the first thing any and every one of us had done, I personally spent a large sum of money, time and efforts on certified letters and phone calls, and visits to their offices, not to mention to every regulatory agency and my CONGRESSWOMAN, who could care less about her state and its people. The problem is Stephanie, the banks don’t care that anyone of us is struggling economically because of the housing bubble burst in our faces, the very doing of the banks. All they care about is taking away your home if you cannot make the payments, even though, they have no interest in the homes. So if we don’t question things and if we know that the banks have no interest or rights to our homes and we decide to walk away they get away with fraud and crimes, and we would be accomplices.

    This isn’t your regular everyday foreclosure situation, and we the homeowners did not start this mess, the banks did. You said that we have to admit to our mistakes, what mistakes my dear? If I speak for myself, I was an innocent bye stander, I got screwed by a small time Madoff who took my savings and ran because as you can see Wall Street id not regulated, and neither are the banks. When the bank lied to me from the beginning about loaning me money and then turned around and sold my NOTE on WS and tore it down to pieces it was no longer what it would have been had they loan me the money themselves. Now I am stuck, the bank does not own my home, they don’t even know who does, the title on my home is damaged, so how can I sell my home knowing that the title is bad? And why would I walk away from my home, after all the only other money that went in it besides the investor’s money is my own. I put up most of the money on this home, why would I leave it to the thieves who tore my life apart?

    Some things are worth fighting for, as humans we have rights, as Americans we have rights, as homeowners we have rights, and we need to stand by our rights and the rights of our children and their future. The day I walk away from my rights and from what’s right, is the day I give up on living! I worked very hard for everything I have and everything I believe in, and walking away is not an option for ME! I don’t care about the things or the walls of my home, I care about what things in my life stand for. It’s obvious that there is fraud and deception have been committed and the only way to deal with those issues is to face them head on, and get to the bottom of things and let the perpetrators know that they cannot get away with this kind of crime because it’s not right.

    Having said all that, I must respect your decision, that’s what’s best for you and your family and now you are happy. You cannot expect that that’s the rout everyone els should take, you should not even attempt to. As you can see from other’s reaction, it became as an insult to most of us. We are not in your shoes and you are not in ours, I was not encouraged or inspired by your comments, but I appreciated that you can share it with others. and yes people should share their stories, and get support from their families and friends, and hopefully the communities as a whole. And people should take better care of themselves, while the battle goes on. I hope and wish you and the many people who decided to let go the very best!

  28. As optimistic as I always am, I found that piece literally delirious… Delusional, even. Those people are Y-O-U-N-G. Makes the whole difference: their entire future is ahead. Mine is behind me!!! They could have warned us too, right off the bat: “We’re young, everything is still an adventure for us… Caution, may be harmful to your 60+-year-old health…”

    Scout ads to see if some production Co. might “rent” enough of your house to actually pay off the mortgage? Nope, no production co here. Sell your stuff? That was my fist thing, to “sell”. Jewels, books, art, everything that I had gathered in my past life. All my memories of all my travels.

    And the best one: “Communicate with your lender”. Is that some kind of a nightmare? We all frickin’ did! I used to go there week after week to talk to live people and ask them why they kept on losing my monthly payments, why they were charging me late fees for their negligence, why they were harassing me with doorknob holders, etc. Men, I communicated soooooooo much, and nothing changed. Got to a point where I didn’t want to anymore: useless loss of energy and saliva. I figured a lawsuit would catch their attention much, much better. Since then THEY’ve wanted to communicate. But no way: you forced me to that point, now, I will com-mu-ni-ca-te with a jury.

    I hope that peice can actually help someone. Personally, it pissed me off completely.

  29. Tripe for Sunday morning breakfast. Pay no attention to the pretender in this article. She has no clue. After the initial shock and awe from the brazen criminality whirling around one’s house being stolen by which ever bankster is still standing when the music stops, and once the fraud inherent in the system is fully grasped, it’s inevitable that thoughts arise around saving other victims from the criminality, not about how one can reconcile with the system. Combine with thoughts of cold bankster heads on pikes, and you get the recipe. It’s time to warn them all, since our government won’t, that we’re coming for them and it won’t end well. They have no place in a civilized world.

    “Consider selling off all or most of your possessions?” That’s too funny! How much would you like to bet that the author has doting doctor parents and is deliberating whether or not she should cash in her six figure 401K or sell her late model Benz so as to go be a lighthouse keeper? What an idiot.

  30. Chris , I agree with you . You call the Bank and the will tell you : We have seven Mary , which one.
    I send 208 pages with fax , Fedex and certified , the never arrive .
    If you have a business property , try to pay the mortgage , so you will not loose your money maker and may be could sleep there too.
    I eat some day 10 Pills = Pycnogenol= to prevent heart attack and lower my stress , beause in the same time , my mom in Europa did
    go in the Hospital with 90 years .But learn , everythink come most of the time at once . I will work overtime ,to pay my Lawyer.

  31. Who the hell wrote this story? Communicate….Dah, to whom, the bank, OH MY.

    A back up plan that excites you? Like what, when your facing that type of loss and possible homelessness. GEEZ!

    Then say a poem…holy Shit. What fantasy if this person living in?

  32. zillow.com Blow it out your ear.

  33. […] View article: 5 Things to Do If You’re Facing Foreclosure: START WITH TAKING CARE OF YOU […]

  34. may work for your family but i can not role over to thieves…. in addition i did not see your faith in god and pray in your story which is so important. this is taking away your rights in federal govt. and being compacent is not the answer. the fight is on is save the home of america of freedom and civil rights………..bob keep up the fight dont quit………….

  35. Just because you can make the most of the problem, doesn’t mean it should go to the side. That’s like saying a rape victim should do the same above, no, sorry, it feels just like rape, and until the culprit stops harming me and my family, yes, we will go down like the other 20 Million households (80 million and counting roughly), but do we just forget about those that are yet to be victims? We tell them yet to come is the same fate, because no one wants to take the actions to change it. I heard a major new caster question why “occupy” is out there, what was their point, and this was last week! Major issues, hurricane fiance has reached a national crisis point, can we not vote our own change? Senate wants to walk out, lets go and do it ourselves. Wipe it all clean. KISS

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