If you have already received a Notice of Intent (NOI) to foreclose on your home or are expecting your home to be foreclosed on, you are probably already looking into options to fight foreclosure and what representation is available.
While you can represent yourself in a foreclosure case, it may not be the best solution. The foreclosure process requires a lot of time, energy, and resources that many homeowners may not have. As well, there are foreclosure rules and regulations that you may not be familiar with. A foreclosure attorney can use their experience to navigate the foreclosure process efficiently and may even know of alternative routes to take to protect your home from foreclosure.
In your research on foreclosure defense, you may have come across information on representing yourself. While this is an option, it may not be the best option for you to have a strong defense. Foreclosure defense can look very different for individual cases, and hiring an experienced foreclosure attorney may help ensure that you pursue the best option to save your home from foreclosure.
Joshua Denbeaux has over 15 years of experience as a New Jersey foreclosure attorney. If you are interested in consulting an attorney on your foreclosure case, schedule a free consultation today, and keep reading to learn more about what is needed from you to successfully represent yourself in foreclosure should you choose to do so.
What to Do if You Receive a Foreclosure Summons
If you receive an NOI, you should begin preparing your response as soon as possible. Foreclosure is a time-sensitive matter, so the sooner you respond to the foreclosure complaint, the better. Should you decide to represent yourself, you should start by educating yourself on the procedures you have to follow in order to fight foreclosure.
Read the Summons and Complaint
When you receive a summons and complaint, it is important to read it as soon as possible so you can begin formulating your answer. In the summons, it is important to keep in mind that the mortgage company will be referred to as the plaintiff, and you, the homeowner, will be referred to as the defendant.
Write an Answer to the Complaint
An answer is your legal response to a summons and complaint. Depending on your situation, you should be aware that filing an answer might not always be the best option. Consulting an experienced foreclosure attorney can help you plan the best strategy for handling your foreclosure situation.
If you decide to write an answer yourself, there are a few important aspects of information that you should be mindful to include. In your response letter, you should format your answers to match the accusations of the complaint. You should address each complaint in their corresponding paragraphs with information on whether you admit, deny, or don’t have enough information to respond to the allegations.
Submit Your Answer
If you choose to submit an answer, you must file your answer with the court. There are very strict timelines that must be observed when it comes to filing an answer. After receiving the summons and complaint, you will have a set number of days in which you can file your answer. In order for your documents to be valid, be sure to abide by these timelines.
In addition to filing an answer, you must also mail a copy of your answer to the plaintiff’s attorney. There is also a timeline for sending your answer to the plaintiff that you should keep in mind. This timeline is typically based on when the answer was filed.
After your answer has been filed and sent to the plaintiff’s attorney, your foreclosure will be considered pending. During this time, you can try to negotiate with your mortgage company or their attorney.
The legal process of responding to a notice of foreclosure is nuanced and detailed. Working with a foreclosure attorney may help ensure that your answer is filed and mailed to the plaintiff within the window of time outlined in the law.
Other Examples of Foreclosure Defense
Answering the NOI is not the only instance where you may have to defend yourself in foreclosure proceedings. You could find yourself in a situation where the court votes in favor of the plaintiff despite your response to the NOI, or you may be an unlucky homeowner who did not respond to the complaint and is now facing the consequences of that decision. Here are a couple more examples of how to defend yourself and your home in a foreclosure case.
If you don’t file an answer with the mortgage company or you are unable to reach a settlement, the mortgage company will likely file a motion for summary judgment. With a summary judgment, the mortgage company tells the judge that there are no facts being disputed and asks for a winning judgment that allows them to schedule your home to be sold in a sheriff’s sale.
If you receive a motion for summary judgment and disagree with any of the facts raised by the mortgage company, you should file an affidavit opposing the summary judgment. In an affidavit, you are able to dispute the information presented by the mortgage company with your version of the facts. Your affidavit needs to be notarized and filed within a short window after receiving the motion.
When it comes time for your hearing, be sure to attend and bring a copy of your affidavit and any other documents you filed in the foreclosure process.
If you need to file an affidavit in your foreclosure case, it is recommended that you consult an attorney experienced with foreclosure. An attorney can help ensure your affidavit includes all of the necessary information and is filed within the correct time period.
How Can a Foreclosure Defense Attorney Help Represent You?
While you can choose to represent yourself in your foreclosure case, working with an attorney may help you navigate the nuanced process and procedures. Hiring an experienced foreclosure lawyer can help give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to go through the process alone and that all options to fight your foreclosure case have been considered.
With over 15 years of foreclosure defense experience, attorney Joshua Denbeaux has helped represent thousands of New Jersey homeowners in foreclosure. To find out how he may be able to represent you, schedule a free consultation today.