When homeowners or their legal advocates are doing research on a loan, there are several documents that may help inform their defense against a lender. These can include mortgage documents, information available in the public record, and other information obtained through fighting a lawsuit in the courts. Thus, homeowners should be aware of these different categories of documents and how they can assist in defending a property.
The original mortgage documents are the most important in defending against a bank’s foreclosure attempt. If there are any mistakes or fraudulent aspects discovered in these, the entire loan may be invalidated or a court-ordered loan modification plan may be put into place. Signs of abusive lending or clauses that may provide remedies to foreclosure should be searched for by the borrowers.
There are five documents that homeowners may wish to consider the most important when they are searching for the original paperwork. These are the following:
– HUD-1 Settlement Statement
– Truth in Lending disclosure and Rescission Notice
– Note for the loan
– Deed of Trust or Mortgage
If a mortgage servicing company is involved in the collection of the payments on a monthly basis and responsible for the foreclosure process, homeowners should begin collecting documents related to the servicing. Servicer abuse is rampant, as the entire industry was set up from the beginning to prey upon homeowners and reward corrupt or fraudulent companies for pushing people into foreclosure.
There are several documents that homeowners should attempt to obtain from servicers and compare with their own copies of documents and calculations.
– Payoff Statement
– Complete payment history
– Contact history and notes on the account
– Disclosure of current owner of underlying loan
– Servicing transfer notice(s)
– Pooling and Servicing Agreement (PSA)
After obtaining the documents from the original lending transaction and relevant information from the servicing company, homeowners should begin to look into public records. The bank, its attorneys, and any potential bidders will examine public records to find out as much as possible about the owners and the property. Borrowers should do the same to research the lender, servicer, and owner of the loan.
Searching public records can present endless sources of information for homeowners in researching mortgage companies. Just a few ideas are listed here:
– Land records from the county recorder
– Securities and Exchange Commission documents
– Complaints against companies with regulatory agencies
– Record of company through Better Business Bureau and other advocacy groups
– Records of other lawsuits the bank has been involved in
– General internet searches
– Corporate documents and accounting statements
Before going into court, these documents can help homeowners begin to build a decent case for why a foreclosure should not allowed to go through. There are also numerous other documents that can be obtained in the discovery process in court, which will be covered in a later article. The types of documents and the purposes for each in the defense of the home present vast potential for homeowners trying to stop foreclosure.
Just like lenders examine borrowers’ records to determine if they will qualify for a loan, homeowners should go through the exact same process to determine if a bank has a legitimate right to foreclose or not. In many cases, they may uncover enough discrepancies in the loan to force the bank into a loan modification or, if that is not offered or appropriate, have the entire foreclosure process dismissed out of court.
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