Homeowner Rights and Options in Oregonin HPN Blog
What you need to know as a homeowner, renter, concerned community member, or friend of someone in foreclosure.
I don’t know how much longer I can pay on my mortgage, what should my first step be?
Get our Foreclosure eBook “The Lord of the Purse” and read the entire book. You may feel that parts of it don’t apply to you but each section was carefully written and chosen from hundreds of articles, books and research papers. It is about 95 pages. Then watch the free streaming video on our website (58 minutes).
You can also join us on our free weekly homeowner calls. Full details by click here or by clicking on the “Projects” tab, and then on “Events.”
I called my lender and they said I need to get at least 90 days behind before they can help, what should I do?
They have done this (and are still doing it) to millions of homeowners. It is not necessary to be delinquent to get help. This is just a way to resist helping homeowners. Project REconomy founders Mark and Nancie followed these instructions and they were thrown into foreclosure as soon as possible, leaving court as the only recourse. In the eBook we say of mortgage servicers and banks “If their lips are moving, it is probably a lie.” Unfortunately, our work has shown this to be true for many homeowners across Oregon, and nationwide. If you call your servicer 3 times in a row, you will most likely get 3 different answers. In the eBook, we teach you to log all conversations and communications with servicers and anyone else who deals with your mortgage. You will be able to see and document the pattern of “untruths” in a short time. Many of our homeowners have come to believe that this is all by design and the banks want the foreclosures. Research continues to show how profitable foreclosures are for big banks. Please remember that the loan servicer you are working with probably doesn't own your loan. They make more money off foreclosing than continuing to service your loan if you can make the payments. Ouch, that hurt!
What do I need to know about trial modifications?
The first thing to keep in mind is that the loan servicer you are negotiating with does not own your loan and has little incentive to do a modification. Those who get a trial modification rarely ever receive a permanent modification. If they do, it is rarely sustainable for the homeowner. Our research continues to show that less than 1% of people who apply get a permanent modification and a high percentage of those who do get one go belly up within 18 months and end up in foreclosure.
Note that when they send you a trial modification that they don’t sign anything, they just ask you to pay. We have repeatedly asked where those payments go and the answer is “in a special account” but not toward your loan. We just spoke with another homeowner this past week that paid $17,000 in trial payments and “poof” it has all disappeared. They are demanding every nickel again to catch up her loan. You are probably saying, “How can that be legal?” That is a good question.
We do encourage homeowners to apply for the loan modifications because it buys a lot of time to create a plan and save money. Without pressuring the banks with an attorney, homeowners rarely get much help.
I am in default, what are my options?
We have many options listed in Part III of the eBook. It contains all the information from our popular homeowner workshops. Please download it from our website and read it. A few places to start are to call your servicer and start the loan modification process to buy time and regroup.
I’ve been served a foreclosure notice, what are my options?
I don’t know if my foreclosure was legal, what can I do?
There is a lot on the web that folks read about and think that their foreclosure is not legal. Sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. Twenty-seven of our states have a non-judicial foreclosure process (there is no oversight from the courts for foreclosures) and each state is different. All 50 states have had rulings on issues such as MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registry System), “robo-signing,” etc. What is valid in one state may not be in another. We highly suggest that you get good legal counsel for your particular situation if possible. Also, beware of folks selling a silver bullet solution and expensive audits guaranteeing a “free house”. Our non-profit organization helps homeowners in Oregon pull together their documents for an attorney review. We also have capacity to do an array of audits but only do so when an attorney orders them. Often they are not needed and a waste of your precious money.
To read the Oregon Attorney General warning about fraudulent loan audits, visit their website here. (Or check your state Attorney General's website if outside of Oregon.)
I have chosen to walk away from my home, what do I need to know to protect myself?
Each state has different rules on this matter. In Oregon, if you walk away before the foreclosure is completed, the home could be considered “not your primary residence”. This could put you in a situation wherein the bank can come after you for the deficiency. More of this is covered in the eBook. Please get good legal counsel before moving out. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I am a renter who is being evicted due to foreclosure, what are my rights?
Each state has its own laws. In Oregon, you might be able to complete the lease but often you will be evicted within 90 days of the foreclosure. The city of Los Angeles put in a new law stating tenants cannot be evicted due to a foreclosure. Please considering joining together with other tenants and talk to your city leaders to see what can be done.
I am looking to buy a new home in Oregon, what questions do I need to ask first?
Yikes, this is a scary process right now. First, know that most Realtors don’t understand the challenges of dirty title on homes they are reselling. To be honest with you, it is not in their best interest to understand these issues or they might have a difficult time assisting you. One thing to consider is that the market is still dropping in most areas of the country including the cities. I just saw another report that Portland dropped another 3% list last year. As long as jobs are low and foreclosures are high, it is a rough time to buy unless you get the property at least 20% under today’s market. If it was a foreclosure being resold, what is your risk of being sued in the future is by the past owner or having a resale problem down the road. Many folks say, “oh it has title insurance”. I have been around the Real Estate industry all my life and rarely does a title insurance company ever pay out. I cover this in the eBook as well.
I want to fight my foreclosure, what is my first step?
1) Read the entire eBook
2) Watch the video
3) Call our office to get help on pulling together your documents and to get attorney referrals
Often folks call us before they are in foreclosure to stop the process. There isn't much you can do until the loan servicer serves you with a foreclosure notice. It is smart to get educated in advance.
I have a loved one in foreclosure, what can I do to help?
Ask them if they are serious or curious about doing something about the situation. If they are not serious, just love them and help them with their exit plans. Many folks emotionally just can’t deal with the issue and the banks count on this. Please encourage them to speak to an attorney who is educated on foreclosure in their region to plan the exit strategy.
If they are serious about fighting back, have them contact us and start the steps above. We often have people calling to help others and there is not much we can do. It is very much like a tooth ache, having your friend go to the dentist for you doesn't do much good. Dealing with the shame and pain associated with foreclosure is hard work. Working through the grief process is an important part of taking back your power when facing foreclosure.
I am a concerned community member who wants to help, what can I do to stop foreclosures?
Go to our projects page to read about current campaigns
Watch for upcoming events
Join our social media action network www.Facebook.com/ProjectReconomy