GMAC, You’ve Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do!

 Consumer Law, Foreclosure  Comments Off on GMAC, You’ve Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do!
Sep 292010

If you haven’t heard, last week, GMAC suspended foreclosure sales in 23 states, including Indiana. The leading theory (and probably accurate) is that the affidavits GMAC filed with the courts to get these foreclosure judgments were false – yes, folks, at least one GMAC employee has admitted, under oath, that he lied when he signed thousands of documents swearing to hundreds of courts (under penalty of perjury, no less) that he was telling the truth. This, of course, has us consumer attorneys all a-twitter (or at least a-blogging). Some Attorneys General are also getting more interested – the Attorneys General in California and Connecticut have “asked” GMAC to put a freeze on foreclosures in their states (and I’m sure GMAC will grant their wishes immediately – really). North Carolina has requested additional documentation from GMAC to see if further investigation is needed. Closer to home, Ohio’s Attorney General has asked its judges to make a “special review” of all GMAC foreclosure cases, and the Attorney General in Illinois has demanded a meeting with GMAC to ‘splain whether or not it violated Illinois consumer fraud laws. No word yet on whether Indiana’s Attorney General will join the fray.

So what? Well, if your Indiana home is in foreclosure, and GMAC was handling your payments, then things might slow down – at least for a little while. If GMAC filed a “Motion for Default Judgment” against you, pull it out and see if one “Jeffrey Stephan” signed the attached affidavit, and forward a copy to the Indiana Attorney General if he did. If a sheriff’s sale has been scheduled, check with the court to see if it has been put on hold. However, don’t count on GMAC’s snafu to stop the foreclosure permanently. Use this extra time to keep doing what you need to do: get help, get a modification, sell the house, meet with a housing counselor, consumer defense attorney and/or a bankruptcy attorney, and/or continue living in the house rent-free for a few extra months.

Bankruptcy – not your “last” resort!

 Bankruptcy, Consumer Law  Comments Off on Bankruptcy – not your “last” resort!
Sep 142010

Most people do not want to declare bankruptcy. It’s usually viewed as a last resort to stop wage garnishment, foreclosure on the family home, or harassing collection calls. However, many people who postpone filing until they don’t see any other way out actually miss out on many protections offered under the bankruptcy laws.

Jill Michaux at Money Health Central posted a list of six signs that you may have waited too long to see a bankruptcy attorney:

1. Your home has been sold or is about to be sold at foreclosure sale.
2. Your car just got repossessed by the lender.
3. Your paycheck or bank account is being garnished.
4. The IRS has filed a tax lien on your property.
5. Your paycheck is taken by payday lenders.
6. You are depleting your retirement account to pay general debts with no collateral such as credit cards and medical bills.

Don’t wait until any of these happen to you. Even if you don’t think you are – or ever want to be – at the point of “needing” to file bankruptcy, if you are experiencing financial difficulties, you should still understand what bankruptcy is, how it works, what protections it offers, and when it may be most appropriate for you. Consulting a local bankruptcy attorney sooner rather than later will give you more options and choices, and may allow you to protect even more of what you still have.

Home Ownership Falls to Lowest in Decade

 Consumer Law, Foreclosure  Comments Off on Home Ownership Falls to Lowest in Decade
Sep 022010

The desire of mortgage lenders to maximize their profits is further eroding the American dream of homeownership. According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans who own their own home is down to 66.9%, the lowest point since 1999, caused, in part, by the surge of foreclosures. A record 269,962 U.S. homes were seized in the second quarter, leaving about 18.9 million U.S. homes empty during that same period. At this rate, RealtyTrac Inc. estimates that foreclosures will probably top 1 million this year.