Thursday, February 26, 2009

Could “Produce the Note” Save Your Home?

Hat tip to fellow blogging Realtor Dean Ouellette who posted about this today.

Good Morning America recently ran a piece spotlighting a Florida homeowner who’s fighting to prevent foreclosure on her home by using a tactic touted by Florida lawyer Chris Hoyer. Hoyer offers the appropriate paperwork free on his website, The Consumer Warning Network.

Forcing your mortgage lender to ‘produce the note’ (which means give me a copy of the original mortgage I signed at purchase) is fairly simple in states like Florida, which are judicial foreclosure states. That means a lender must file a lawsuit against the homeowner before foreclosing. Homeowners can stall the foreclosure by filing a response document with the court demanding the lender ‘produce the note.’

Arizona is a non-judicial foreclosure state though, so the process requires a few more steps from homeowners.  The homeowner must initiate the lawsuit, not just respond to a lawsuit already in progress.

You can file a lawsuit on your own without an attorney. But should you? Courts have mind-boggling regulations about everything the color of the ink used for signature to the size of the type and the length of the paper used. You could spend a full 8 hour day trying to decipher it all, I’m sure. (this from a girl who used to be a paralegal, no less)

In addition each state has different rules for serving notice of the lawsuit. Not sure what I mean? You’ve seen process servers in movies. Some delivery-type person walks up to a movie character, hands them a court document and says, “You’ve been served!”  The party filing a lawsuit must arrange and pay for the process server.

For fun, check out this version of ‘you’ve been served’ from Judd Apatow’s Pineapple Express. Warning, not safe for work, and rated PG-13 for drug references.

I’m really not sure what the success rate for using Hoyer’s Produce The Note tactic would be in Arizona. Even attorney Hoyer stresses on his website that Produce the Note is a stalling tactic and nothing more.

I’m curious enough to call an attorney I’ve met a couple times, who I know specializes in residential foreclosures. I’ll call tomorrow and report here on my findings. Check back!