By Cara O'Neill, Esq.
The simple truth of the matter is that no one gets something for free. The other simple truth is that banks are smart, they know how to get paid, and they have the money to fight your case.
1. The Only Winner is the Foreclosure Agency
Granted, some foreclosure relief agencies explain that they plan to delay the foreclosure through litigation and pressure the bank into a loan modification in exchange for dismissing the lawsuit – an unethical practice when the client really does not have a case. What they don’t tell the client is that the foreclosure will most likely go through, his case will ultimately be dismissed, and he could find himself owing legal fees to the bank.
Obviously, the “foreclosure specialists” are the only ones who win, raking in thousands of dollars from desperate people. However, it is even more unseemly than that. Waiting in the wings are helpful “investors” who want to buy foreclosure properties cheap. These investors provide settlement money to clients who then offer to dismiss the case if the bank sells the property for less than market value. In exchange, the investor takes title to the home and enters a lease-to-own contract with the client for an established period of time. The client must obtain new financing and buy back the home from the investor within that time period or lose the opportunity to retain the home.
While this may seem better than simply letting the property go, it raises ethical questions about who the attorney is working for. As well, if the client misses a payment, the investor can evict the client from the property with no recourse.
2. You Must Have a Real Cause of Action
While there are times that the banks do things wrong and it is possible to prevail against them, these cases are rare. Generally, the only time litigation is warranted is when you possess solid proof that the bank did something wrong, or you know you can obtain proof through discovery.
The most straightforward action against a bank occurs when the bank fails to abide by the obligations set forth in a written contract – what is known as a breach of contract. While many people claim the bank did not live up to verbal promises, such claims are generally not enough to modify a written contract for real property. The bottom-line is that unless you have something in writing, your chances of winning a foreclosure action are slim. As such, if your attorney cannot point to a document and explain what it is that the bank did wrong in your particular case, it would be wise to get a second opinion before you pay for services.
(con't in Part 2)
Tags: Foreclosure scams, foreclosure