Everything You Need to Know About Ohio Foreclosure Defense
- What Is The Foreclosure Process?
- How Can A Foreclosure Defense Attorney Help Me?
- Why is Foreclosure Happening?
- What Kind Of Deal Can I Get?
- What Is A Foreclosure Defense Attorney?
- Loan Mod, Repayment, & Refinance
- What Kind Of Foreclosure Legal Advice Is Offered?
- What Is The Difference Between Foreclosure Defense And Bankruptcy?
- How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Foreclosure Lawyer?
- What Else Does A Foreclosure Attorney Do?
- How to Stop a Foreclosure Sale in Ohio.
- Free Resources at the bottom!
What is the foreclosure process?
In Ohio, foreclosure is a legal process that requires the bank file a lawsuit against you. The foreclosure lawsuit asks for two things. First, the foreclosure lawsuit asks that you pay back the money still due under the mortgage loan. This amount will include junk fees and court costs. It will NOT include attorneys fees, as Ohio law prohibits it. (Call us immediately if your amount includes any attorneys fees, as that is illegal in Ohio.)
The second thing requested in the foreclosure lawsuit is to sell your home. That part of the lawsuit is what makes a foreclosure lawsuit different than other kinds of lawsuits. Suing for money is just a run-of-the-mill breach of contract. Add in the house part, and you get a foreclosure lawsuit.
If a homeowner does not answer the foreclosure lawsuit (or loses it), the bank gets the right to sell the home. A judge orders judgment against the homeowner. Then the bank asks the sheriff to appraise and sell the home. A foreclosure auction is scheduled, the home is sold, then the loan paid off. If the amount of the auction does not cover the full amount of the bank's loan, then the bank has the right to take a deficiency judgment against you. That means the bank can garnish wages or take money out of your bank accounts until it gets all its money back. (Ohio has a two year statute of limitations on first mortgage deficiency collections.)
How Can a foreclosure defense attorney Help me?
Our foreclosure defense attorneys help you save your home from foreclosure.
Good foreclosure defense attorneys are usually able to get better loan modification terms and better overall deals than other lawyers. Our goal is to help families save their homes and get them a deal that they love!
We want to be as affordable as possible because we know you are going through a tough time. Our fee agreements are specifically set up so you stop paying our bill us once you save your home. We can write off a million dollars in a year of client debt because we believe in helping our clients. We believe that our clients should not end back in foreclosure because of our bill. Don't let cost deter you from saving your home from foreclosure.
Why is Foreclosure happening?
Foreclosure is the legal process of a lender enforcing the mortgage against the property of a borrower. Foreclosure is the result of the lender claiming the borrower failed to follow a provision in the note and mortgage, usually payment related.
When a borrower buys a property, there are two primary lending documents that are signed.
- A Note – A contract saying the borrower has promised to pay the lender. It details the amount the borrower plans to pay the lender, interest rates, and a payment plan.
- A Mortgage – A lien against the home. It details that if the borrower does not follow the promises in the note, the lender can take specific actions. This document states the rights a lender has to take the property from a borrower when failing to make required payments listed in the note. This document will also include any rights the borrower has to reinstate a mortgage after missing payments.
In Ohio, a lender has to file a complaint against the borrower to file a foreclosure action. The complaint must contain two counts. One count alleges that the borrower failed to follow the note. The borrower broke the promise listed in the note. Count two is focused upon the right the lender ha to foreclose on the property under the mortgage.
If a lender is filing a foreclosure lawsuit against you contact Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. immediately at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance. In the state of Ohio, a borrower has 28 days after receiving a foreclosure action to reply to the lawsuit and file an answer. Or a borrow may not reply and face a default judgement. Facing a default judgement could mean the borrow automatically loses the property to the lender. If unsure how to reply properly to the lawsuit, a foreclosure defense attorney at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can assist you. The time can vary. In Ohio, a lender has to wait 120 days after one missed payment to send a borrower a foreclosure action. Then the borrower has 28 days to reply to the lawsuit. During this time the borrower is allowed to continue living at the property.
If the borrower loses the lawsuit or faces default judgement the property is often sold at a sheriff’s sale. The borrower may continue living on the property and is responsible to upkeep the property until confirmation of a sale. This could be a day or a couple months. Depends on how long it takes for the appraisal and property to sell.
The borrower will then receive a writ of possession once the property is sold and a foreclosure notice to move.
What kind of deal can a foreclosure defense lawyer get me?
Having a good foreclosure attorney usually results in keeping your home. In 2017, we estimate we saved over 92% of the our client's homes when they call us at the beginning of the foreclosure process. Our deals usually result in the foreclosure lawsuit being dismissed and not losing your home to sheriff's sale. You may get a loan modification to keep your home, and possibly a write-off of some kind, or waiver of deficiency (if you want to move). All at an affordable cost. That's generally the value of a foreclosure defense attorney - a comprehensive resolution that you love. We go in and create an environment that gets a deal done that you were not able to get on your own. There are no guarantees in life, but having a good foreclosure defense lawyer can mean all the difference.
Hiring a foreclosure defense attorney means your lawyers talk to the bank's lawyers - not low-level customer service representatives. Hiring a good foreclosure lawyer also helps you stay in your home without having to file bankruptcy. The better your foreclosure attorney is at holding the bank's feet to the fire, the better deal that you can expect.
The kinds of deals that foreclosure defense attorneys accomplish is very dependent on how skilled the defense lawyer is. The better the foreclosure lawyers (or law firm), generally, the better the deal. It is not uncommon for our law firm to obtain a resolution that saves a home from foreclosure, modifies the loan to a lower interest rate, and waives some or all of the amount past due. It is very rare for our clients to have to put any money down as part of that deal. Also, depending on the way we have structured litigation, we may be able to recover some of our attorneys' fees from the bank (which may mean a refund back to you). Our deals can yield more savings for our clients than the monthly cost paid to us during the foreclosure process.
It is rare for us to lose a client's home to sheriff's sale. The earlier you can hire a foreclosure defense attorney, the better. At our affordable attorney costs, you can't afford not to!
Can a borrower receive a loan modification to get out of foreclosure? Can the borrower get a repayment plan for missed payments? What does it mean to refinance?
Getting approved for a loan modification can take a long time. It is a good idea to apply and receive a loan modification before making an insufficient mortgage payment. If you have already missed payments and received a foreclosure notice, a loan modification cannot always undo the problem but may delay the process. Contact an attorney at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. for loan modification assistance.
Some banks or lenders may offer a repayment plan, especially if the borrower has not yet received a foreclosure notice. Most lenders do not want to deal with the foreclosure process and are willing to help borrowers.
Refinancing is when a borrower gets a new mortgage to replace the original with hopefully lower interest rates and more affordable monthly payment.
What is a foreclosure defense attorney?
Foreclosure defense attorneys will step into the foreclosure lawsuit in state court and actually defend the foreclosure in court. Defending foreclosure requires knowing a LOT about the litigation process. Defending a case in court requires working in state court, where foreclosure is filed. Doing foreclosure defense well means the lawyer needs to have an intimate knowledge of the Civil Rules of Procedure.
Foreclosure attorneys will challenge the bank to ensure it is following the law. That means asking to see their paperwork. It means making sure they followed federal and state guidelines regarding loans. It includes reviewing the loan for errors under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) or the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which can pay you damages and cover all your attorneys' fee. It may include filing a new federal lawsuit if they find violations of the law, and asking the bank to pay all your attorneys' fees. That might mean suing the mortgage company.
We work hard on your case because this creates damages and defenses for the client, which means better loan modification terms or other deals for their client. We do all this at a low monthly cost for our clients, generally a fraction of your normal mortgage payment (because the bank is not accepting your payments).
You may be thinking, "this seems like a lot of work for a loan modification!" Unfortunately, that is what we have found is necessary to get the best results for our clients. If more banks were more willing to help their customers avoid foreclosure, we would not have to do so much. However, most of our clients report the run-around for weeks or months before looking for a foreclosure attorney. They end up in foreclosure because the bank promises the world, but never delivers. We come in to fight for you, while being affordable.
What Kind of Foreclosure Legal Advice is Offered?
The legal advice offered by a foreclosure defense attorney is generally comprehensive. The legal advice by a good foreclosure lawyer is obtained by taking a big step back. They look at your objectives. They look at the procedural posture of your case (where in the legal process it is). They also look at the strengths and weaknesses of the case itself, and how you feel about the mortgage company. Then they give you options. Good lawyers do not decide for you - they just give you the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's always your decision on how to proceed.
A foreclosure attorney is a special breed of lawyer. That is because a good foreclosure lawyer understands multiple areas of the law. They know the underlying statutory law available to their clients (like RESPA, FDCPA, and the CSPA), and also the technical rules of the court (Civil Rules of Procedure) to employ those laws. They also have the ability to shape arguments in cases to persuade the judges to rule in their clients' favor. They must be a little stubborn. They must be willing to go the distance because the banks have to be hit hard to pay attention. Thus, it takes smarts, sales, and a whole lot of tenacity to be a good foreclosure defense attorney.
Foreclosure defense attorneys ultimately make sure the bank does its job right, because they usually don't. For us, we believe that just because you are going through a tough time in life does not mean the bank gets to walk all over you. We ensure they follow the law just as much as they expect you to. A good foreclosure defense attorney will wrap all this up to offer some solid legal advice.
What is the difference between foreclosure defense and bankruptcy?
The difference between foreclosure defense and most bankruptcy attorneys is that most bankruptcy attorneys generally do one thing: file bankruptcy. That process is not in state court where the foreclosure is actually filed, but in bankruptcy court. It is form-driven, rather than litigation driven. Many bankruptcy attorneys have non-lawyers draft the forms to file in bankruptcy court, which then get filed for the client in a process that becomes fairly automated. They attend a meeting of the creditors, but they generally don't fight the bank where the lawsuit was actually filed.
Foreclosure defense attorneys, however, stay personally involved with your state foreclosure case. We raise standing arguments, look at federal lending law violations, and look at guidelines the banks have to follow. Many of the federal laws require the banks pay our attorneys fees. The natural result of this effort is that it maximizes the pressure on the bank to get you a deal you love. Our primary objective with foreclosure defense is not about getting you into bankruptcy to earn a quick fee. It's about doing the work we need to do in order for you to save your home, all at an affordable cost.
Bankruptcy lawyers might suggest Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 13. In that case, the client can avoid having to pay money back to the bank, but it doesn't secure a loan modification or help save your home from foreclosure. Chapter 7 is more appropriate for people with a lot of debt who don't want to keep their home. Filing bankruptcy is also the only guaranteed way to stop a sheriff's sale if you have already lost your foreclosure lawsuit to judgment (however there are some federal laws that can help here too while forcing the bank to pay your fees - ask your foreclosure defense attorney about that).
Our clients who seek our foreclosure defense services generally do not have a lot of debt. They generally will want to avoid all the negative implications of filing bankruptcy. They need the mortgage fixed, or they need some kind of better payment because of a decrease in their income. They do not want to walk away from the home in bankrutpcy. We suggest bankruptcy as an option to our prospective clients if they have a ton of other debt, like credit cards. If someone has credit card debt equal to half their annual income, then bankruptcy might make more sense to improve the client's life holistically. If your goal is to get back on track, that is going to be hard if we get you a good mortgage deal but you are burdened with heavy credit card payments.
You can do both foreclosure defense and bankruptcy. For example, you can attempt to get a better loan modification with your mortgage company, and then also file Chapter 7 to extinguish all your other debt. Federal guidelines will generally prohibit your mortgage company from refusing to look at you for a loan modification because you have filed bankruptcy. You should talk to both kinds of lawyers to figure out which one to do first. Don't make a decision about this step without talking to both.
Our foreclosure defense firm has good relationships with bankruptcy lawyers. They will refer us cases, and we will refer them cases too. This post isn't meant to bash bankruptcy attorneys. It is simply to highlight that bankruptcy lawyers advertise a lot about foreclosure defense, but don't actually do any foreclosure defense in state court where the foreclosure was actually filed.
Now you know the difference between foreclosure defense and bankruptcy lawyers.
How Much does it Cost to Hire a Foreclosure Defense Lawyer?
We have designed our foreclosure defense fee agreement to be affordable! We want you to be able to hire us to save your home, get a deal you love, and then move on without worrying about the rest of our balance. That is why we have written off a million dollars in a year in client debt! Also, the bank might have to pay all of our fees, which can result in a 100% return of everything you paid us. In order to help our foreclosure clients, we charge a monthly amount for our foreclosure attorney fees that equal....read more here.
What else does a foreclosure attorney do?
Our law firm defends foreclosure by looking at each case comprehensively. When we evaluate a foreclosure matter, we not only look at the most recent challenges faced by our client in working out a resolution with their mortgage company, but we also look at the loan closing and loan history to determine whether other defenses or claims may be available. We look for violations of TILA, RESPA, and other consumer statutes like HOEPA and the FDCPA. We approach foreclosure defense holistically, looking at the big picture of what our client wants to achieve, then all of the individual parts of the loan transaction to craft a strategy to meet that objective. In our experience, raising multiple issues in a foreclosure lawsuit usually results in better leverage with the bank to reach a favorable resolution, and our law firm is well positioned to help. We have found that greater pressure means better results.
Our foreclosure defense clients come to us seeking a variety of results. These include loan modifications, short sales, loan reinstatements, deeds in lieu of foreclosure, short refinances, or to simply walk away from the property without liability. We have experience in helping with each of these goals. For most of our clients, they have tried tirelessly to reach a resolution directly with their mortgage company for weeks or months before calling us for help (or a lawsuit has been filed). However, exhausting your options before calling us is not necessary, and we usually like to become involved with a case before a foreclosure lawsuit is filed (it allows us to evaluate whether to sue first). We welcome cases at all points of litigation, including appeals, and look forward to learning about your matter. We have an excellent track record of meeting our clients’ objectives, and have a variety of tools at our disposal to make those objectives a reality. Call us today at (614) 944-5219.
What Mortgage Companies does Doucet have experience with?
Our law firm has experience with dozens of mortgage servicers. More importantly, our firm knows the areas of law that each mortgage servicer must follow in Ohio. Here are some of the larger mortgage servicers that we can help you with:
American Home Mortgage Serving, Inc.
· Aurora Loan Servicing
· BAC / Countrywide
· Bank of America
· Citi Bank
· Deutsche Bank
· Flagstar Bank
· Fifth Third Bank
· GMAC Mortgage
· Greentree Servicing
· Homeward Residential
· Huntington National Bank
· JP Morgan Chase
· Nationstar Mortgage
· Ocwen Financial Corporation
· OneWest Bank
· PHH Mortgage Corporation
· PNC Financial Services Group
· Regions Bank
· Residential Lending
· Select Portfolio Servicing
· Seterus, Inc.
· Third Federal Savings and Loan
· U.S. Bank
· Union Savings Bank
· Wells Fargo
FREE for Homeowners Looking for Foreclosure Help
Our initial calls are an excellent starting place for people facing foreclosure to get information tailored to their individual situation. Call (614) 944-5219 or schedule online. Here are some other resources that may be helpful to you:
Many courts no longer offer mediation services. If you want to mediate your dispute in Ohio, you must file a request with the court to protect your rights and prevent the bank from trying to secure a judgment without notifying you. While some courts have automatic stays in place to protect you once you request mediation, we do not recommend you relying on this. We recommend you be on record with the court indicating your desire for mediation.
We recommend having your loan evaluated by a knowledgeable attorney before meeting with the bank in mediation, preferably as soon as you know you may be facing foreclosure. Meeting with an attorney will give you a better idea of what your defenses are (potentially creating leverage for you). Also, meeting with an attorney will give you an idea of what you qualify for under HAMP. While some banks and some attorneys will go to great lengths to help you in mediation, others are notorious for being difficult, unknowledgeable, and inefficient.
As a general rule, you should never trust a bank’s offer unless it is in writing. Also, many banks will not stop the foreclosure from proceeding even when you are trying to work on an agreement directly with it. This can create serious legal hurdles for you later, and is another reason why you should consult with an attorney as soon as you think you are at risk for foreclosure.
Ohio Save the Dream
Ohio has an excellent website that provides information for those facing foreclosure. It provides information about budgeting, job loss, and sources of help. It also includes a referral service to locate local attorneys in Ohio who may be able to help. If you are low income or have no income and want to be referred to a legal aid organization for potentially free assistance, this is a great website to start your search. Their telephone number is 888-404-4674.
Local HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies
This website lists the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) approved housing counselors across the United States.
Lost Job Website
If you lost your job, here is a website that offers some basic helpful information.
Columbus, Ohio Home Repair
If your home needs repair and you qualify, the City of Columbus, Ohio may be able to provide you free repairs. This program can replace furnaces, fix plumbing, roofs, and other livability issues at no cost to you. Click on the link to learn more.
Ohio’s Attorney General Complaint Line
We always recommend filing a complaint with your state’s attorney general if a company is trying to take advantage of you, whether it’s in foreclosure or with some other consumer issue. The attorney general’s office compiles these complaints and then decides on which entities to sue based on the number of and severity of the violations consumers report. This is a link to Ohio’s Attorney General.
FTC – Federal Government
If you would like to also complain to the federal banking regulator overseeing your bank or financial institution, these websites give you access to do so, or the names and addresses of the agency overseeing your bank. Generally, we recommend filing your complaint with the attorney general and then these agencies.
Tenant Rights Information
If you are a tenant and your landlord is in foreclosure, you have rights. A new federal law requires any party purchasing the home give you 90-days notice if they intend on evicting you. You might also be able to stay until the end of your lease. Click on the link to learn more.
Consumer Action Handbook
This 172 page handbook covers a host of different consumer related issues. It is published by the federal government and is free to download and order online. The areas covered include buying a car or home, preventing identity theft, understanding credit, and filing a complaint.
Book: 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure by Troy Doucet
Attorney Troy Doucet published 23 Legal Defenses to Foreclosure in 2008 that is given to new clients. This book breaks down 23 powerful foreclosure defenses into easy-to-understand chapters. Each chapter is packed with useful information that you can use directly in court in any state. The book includes: legal letters, forms, motions, an “Answer” to the lawsuit, and sample discovery to get damaging information directly from the bank. It includes recommended strategies for fighting foreclosure, and checklists that make this book easy enough for anyone to understand. Each chapter incorporates a section of the possible damages available for each defense – including how to cancel the loan and get a refund of all money paid to the lender. Defenses include TILA, HOEPA, RESPA, FDCPA, FCRA and more.
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus provides documents regarding foreclosure lawsuits and court information. There are free directions on how to respond to a foreclosure complaint and sample documents for requesting mediation, motion for extension of time, and a common pleas answer.
How to Stop a Sheriff's Sale in Ohio.
We have a detailed post that walks through the entire process of what it takes to stop a sheriff's sale in Ohio here.
Can I try to sell my home before it is foreclosed? What is a short sale?
Yes, a borrower may try to sell the property before foreclosure is final. The borrower may even try to sell the property before an official sheriff sale. Selling the property for the remaining balance of the mortgage loan plus the closing costs and other fees is the best way to ensure the borrower does not owe any more money to the lender.
A short sale is when the borrower finds a buyer for the property that won’t pay enough to cover the remaining balance on the mortgage loan. Sometimes the lenders will agree to let the borrower sell the property for the smaller price and will forgive the difference. For example, a borrower still owes $200,000 on a property. A buyer makes an offer on the property for $190,000. The lender might agree to let the borrower sell the property for the lower price and waive the $10,000 remaining balance.
However, a lender may choose to make the borrower liable for a remaining difference when accepting a short sale. Call the lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614) 944-5219 for any questions about short sales.
Do I get any money back from selling my home before foreclosure?
Yes, if the borrower sells the property for more than the outstanding balance owed to the bank, late fees, and closing costs. Borrowers are allowed to try to sell their property at any time during a foreclosure lawsuit.
Do I have to pay off my remaining mortgage loan after my house is foreclosed on and sold at a sheriff sale?
If the amount owed is not covered by a sheriff sale, the remaining balance is called a deficiency judgment. In most cases the borrower would still be required to pay off the remaining balance through a payment plan. If the borrower refuses to follow the payment plan, a debt collector may file for wage garnishment on the borrower.
Contacting an attorney at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. at (614)944-5219 directly after receiving a foreclosure action could help waive a deficiency judgment. If a borrower agrees to sell the property early on at a sheriff sale and not fight the lawsuit, an attorney may be able to clear the borrower from having a remaining balance.
Does foreclosing on a property damage a consumer’s credit report?
Yes, foreclosing on a property is one of the most damaging situations that can appear on a consumer credit report for seven years. Sometimes foreclosure can drop a consumer credit score over 300 points.
Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help a consumer correct errors on their credit report. Call us at (614)944-5219 or click here to
How to look for mortgage relief and foreclosure assistance scams?
Borrowers should always verify information regarding a loan modification or refinance opportunity with their lender. Scam companies often try to represent real government agencies. Many of these scam companies will target homeowners and offer loan modifications.
If you are a victim of a mortgage relief or foreclosure assistance scam contact Doucet & Associates Co., LP.A. at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance.