Foreclosure Lawyer: Everything You Need to Know
It may surprise you to learn that the average cost of a home is over $450,000 as of 2023. Unfortunately, some homeowners find themselves dealing with foreclosure. Although this seems like an impossible situation to navigate at first, it doesn’t have to be.
However, browsing the different auction options for lawyers isn’t always a straightforward process. We’ve put together a brief guide on how to choose a foreclosure lawyer who can help you reach your goals.
Let’s take a closer look at the key and for information need to know.
How Is Their Reputation?
As you might assume, reputation is an essential factor to consider when choosing a foreclosure lawyer. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for reviews and ratings of attorneys who specialize in this area of law.
It’s also important to research their experience with similar cases and outcomes and ask any questions that may arise during your consultation. Reading online reviews will go a long long way to helping you find the best professional for your situation.
When checking a lawyer’s past feedback, make sure to look for both positive and negative comments about their work. If a law firm has consistently high ratings and good reviews, that’s usually an indication of competent representation.
You should also consider how they respond to negative feedback that they receive. For example, some firms quickly become aggressive or defensive when faced with criticism. This is a clear indicator that they are not willing to resolve the situation in the client’s favor.
The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where your attorney won’t make things right.
Are They Knowledgeable?
Not all lawyers are made equal.
When it comes to foreclosure law, you want to make sure that your attorney is well-versed in the process. Ask them questions about their experience and any relevant cases they’ve handled.
You should also inquire about their specific familiarity with foreclosure and consumer protection laws, both state and federal. Although the foreclosure process itself is a creature of state law, the interplay of federal consumer laws is important too. Finding an attorney who understands the interplay and knows how to leverage both to best help you achieve your goals is key. Otherwise, you could be at a disadvantage when it comes to getting the best possible outcome for your case.
It’s worth noting that working with less experienced lawyers doesn’t guarantee poor results. In general, however, those with more experience are the safer option. This is especially true if they have handled a large number of cases like yours in the past.
Researching past cases is a great way to gain insight into how capable a particular firm is. You should also take a look at their success rate if they make it publicly available.
Knowledge and experience are something that you can’t overlook, as they will often dictate whether or not you come out on top.
Do They Offer Free Consultations?
It’s important to find out whether the lawyer you’re considering offers free initial consultations. This way, you can get a better understanding of their services and fees without committing to hiring them.
During this appointment, you’ll also be able to get a better sense of the lawyer’s professionalism, communication style, and overall expertise. Don’t overlook these attributes, as they can mean the difference between whether that particular lawyer is worth working with.
Keep in mind that you should steer clear of lawyers who charge for consultations. This is not a conventional practice when it comes to foreclosure defense and consumer protection, but some firms do this as a way to squeeze as much money as possible out of their clients. As you might assume, you should always avoid firms like these.
Are They Affordable?
Always make sure to ask your potential foreclosure lawyer about their fees.
It’s important to remember that when choosing a foreclosure lawyer, you should never sacrifice quality for the price. Many people make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who doesn’t specialize in foreclosure law, which can put them at an even greater disadvantage.
In the end, it’s worth taking the time to research and interview several lawyers before making a decision. Looking into their fees is also important since costly legal fees can put additional strain on your finances.
For example, some attorneys might allow you to contact them outside of business hours, but they may charge extra to do so. Be sure to keep this in mind so you can avoid unnecessary financial surprises in the future.
It’s worth noting that you often get what you pay for when it comes to legal representation. So, finding the cheapest attorney isn’t always the best option. However, this doesn’t mean you need to spend as much money as possible.
Will They Personally Work on Your Case?
Sometimes, people make the mistake of working with a firm that delegates their case to other lawyers at the practice. This carries the risk of having someone handle your case who is less experienced than you expected.
It might also be more difficult to communicate with this individual. So, it’s in your best interest to find an attorney who will represent you instead of delegating your case. If the attorney can’t provide you with a clear answer about who will be handling your case,, you should avoid working with them.
What Red Flags Should I Watch Out For?
When considering a foreclosure lawyer, there are certain red flags to watch out for.
These include lawyers who promise too much or guarantee success without any evidence of their past track record. You should also avoid lawyers that require large, non-refundable sums of money upfront before they start working on your case, rather than refundable retainers.
In contrast, many lawyers will charge up-front, refundable retainers, which they only draw upon once they bill hours and account for their work in a detailed billing statement. This is standard practice – it affords transparency and serves to protect the client since unused portions of retainers are usually refundable at the conclusion of the lawyer’s work. Make sure you completely understand the billing arrangement your lawyer is suggesting and ask questions if you don’t. Good lawyers want their clients to feel comfortable and fully informed about all matters, especially billing.
Additionally, be wary of attorneys who suggest filing bankruptcy as the only solution. Depending on the specifics of your situation, filing for bankruptcy may not be necessary or beneficial.
It’s important to discuss bankruptcy up front to determine whether it’s an option the lawyer will suggest and whether it is best for you. Otherwise, you may end up working with a lawyer whose goals for your case are not the same as yours.
It’s important to go with your gut when speaking to prospective attorneys. If something seems off or suspicious, pay attention to that feeling. In contrast, recognize times when you feel comfortable. Doing so can help you connect with the ideal person for you.
How Do I Know It’s Time to Hire One?
As you might guess, the best time to hire a foreclosure lawyer is right away. You don’t want to wait too long, or else you may find yourself in an even worse situation than before. The sooner you take action, the better chance you have of coming out ahead in the end.
If your goal is to get a loan modification to bring your loan current so you can keep your home, make sure the lawyer you’re considering does that kind of work – many don’t, but plenty do. If you want to apply for a loan modification, you should hire a foreclosure lawyer who will not only defend the foreclosure case but will also assist you to apply for a loan modification. Lawyers who do loan modification work often have a support staff to assist with the application process.
Having a competent team of professionals by your side can make navigating the legal process much easier. This could be the difference between successfully keeping your home or losing it to foreclosure.
Many people find foreclosure to be a stressful process. This is particularly true for those who do not have experience dealing with it. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, be sure to reach out to the lawyer. This allows you to avoid other complications that could occur, such as having this situation affect your professional or personal life.
Why Does Foreclosure Occur?
In Illinois, foreclosure is a judicial legal process where a lender sues on a borrower’s mortgage if they cannot make the required payments. A mortgage is the lender’s security that a borrower will repay their loan, called the promissory note. At the conclusion of the foreclosure process, the lender will sell the borrower’s property at a public auction, called a foreclosure sale. It will apply the proceeds of the auction to the outstanding balance due on the note and the borrower will lose possession of their property..
Foreclosure can often be avoided. When it’s not, it can lead to devastating results for borrowers, so it’s important to take action right away when faced with the threat of foreclosure. Hiring an experienced foreclosure lawyer – one who can guide you through the process and help you find a solution that works best for your specific situation – greatly increases the chance that you will save your home from foreclosure.
Knowing How to Choose a Foreclosure Lawyer Is Easier Than It Seems
Sometimes, understanding how to choose a foreclosure lawyer can seem overwhelming.
The above guidelines will help ensure that you avoid problems you may have otherwise dealt with. Are you looking for more information about what we can do?
Reach out to us today to see how we can help.