The short answer is “No” and “Maybe”.  When faced with the prospect of losing their home to foreclosure, many people are willing to try most anything to halt the process and save their home.  Bankruptcy however, is probably not the answer.

Let me first say that I’m not an attorney, and do not intend this as legal advice.  If you are considering bankruptcy, please consult an attorney before taking any action.

Personal bankruptcy is generally filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Under Chapter 7 most of your unsecured debt (such as credit card debt) is permanently discharged, while Chapter 13 allows you to reorganize your debt with your creditors and develop a plan to pay-off your debts over a specific period of time.  If you qualify and file personal bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or 13, an automatic stay is put on all your creditors, including a lender that might be pursuing foreclosure.   However, this is only a temporary halt to the foreclosure process.

As mentioned above, filing Chapter 7 does not discharge your secured debts.  A mortgage is a secured debt and the collateral is your home.  If you do not pay, your lender has the right to take back the security you offered in exchange for the money advanced as a mortgage.  So filing a Chapter 7 will not save your home from foreclosure.  At any time before your unsecured debts are discharged, the court can allow your lender’s request for “relief from the automatic stay” and the foreclosure can proceed.  After discharge, the foreclosing lender is free to continue the process.

Filing Chapter 13 however may allow you to save your home from foreclosure.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you are allowed to make arrangements with your creditors for repayment of debts owed, including your mortgage.  However, this is generally allowed by the courts only when you have a stable source of income that will allow you to make all payments as agreed for the entire repayment period.  There are many factors that determine if filing for protection under Chapter 13 will allow you to keep your home. The only way you will know if this will work in your particular situation is to consult an attorney.

It is also important to note that a bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 10 years after date of filing. If this doesn’t seem like a viable solution, please read more about other options to avoid foreclosure.

Behind on your mortgage?  Beware.  You could become the target of a growing scam by foreclosure prevention “specialists” who use deception and outright lies to sell services that promise relief to distressed homeowners.

In the scam, homeowners are asked to pay an upfront fee to retain the services of an auditor, who is supposedly backed by an audit attorney.  This fee might be as much as 1.0% of the principal balance.  On a $350,000 loan that could be as much as $3500, and some audit companies even charge a monthly retainer of $1000.  For this fee, the audit team then offers to review your loan documents to determine if your lender complied with all state and federal lending laws.  The auditors propose that if irregularities are discovered, you can use the audit report as ammunition against your lender to stop foreclosure, get your loan modified, the principal reduced, or even cancel the loan.

Not true.  According to the FTC there is no evidence that forensic loan audits will help you get a modification or any other foreclosure relief, even if conducted by a legitimate attorney.  Some federal laws may allow you to sue your lender for errors in your loan documents, but even if you win your lender is not required to modify your loan.

The bottom line is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and looking for lender errors or omissions is not going to save your home.  But you do have options.  For free guidance visit www.hopenow.com , view the options I discussed  in a previous post, or for immediate answers, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Many homeowners who are facing foreclosure are turning to attorneys to help them save their homes, especially in light of the recent revelations regarding mishandled paperwork.  With few other options available, the struggling homeowners hope that an attorney will find a flaw or legal loophole that will cause the foreclosure to be dismissed.  The problem is that most of these homeowners have no way to pay the legal fees.

But one enterprising law firm in Florida came up with a solution:  If they manage to get a foreclosure dismissed, the firm takes out a second mortgage on the property to pay the legal fees!  The Ticktin Law Group in Deerfield Beach reasoned that this was a way they could find an affordable way to represent homeowners.  Other firms are now following their example with similar second mortgage programs.

OK, call me crazy, but how does this make sense?  A homeowner that presumably owes more than the house is worth and has a first mortgage they already can’t afford, now takes on additional debt in the form a second mortgage?  The lawyers point out that they are charging low interest, around 4.0%, and insist that they would never foreclose.  So, the home is saved, for the moment, but how is this a sustainable solution? Sorry, but this defies logic and seems downright predatory.  I’ll be stunned if these poor homeowners aren’t back in foreclosure a year from now.