I keep hearing the same story over and over again from my foreclosure defense clients, just this week I had a client call me and tell me that it’s been over two years that the bank has a working on her mortgage modification and they haven’t given her one yet. When she called she was asking me if I could help her with her modification, and before she explained what happened I asked her if the following had occurred.
At first the bank told you they can’t offer you a mortgage modification until your few months behind, once you become a few months behind then they start you with the mortgage modification process and ask you for documents. In the beginning they seem very helpful and ask you for your bank account statements, tax returns, and pay stubs. Everything in the beginning always seems fine and the bank always behaves as if there helping you get a mortgage modification. But then months are going by and they keep calling you and telling you they haven’t received this document, you forgot to sign this document, you didn’t send us in this paycheck, and we need this piece of information. And then before you know it you’re one or two years behind on your mortgage.
I asked my client does any of this sound familiar? Her response was how did you know, that’s exactly what is going on. Can you help me get my mortgage modification? This is when I had to inform her that she was not going to get a mortgage modification, that in fact the bank had been scamming her and that the only thing the bank was looking to do was to foreclose on her property. The reason I know this is because I have been handling foreclosure defense law and bankruptcy law for years and have seen this same scam perpetrated on numerous clients of mine. Basically what they’re doing is, they force you to go more than two months in arrears before they even will consider a mortgage modification. What this does in reality is put you so far behind they no longer have to accept mortgage payments and just tell you they’re working on a mortgage modification. What they’re really interested in finding out your financial situation, because at a certain point you will not be able to use the one surefire way of saving your home from foreclosure which is a chapter 13 bankruptcy, as opposed to a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you think about it what you’re doing is you’re showing them your tax returns, how much are getting paid with your pay stubs and you’re showing them how much money is in your bank by sending them the bank account statements. All you’re doing in reality is letting them know when they can stop foreclosure and will be no way for you to fix the situation with a chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Never trust a bank, if you don’t get a mortgage modification within one to three months, you are never going to get a mortgage modification. This is true for over 95% of people, if it takes more than three months, the bank is stringing you along so they know mathematically that you do not have the resources to use chapter 13 bankruptcy to save your home. In chapter 13 bankruptcy as opposed to chapter 7 bankruptcy, any foreclosure proceedings stop, the bank is forced to start accepting your monthly payments, and you get the read to five years to repay the arrears that you owe. Also in chapter 13 bankruptcy you can file a motion for a mortgage modification and if you qualify, the bank must give you a mortgage modification or they must demonstrate to the bankruptcy court why you do not qualify. At our law firm we have the underwriting for a mortgage modification prepared prior to filing the motion and then if they attempt to tell the bankruptcy court you cannot qualify for mortgage modification, then we fight back with proof that you can. This is why it pays to seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney, never the attorney that gives you the cheapest price. You simply get what you pay for in life and I’ve seen more people lose their homes because either taking advice from a lawyer who doesn’t know what they’re talking about or even worst listening to people who are non-attorneys, you could do no worse than talking to people who do not practice on a daily basis the law in which your discussing.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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