The fact of the matter is that as a resident of the State of North Carolina, you can work with your mortgage, credit card, or business lender directly and attempt to modify your debt and other obligations yourself. You can also legally defend yourself in court on other matters, and some have even defended themselves in various jurisdictions against all ranges of felonies, contracts, and other legal matters, and many meet with disastrous results.
There are a number of statutes governing home loans, credit card companies, debt collectors, loan brokers, mortgage servicers, banks, the foreclosure or repossession process itself, and your rights and liabilities arising from the loan papers, Deed of Trust, and security agreements you signed at closing. There are regulations to be considered such as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Regulation B, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, HMDA, and the list goes on.
All of these statutes, regulations, and Common Law principles routinely overlap, and the legal issues and possible defenses to foreclosure or other adverse actions by your lender or servicer must be carefully spotted. North Carolina even has statutes which impose civil penalties and fines, some of which can be quite large on servicers, loan brokers, debt collectors, and mortgage companies that abuse them.
And the legal issues don’t stop there. On nearly any modification of loan terms, the lender requests that you waive certain important legal rights as consideration for the loan modification. Giving up these rights can absolve a servicer or lender from certain defenses to an impending foreclosure, and these must be CAREFULLY NEGOTIATED BY A SKILLED LAWYER.
Here are some important reasons why you should use a lawyer, licensed in the state where the home is cited:
A lawyer is equipped to navigate through a maze of laws that may create liability for your lender or servicer, and this can be a powerful tool in negotiating on your behalf;
There are several “good faith” provisions in the statutes that require the lender/servicer to deal according to certain standards. Most mortgage loan services follow the law. Some do not. A lawyer knows your rights and the statutes and laws that the State of North Carolina has imposed on the lenders, banks, mortgage owners, and servicers, and the representatives the lawyer is dealing with on your behalf know this;
There are many provisions in the State of North Carolina regulating sub-prime loans in particular that put some serious teeth in your ability to negotiate;
In a situation where you may not be sleeping well, you have lost or fear losing your job, and your home and family are on the line, you probably aren’t thinking clearly. Don’t fall victim to accepting what looks like a “deal” to you. A lawyer who has renegotiated many loans and likely dealt with your particular lender or servicer has the contacts within the lender’s Loss Mitigation department and relationships already established, and it avoids MILES OF RED TAPE. The fact of the matter is that if you are already delinquent on your home loan, or are in some danger of delinquency, THE CLOCK IS TICKING, AND EVERY DAY COUNTS.
The pace of collections calls has skyrocketed as credit card companies, debt collectors, and mortgage lenders are now calling on payments that are as little as one day past the due date. When a servicer receives the notice from the Lawyer that the lawyer is representing YOU, the phone calls generally stop. The representation creates liabilities for the lender/servicer or debt collector in the process after knowing you are represented by a Lawyer, but continuing to call you in attempts to collect. The vast majority of my clients report that the collection calls stop a few days after my representation letter and request for information is sent to the servicer;
In this day and age of Credit Default Swaps, Collateralized Mortgage Backed Securities, the mortgage securitization process itself, massive sales of credit car and other loan portfolios, and the fact that mortgage servicing can be transferred again and again, it is very hard for people untrained in these matters to identify who actually HOLDS your mortgage or credit card debt, because loans are routinely serviced by loan services on behalf of the loan note’s actual OWNER. And consumers are routinely told that the servicer “can’t” do certain things to modify the loan because they don’t have the “authority” to make such decisions. It is important to be able to read, review, and interpret the servicing agreement between the owner of your mortgage and the representative of the servicer.
A lawyer who routinely negotiates with your creditors is more aware of what types of deal a certain lender will give a client.
A lawyer with a solid understanding of all of the laws, the banking regulations, credit card regulations, and the mortgage loan process, and is adept at looking at your personal financial information, assets, liabilities, your monthly budget, and existing terms of your loan can better advise you of the best path to take, and then make a well-educated determination of what to request of the Lender/servicer, such as whether it is best to request:
• A modification of interest rate or term of the loan, or both
• A waiver of any late fees that have accrued
• Possibly “locking in” a fixed rate in exchange for your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)
• Negotiating a “short sale” of your property;
• Negotiating a “write down” of some of the principal balance of your loan, whether in a lump-sum or in installments;
• Recommending a “deed in lieu” of foreclosure if foreclosure is imminent
• Helping you work with real estate agents who may routinely work with the lawyer in distressed situations, or your own agent
• Offering certain “defenses” to foreclosure to slow or stall the foreclosure process, buying you valuable time in certain situations
• Giving you CLEAR and UNBIASED advice in a financially troubling time
• Helping you avoid serious pitfalls along the way
ONE FINAL WARNING: AVOID SCAMS AND ANY NON-LAWYERS PROMISING TO RENEGOTIATE YOUR HOME LOAN, PROVIDE FORECLOSURE RELIEF SERVICES, OR SETTLE DEBTS ON YORU BEHALF. IF THEY ARE NOT AN ACCREDITED CONSUMER CREDIT COUNSELING SERVICE OR A LAWYER, LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, IT IS AGAINST THE LAWS OF THIS STATE. There is a reason for the provisions of these laws—there are rampant attacks on consumers these days, who may be in a desperate situation, and these companies who bombard you with spam, do infomercials, or send mailings may have intentions of parting you with your much needed cash in a situation like this. Many states and jurisdictions have, or are in the process of passing statutes to protect innocent consumers. Members of the bar of the State of North Carolina must pass rigorous training in an accredited law school, pass the NC state bar, meet stringent requirements as to criminal record checks, thorough background checks, and subject themselves to the disciplinary authority of the North Carolina State Bar in order to practice law in this state, and most other states have commensurate requirements of attorneys licensed in those respective states. BE CAREFUL HERE, BECAUSE THE WOLVES ARE OUT THERE, AND AS THE ECONOMY DEEPENS INTO RECESSION, OR WORSE, THE CASES OF FRAUD AND THEFT THAT YOU HEAR ABOUT ON THE NEWS ALWAYS INCREASE.
The sooner you address your potential bankruptcy or debt settlement the better your chances of the most favorable outcome for you. Don’t wait.
Call 704.543.2294 today to start your journey towards financial wellness.
The Law Firm of Bochicchio & Pennebaker is licensed by the North Carolina Bar Association to practice law in the Western District of North Carolina which includes the following areas:
• Asheville Division – Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, Mitchell, Transylvania and Yancey Counties
• Bryson City Division – Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties
• Charlotte Division – Anson, Gaston, Mecklenburg and Union Counties
• Shelby Division – Burke, Cleveland, Lincoln, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties
• Wilkesboro Division – Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell, Watauga and Wilkes Counties
You can refer to the section on Resources and Laws on this website to view the actual statute regarding this activity and other selected statutes.