Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What documentation do I need to produce for a foreclosure mediation?

In our last blog post (Foreclosure Actions Down—Way Down—As Oregon’s New Foreclosure Mediation Program Ramps Up—Way Up), we talked about the success that Oregon’s new mediation program is having in bringing borrowers and lenders to the mediation table. There are already more mediations scheduled in November and December of this year than total mediations that occurred under the old mediation program last year. As we discussed, mediation was only required under the old program if the lender filed a non-judicial foreclosure. This turned out to be a loophole the size of Mount Hood because lenders simply stopped filing non-judicial foreclosures and started filing judicial foreclosures instead. Now in fairness to the good people of the Oregon legislature, for the past 50 years or so, almost all foreclosure in Oregon were non-judicial foreclosures. The legislature certainly did not expect lenders to completely abandon the long-established practice of foreclosing non-judicially. But hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. Large lenders did just that—virtually stopped all non-judicial foreclosures—so the Oregon legislature had to step in once again to amend the law.

Enter the new foreclosure mediation program.

Mediation is now required in cases that involve judicial and non-judicial foreclosures.

Loophole closed. Mediation numbers skyrocket. And that is a good thing.

It is too early to tell whether these face-to-face meetings will actually result in more loan modifications. Despite ongoing pressure from the Federal government, and not one but two major settlements involving improper foreclosure servicing practices, loan modifications are still not easy to come by for some homeowners. And the promise of a mediation should not be confused with the promise of a loan modification. For a modification to occur, a borrower still must qualify and a great deal of supporting documentation is required. The process is not terribly enjoyable for homeowners. But if you want a modification, it is a process that you will have to go through.

So if you have a mediation scheduled, or you think you might qualify for a mediation, here are the documents that you will generally have to produce and provide to the lender. For homeowners who have already received a mediation notice, these documents must be provided within 25 days after receipt of the notice. So advance preparation is critical.

First, you will be required to complete a Universal Intake Form. This form is available on the foreclosure mediation website. This form details information about you, your lender, and your current financial situation.

You will also be required to provide the following:

Any additional information about your current income, expenses, debts, and other obligations;

  • A description of your financial hardship, if any;
  • Documents that verify your income and expenses, including:
  • Pay stubs confirming your income for the most recent full two months
  • If self-employed, a profit and loss statement
  • Bank statements from the most recent two full months
  • If relying on social security, disability, unemployment, or other non-wage benefits, a benefits statement from the benefit provider showing the amount, frequency, and duration of the benefit
  • A divorce decree judgment or separation agreement if you are relying on child
  • Your most recent electric, heat, gas, or other utility bill
  • Your most recent property tax statement or appraisal
  • Your tax returns from the two most recent years

Providing accurate and complete information will greatly improve your chances of reaching an agreement with your lender during a mediation. This is a valuable opportunity that should not be wasted. Yes, accumulating all these documents takes time and involves no small amount of effort. But this effort may be well worth it if a mediation results in an agreement which will save your home.

So don’t delay. Time is of the essence. Start preparing now.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (503) 846-0707 or visit our foreclosure defense website garlandgriffiths.com.

Next: What documentation should I receive from my lender prior to a foreclosure mediation?

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