Active Rain May 10, 2011

About Foreclosure Settlement Conferences

New York Foreclosure Settlement Conferences

J Philip Real EstateI attended a foreclosure settlement conference today with a client whose house is listed with my company as a short sale. There was some understandable anxiety about the event, so I went to be a supportive advocate. As daunting as the name may sound, they are in place to ensure that the borrowers have their rights respected in their dealings with the lender. It is a good thing, and nothing to be afraid of.

The set up is simple: the borrower and an attorney from the bank will meet before a court appointed referee to come to a mutually agreed upon decision as to how to deal with the borrower’s defaulted loan. The borrower can be attempting to modify their mortgage, a short sale, or another option. The referee’s job is to make sure the bank acts in good faith, and having been to a number of these conferences I can tell you firsthand they do a great job.

The bank attorneys are not bogeymen either. More often than not they are from the firm contracted by the lender to pursue a foreclosure, but their posture is not that of a collector or heavy; they are there to make sure the lender is upholding their side of the bagain, such as acknowleding receipt of documents, and doing their best to get reasonably timely responses.

The referees I have dealt with in both Orange and Westchester counties have been very good also. They are fair, quite understanding, and reasonable. Governor Patterson signed the law ensuring defaulted borrowers rights to these conferences in 2009. Say what you want about the man, but this is a good thing for the citizenry, and a credit to his legacy.There is a clear intent at these conferences to not have confrontations or intimidation. It is as compassionate as I have ever seen court workings go.

As it turns out today, the bank attorney was detained in traffic and we adjourned for 90 days. The referee told us he wanted us to have time to get a buyer and begin the short sale process with the lender, and I appreciatd the gesture. I know that the next time we meet that he’ll ask us about our progress and ensure we have an opportunity to get the deal done without undue fear of being ignored or trampled.

Excelsior, New York. I have my beefs with Albany, but they got this one right.