Seattle & Tacoma Foreclosure Attorneys
A foreclosure attorney can help you through stressful times when you might lose your house. Whether you are a lender or a homeowner facing foreclosure, you need legal assistance to protect your rights. Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess is an experienced real estate law firm that understands the rights of both sides in foreclosure proceedings and will ensure that you are treated fairly.
Washington Foreclosure Lawyers Who Can Help You Through the Process
Lenders often feel that they are unfairly treated in foreclosure disputes. Debtors may feel the cards are stacked against them. A foreclosure lawyer in Seattle can help you no matter which side of the issue you’re on. We will enforce your legal rights and protect your interests throughout the foreclosure process.
Your Property Is Collateral for Your Mortgage. Your Lender Wants to Sell It to Get Paid.
Foreclosure is the process lenders use to end an individual or entity’s legal right to property. This can happen only when the owner hasn’t made the required payments according to their lending agreement. Lenders use one of two processes to foreclose on properties in the event of a default in Washington State: judicial or non-judicial (commonly called “power of sale”).
1. Power of Sale Foreclosure
The most common foreclosure process is “foreclosure by the power of sale” or a “trustee’s foreclosure.” It’s a non-judicial form of foreclosure that can be used if the deed of trust authorizes it and the borrower defaults on the loan. This language pre-authorizes the property’s sale to cover the balance of the loan.
Though it’s far simpler than judicial foreclosure, lenders still must follow specific rules and guidelines. Legal counsel is essential so the lender and the borrower can understand and comply with these guidelines.
2. Judicial Foreclosure
If there’s a judicial foreclosure, a power of sale clause wasn’t part of the original deed of trust or other mortgage instrument. If there’s a default, the lender relies on the court system to order a foreclosure on the property. Once the lender has filed for the right to foreclose, the court decides whether the borrower defaulted on the loan. If so, before the lender can sell the property, the borrower has a date to pay what’s owed and satisfy the default.
No matter which process you face, Washington foreclosure lawyers can defend your rights and make sure you’re treated fairly.
Tacoma and Seattle Foreclosure Attorneys May Find a Way Out
Just Because Foreclosure Started Doesn’t Mean It’ll End With the Loss of Your Home.
One of the biggest reforms to the current loan modification system has been the federal government’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (“HASP,” also known as “HAMP”). It helps qualified homeowners restructure and refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. HASP benefits homeowners with a “high combined mortgage debt compared to income,” or those who are “underwater” on their home (the mortgage balance is higher than the current market value of the home).
If you do not qualify for the government’s modification program, many lenders have in-house modifications for which an experienced attorney can help you apply.
A Foreclosure Lawyer in Seattle Can Help You Get the Most From the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Program.
The fact that foreclosure has started doesn’t mean you’ll lose your house. The State of Washington’s Foreclosure Fairness Act created the Foreclosure Fairness Program. It forces lenders to negotiate with real estate owners to try to avoid foreclosures. If negotiations fail, the Foreclosure Fairness Program allows homeowners to engage in mediation with lenders to try to come to a settlement agreement.
As part of a settlement agreement, a non-foreclosure outcome could be:
- A loan modification that makes monthly payments more affordable.
- If you owe more than the home is worth, we may negotiate a short sale where you sell the house and the lender agrees to take a loss without pursuing you for the balance due.
- Instead of a sale, you may agree that the lender gets the property deed, if it won’t collect on what you owe — or at least not all of it.
Usually, a lender will need to see proof of financial hardship before making these changes. An experienced foreclosure defense attorney can identify any options available to you under this program and can represent you in negotiation or mediation proceedings.
If the parties can’t agree, bankruptcy may be a good option. Depending on how much you owe to whom, bankruptcy protection may allow you to limit or discharge other debts, allowing you to focus your resources on paying your mortgage. A bankruptcy filing would also prevent a foreclosure action from going forward.
Mistakes by the Lender or Mortgage Servicer May Improve Your Odds
There are many defenses our attorneys may raise to challenge foreclosure proceedings, depending on the facts of your case. Such defenses may include:
- The foreclosing party failed to follow proper procedures when it started the foreclosure action; the mistakes are serious and shouldn’t be overlooked.
- The terms and provisions of your mortgage agreement are so unfair (or unconscionable) that they shouldn’t be enforced. Perhaps the lender knowingly took advantage of your inability to protect your interests due to an infirmity, illiteracy, or inability to understand the language of the agreement.
- The foreclosing party lacks standing to file in court. It can’t prove it has the legal right to collect the debt. A mortgage holder may not be able to find the promissory note proving loan ownership. The right to collect your mortgage may have been sold multiple times to several banks and investors over the years, so essential information and documents may be lost.
- The mortgage servicer made serious mistakes when handling your loan. Your payments may have been credited to someone else; fees may be excessive or not authorized by the mortgage contract; the claimed amount you owe could be wrong.
- The statute of limitations has passed, so it’s too late for the foreclosing party to file in court.
- The servicer used an affidavit or declaration with incorrect information to start the foreclosure process.
- You have special protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) if you are on active duty in the United States military. If you took out the mortgage before going on active duty, there must be a judicial foreclosure unless you signed a waiver allowing the lender to use a power of sale agreement.
A Tacoma foreclosure attorney will investigate your situation, identify defenses, and use them to strengthen your case. Contact our foreclosure lawyers or our Tacoma real estate attorneys today so we can get started.
Why Should I Hire a Foreclosure Defense Attorney from Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess?
The Mortgage Company Has Lawyers. You Should Have One, Too.
Your home and all the money you spent on it are at stake in a foreclosure. A Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess foreclosure attorney may significantly increase your chances of a successful defense or at least lessen the harm a foreclosure will cause.
Like any legal or financial matter, you could go it alone. That “penny wise and pound foolish” approach may cost you much more than you save.
- Our attorneys have special skills and knowledge developed over the years that could help you fight your foreclosure. We know federal and state laws that apply and how the process works. We can get you through this maze and warn you of the dangers while protecting your rights and interests. The mortgage company must carry its burden of proof before a foreclosure can take place. We will point out their shortcomings and force them to jump through all the necessary hoops.
- Foreclosure laws change over time. New ones pass, and courts decide cases that may impact your proceeding. It’s nearly impossible for you, or even a lawyer working in a different area of the law, to be current on all the important legal information on foreclosures.
- Foreclosure defenses can be very technical and complex. After learning about your case, one of our attorneys will narrow the issues that may help you, and will find the necessary facts and make the most of your defenses. Our knowledge of foreclosure defenses not only makes our efforts more effective; it means we won’t waste our time or yours on issues that won’t do you any good.
- Foreclosure involves detailed procedures, deadlines, and rules. If you make a serious enough procedural mistake, even the most favorable facts and laws will not help if you can’t present your case.
- Effective negotiations with the mortgage holder may put an end to a foreclosure, or at least delay it long enough to give you the best chance of finding a new home. If you lack knowledge about mortgages and foreclosures and don’t have experience negotiating, you face an uphill climb.
Foreclosure cases are hard enough to defend. Getting a positive outcome may be almost impossible without legal help. Contact our Seattle real estate lawyers or foreclosure lawyers today for help.
Protect Your Rights During Foreclosure
At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, our 100 years of combined experience with foreclosure proceedings and extensive knowledge of the law will serve you well during a foreclosure dispute. Whether you are a lender that needs assistance proceeding with a foreclosure or a homeowner facing foreclosure, we can help you use the law to your advantage.
Protecting the Rights of Homeowners and Lenders
Foreclosure proceedings are generally highly stressful for homeowners, many of whom fear they may lose the very roof over their heads. Outstanding mortgage payments may be a substantial amount of money for a lender. Real estate is often a person or company’s most important asset and, therefore, you should always call Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess for assistance in foreclosure proceedings.
Our experienced attorneys have many options and tools to help clients involved in a foreclosure. We can put them to work for you.
CALL US AT (206) 429-6931 TODAY TO SCHEDULE A FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION.
I highly recommend Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess and if I ever need a lawyer again they will be my first call.
- Jeremy H.
I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate this firm! These guys helped me through one of the most challenging legal situations I’ve faced in my life. Their skill and expertise literally saved my business. I’ve dealt with other counsel in the past but the Dickson firm was by far the most competent and tactful counsel I’ve ever received. I would recommend this group to anyone!
- Keith D.
It’s a pleasure to work with the guys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess. One of the first things that stood out to me was how down to earth and friendly everyone at the firm is. I would definitely recommend them.