Legal and real estate professionals expect foreclosures to be on the rise in 2021. Fortunately, the federal government is aware many people are struggling due to COVID-19. Forbearance avenues, therefore, exists to assist homeowners.
If you are a homeowner genuinely unable to meet your mortgage obligations, you should explore all avenues of mortgage forbearance. COVID-19 or other life challenges may have led to your trials regarding your mortgage. Let Vantage Group Legal Services assist you in seeking forbearance help.
The Meaning of Forbearance
Forbearance is when your lender lets you pause or reduce your payments for a limited time. You will need to discuss forbearance options with the bank, finance company, or mortgage service agency that manages your home loan/mortgage.
Usually, forbearance does not erase what you owe. There may be terms for you to repay payments you miss. But the forbearance is very beneficial if you temporarily need to pause your payments.
Signs You May Need a Forbearance
Many homeowners fall upon challenging times at some point. However, when hardships begin to impact your health, safety, and home, they can be devastating.
Regarding your home, you should take immediate efforts to seek a forbearance if you find it extraordinarily challenging or impossible to:
- Keep current on your mortgage payments;
- Have the finances to maintain your home in a safe and livable condition; or
- Pay your property taxes related to your mortgaged property.
Each of the aforementioned are standard requirements in mortgage contracts. Do not wait until the rubber hits the road. If you are struggling to comply with the terms of your mortgage contract, you need a lawyer. If you have been impacted by COVID-19, forbearance lawyers should immediately be aware of that exceptional circumstance.
Mortgage lenders have dealt with many others who struggled to keep current on their mortgage just like you. While they may be willing to work with you to let you keep their home, their ultimate goal is to collect their payments, even by foreclosure if necessary. It is not the lender’s duty to tell you how to seek forbearance.
However, our mortgage forbearance lawyers do have the desire to help you qualify and receive a forbearance. We are especially attuned to the upheaval individuals are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forbearance may not only be an option a bank can give you; it could be your legal right.
Forbearance Options Not Related to COVID-19
Mortgage holders who meet the criteria below may seek a forbearance under general non-COVID-19 forbearance terms. These criteria include:
- A good track record of timely payments, up until now;
- An unexpected change in financial status (sudden job loss, death of spouse or divorce leading to reduced income); and
- A commitment and clear plan to resume payments at the end of the forbearance.
Each lender has a process for applying for forbearance and criteria regarding whether to grant the request. It is almost always better to request a forbearance than to default on a loan.
If you are experiencing difficulty making on-time mortgage payments due to the national coronavirus emergency, a specialized forbearance may be an option for you. The government recognized the financial hardships many homeowners faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Forbearance became a real need to aid families in keeping their homes.
As a result, the United States government created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under this law, the government gave homeowners with federally backed mortgages up to a year or more of forbearance on their mortgage payments. With CARES forbearance, homeowners could pay their mortgage at a lower payment or pause payments fully.
As of December 2020, CARES is still in place. The government may well extend it into 2021. Our foreclosure defense attorneys have all up-to-date CARES information. They can help you:
- Apply for CARES if applicable (it is not automatic, you must apply); and
- Review other state and private options for COVID-19 pandemic forbearance assistance if CARES does not apply to your situation.
For as long as there have been mortgages, there has been a need for mortgage forbearance. COVID-19 is not the only reason for seeking forbearance, but it has created many of the situations people currently find themselves in when they seek forbearance.
Advantages of Legal Assistance in Seeking a Forbearance
Understanding forbearance options is just a start. To have the best chance of getting a forbearance, you need an attorney who knows laws related to mortgage forbearance, COVID-19 protections for homeowners, real estate, and more. Specifically, here are things at which only foreclosure defense and mortgage forbearance lawyers will excel.
Applying the Law to Protect You
Forbearance is a contractual, legal issue. It involves more than a request to lessen or forgive mortgage payments. It involves numerous areas of law, including:
- Foreclosure law,
- COVID-19 pandemic forbearance law,
- Bankruptcy law,
- Contract law, and
- Real estate law.
To know your responsibilities, your rights, and the legal requirements of others, you need an attorney.
Negotiation with and Utilizing Other Professionals
The first step in seeking a forbearance may be contacting the mortgage company. That step is more than a phone call. Presenting the request in legal, professional, and complete terms is essential. Also, forbearance may involve reaching out to:
- Tax accountants,
- Government tax officials,
- Other attorneys, and
- The courts.
Vantage Group Legal Services attorneys know how to handle these interactions with professionalism and discretion. Most importantly, they do so while fully advocating for your interests.
Objectively Looking at All Options
The most important aspect of having an attorney is that they will objectively analyze your situation and explore all avenues to assist you. You likely have plenty to handle during the COVID-19 pandemic as it is. Forbearance is an item a lawyer can entirely focus on for you.
In seeking a lawyer, you need one who specializes in mortgage foreclosure and forbearance. These lawyers will be aware of the laws of mortgage forbearance, COVID-19 homeowner assistance, and foreclosure protection.
Your Rights During Forbearance
If you received COVID-19 forbearance under the CARES Act, your mortgage servicer cannot require you to repay your skipped payments in a lump sum during the forbearance or once the forbearance period ends. Your lawyers will immediately address your lender if they are harassing you in this regard.
In addition, charlatans offer fake forbearance options and extensions. Our lawyers know the realities of mortgage forbearance. COVID-19 scammers will not be successful when you have quality legal representation assisting you regarding forbearance.
Vantage Group Legal Services
Vantage Group Legal Services is a unique company in that we are a group legal services company, not a law firm. Visit our website to learn about our client-friendly subscription model, through which we will connect you to a licensed, experienced attorney who can provide the services you need. Your initial consultation with a lawyer is free, with no obligation. End your search for legal help today. Call (773) 938-4747 or reach us online.