By Gary M. Singer
Sun Sentinel (MCT)
QUESTION: I have been in foreclosure for the past several years and have been unsuccessful in getting a loan modification because I don’t make enough money. My attorney just told me that the case is going to trial in two months. What can I do?
ANSWER: Foreclosure lawsuits can seem to last forever, but they, like all things, eventually come to an end. Many people have been able to work with the bank to keep their home, but in some circumstances, like yours, the numbers will never work out for a loan modification.
At your trial, the judge will make a final determination on the foreclosure, and the bank wins a large majority of the time. You should concern yourself with your future living arrangements and with trying to get the bank to waive any deficiency judgment - the difference between what you owe and what your house is worth. The reason that most lawsuits settle before trial is that neither side is positive of the outcome, no matter how strong the case may be. You can use this uncertainty to your advantage by negotiating with the bank to forgive your remaining debt and give you money for moving expenses.
You may also want to look into completing a short sale. You should speak to your attorney about the possibility of filing for bankruptcy to potentially save your home or at least allow you a fresh start without the dark cloud of debt hanging over your head.
Now is the time to start looking for your next place to live, because it can take a while to find a suitable rental, especially with a low credit score. While you may win your foreclosure case or get a last-minute loan modification, it is time to face the realities of your situation and get a head start on the next phase of your life.
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program. Send him questions online at http://sunsent.nl/mR20t7 or follow him on Twitter GarySingerLaw.
The information and materials in this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this column is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.