A Sudden Bullfight
Imagine, for a moment, that you have a bullfight tomorrow. In the hot afternoon sun, you’ll step into a bullring, cape in one hand, blade in the other, and stare down an angry, two-ton beast with long, sharp horns.
How long have you known about this bullfight? Sometime this morning. And, oh, yeah… you’ve never, ever, been in a bullring before.
How confident do you feel?
Your Summary Judgment Hearing is No Different
Now, imagine yourself in a different kind of fight: a massive bank, represented by an army of lawyers, has filed a foreclosure case – sued you to take away your home. Maybe you answered the original complaint; maybe you just wrote a letter asking to work things out; maybe you did nothing. And now, months or even years later, you get a Notice of Hearing for the Motion for Final Summary Judgment the bank filed months earlier.
And that hearing is coming up soon – next week or maybe even tomorrow. And that’s when you decide to finally call a foreclosure lawyer.
What a Lawyer Hears When Your Hearing is Tomorrow
I’m starting to get these calls all the time. Now that the Florida legislature has decided to “clear out the backlog” of foreclosure cases (you’ve heard the phrase, “rush to judgment?”) these final summary judgment hearings are coming much more quickly than they used to – on much shorter notice.
And that means my phone starts ringing, with people who want me to help them save their homes – and their hearing is tomorrow. Now, I’m perfectly happy to handle a summary judgment hearing, and it’s not the first time I’ve ever seen one, but these hearings are meant to be the final act in a foreclosure case – the end, not the beginning. Walking into a courtroom is like stepping into that bullring – no matter how good you are, you need to prepare first. And that’s nearly impossible if you waited until the last minute to hire a foreclosure lawyer.
Beating a summary judgment usually requires evidence in the form of documents, witness testimony, and expert analysis that can take months to gather. If you wait until the last minute to hire a lawyer, your lawyer won’t have the chance to do any of these things. You’re stepping into the bullring unprepared – and you’re about to get the horns.
Why Should You Have a Lawyer Defend Your Foreclosure From Day One?
Most people in foreclosure want to do one or more of these:
- Stop the foreclosure sale
- Avoid a deficiency judgment
- Negotiate a short sale
- Get a loan modification and keep the home
- Walk away from the home without taking on tons of debt
During the lifetime of a foreclosure case – sometimes, a period of years – an experienced lawyer knows what to do to work towards any of these goals. All of them require time to accomplish. And very, very few non-lawyers can successfully represent themselves and hope to really meet any of these goals. (It does happen, but very rarely.)
Of course, there’s the additional problem that most foreclosure lawyers – myself included – are now fully booked up with hearings for the next six or seven weeks due to the new foreclosure dockets in most courts. Even if we could help you tomorrow, we’ve probably already got a different bullfight on our calendar.
That’s why, if you want to fight your foreclosure, you need to hire a lawyer as soon as you get served – if not sooner. If you were served a while ago, but don’t have a hearing date yet, don’t wait another minute. Get help. Don’t wait. Don’t lose your home because you were too scared, too uncertain, or – let’s face facts – too stupid to admit you needed help. Don’t be the guy that we could have helped, if only you called us last month. I already know too many of those – and they’re all looking for new homes. Don’t be that guy. Just don’t.