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Defending Your Home Foreclosure: An Interview with Lawrence D'Amelio III of D'Amelio Law Firm, PPLC

By Lawrence D'Amelio III

Tell us a little bit about your experience, firm history and the areas of law that you practice.

Since 1992, D'Amelio Law Firm, PLLC works with clients in the areas of foreclosure defense, business law and consulting, international business consulting, estate administration and real estate matters. We love the law and we are passionate about providing legal services for those in need.

Are there any ways that a homeowner can stop a foreclosure?

Yes. Communication is first and foremost the most important thing to remember. Foreclosures can be delayed by legally and rightfully by a variety of means. There are federal programs in place where the mortgage can be modified to restore the homeowner to a position of being current and, depending on the borrower's financial situation, reduce the monthly payments.

When foreclosure is imminent, it can mainly be stopped/delayed by:
(a) Filing suit claiming the lender does not have the authority to file the foreclosure proceeding;
(b) Filing bankruptcy; or
(c) Paying the balance due.

The goal is to obtain sufficient time to process and work through a solution to the homeowner's issues carefully.

What should a homeowner do if the lender doesn't comply with all of the foreclosure requirements?

Foreclosure procedures are contained in state laws. A lender cannot proceed with a foreclosure unless it complies with all these procedures. The courts are required to hold the lender to the proper procedures. However, many times legal requirements are missed or ignored by the lender. A good attorney can identify and present to the court these missed requirements on your behalf. So the first thing a homeowner should do is consult an attorney for guidance.

Is there anything that most homeowners don't know about foreclosures that they should know?

If your financial situation has changed, because of no fault of your own, most foreclosures can be resolved. Resolving the issues requires time and energy so if you are willing to actively and timely work with your lender or your attorney, the chances of resolving the foreclosure are very good. Timeliness and communication are important.

How do state laws in your area affect the foreclosure process?

All foreclosures are handled in state court, usually within 30 days from the date of Notice. Often the first hearing is postponed by lender. Homeowners may request a continuance (postponement) as well. The continuance can be 30-60 days but it is in the court's discretion. The first appearance will be before the Clerk of Court in the county where the property is located. The losing party may appeal the decision to District or Superior Court for a new hearing.

What is one of the biggest regrets you've seen people have when it comes to a foreclosure defense? What would you recommend to help homeowners avoid this?

The two biggest regrets we see consistently are not addressing the issue fast enough and not following specific time requirements. In other words, too little, too late.

To avoid this, we suggest that once a homeowner first believes that there is a problem, contact the lender and explain the problem and certainly engage a law firm just in case when a law firm is needed. If possible, do not wait until you miss your first payment. If caught early enough, you can work with the lender to resolve the issue. Also, when you begin the process, you must stay in contact with the lender and always timely follow through with the documents requested, no matter how many times the lender may ask or whether the requests are duplicative. If you are late with the documents, the lender will systematically label your inaction as not being serious with your efforts and your situation will deteriorate fast.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your firm?

1-800-208-5827 or 336-615-8367
adam@dameliolaw.com or Melinda@dameliolaw.com.

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