Should Orlando homeowners hire an attorney to defend mortgage foreclosure?

Hiring an Orlando mortgage foreclosure defense attorney may be the smartest decision some Orlando homeowners make this year.  Last week, the Orlando Sentinel reported that mortgage foreclosure filings increased in September by a whopping 42%, after banks flooded the courts with an additional 3,209 mortgage foreclosure lawsuits.  The only good news to this statistic is that the number of filings is down from September 2010. That was when the number of foreclosure lawsuits in Orlando peaked just before mortgage defense attorneys exposed banks in the  “robo-signing” scandal that forced many lenders to suspend their efforts on seizing homes.  Now, the foreclosure mills are back with a fury.  In addition to the increased number of Orlando mortgage foreclosure filings,  a similar increase in number of initial default notices sent to Orlando homeowners suggests that this is the begnning of a new wave of mortgage foreclosure in Orlando.

What should an Orlando homeowner do after recieving the mortgage foreclosure lawsuit papers?  Well, I can tell you what the bank wants you to do – NOTHING!  The banks must value the defaulted loan and its collateral – your home – based on the time value of money and the effort and time it will take them to obtain legal title to the home through the foreclosure process.  They are hoping that the homeowner will default by failing to respond to the foreclosure lawsuit.  The bank’s hope is that the homeowner will feel guilty and shamed by falling behind on their payments, and that the individual or family living in the house  will just leave their home quietly and surrender it so the bank can take it quickly in the court.  The bank’s second best wish is that the homeowner will file some papers in the court on their own, and perhaps show up to the final foreclosure hearing to beg the judge to let them stay in their home.  I’ve seen this sad scene in our Orlando courtrooms and I can tell you, it doesn’t work.

What the bank is hoping that the homeowner does not do is hire an attorney to defend the foreclosure. They want to win their lawsuit against the homeowner as fast as they can, and they don’t want to have to deal with defenses that are based on requiring them to prove their compliance with Florida and Federal laws relating to home lending and home mortgage foreclosure.   As shown by a long record of bad behavior in and out of the courts, the banks would rather not have to deal with their legal responsibilities at all.  They want everything on their own terms, without regard to the legal and financial welfare of the homeowner.

What amazes me is how many homeowners feel that defending a mortgage foreclosure is shameful or wrong on moral grounds, and the somehow the “right thing to do” is to just surrender the house back to the bank.   I believe that most Orlando homeowners simply don’t appreciate the legal basis for doing this and why defending a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit may be the most important financial decision that a homeowner might make.  During the next couple of weeks, I will be writing several blog posts about defending Orlando mortgage foreclosure lawsuits, and why any homeowner facing foreclosure should be considering it.   In the meantime, any homeowner who is interested in learning more about how to deal with their mortgage debt and mortgage foreclosure can contact my office for  a free consultation.  Orlando homeowners need help, especially now.

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