I continue to hear about the need for clear, concise, competent and trustworthy professional advice with respect to foreclosure law and procedure. It seems that some borrowers are confused or uncertain as to their rights or options, and some seem to be getting conflicting advice from various sources. These borrowers have a certain amount of uncertainty, because many of them have never missed payments before, and now that they can’t make their monthly payments they find themselves in an unfamiliar world. They know it’s not good to default on your loan payments, but they are uncertain of the exact consequences. Some of them want to know if the Sheriff is going to show up on their doorstep next week, or they want to know if the Bank can seize their 401(k) retirement funds.
There’s no doubt about it. We live in uncertain economic times, and many people find themselves in circumstances they’ve never experienced before. We all know that credit histories can be important, but there seems to be a considerable amount of uncertainty among borrowers as to what can and what can’t be reported, and for how long.
The general rule is that negative credit information about a Bankruptcy can be reported for up to 10 years, and other non-bankruptcy negative credit information can be reported for up to seven years. This can make a difference to some borrowers, because if they have no realistic way of saving their home, then some of them prefer to move forward with the inevitable loss of their home so that they can begin working anew on their credit record with the intention of purchasing a home again some time in the future.
Answers to most of the questions described above are available. However, we live in an information age, and not all information has equal credibility. Information obtained on the internet can be readily available – in fact, one of the problem with internet searches isn’t sometimes a lack of information, but instead such searches can result in too much information. Well-stocked law libraries contain the answers to many of these questions, but the time required to study the law and to correctly understand it can be a most complex and time-consuming process. As a result, some borrowers spend time reading up on these topics, and this can be valuable in order to gain a broad sense of some of the issues involved. But a broad, general understanding does not always result in the ability to correctly apply such principles to a given situation. Many borrowers ultimately feel they are best served by consulting a professional who works with these issues on a daily basis and who has the necessary skills and judgment to correctly apply legal principles to a given situation.
Not all professionals have the same degree of knowledge, skill, or experience in a given field. This means that one of the most critical decisions a borrower will make may be the selection of the appropriate professional. It’s shopping, in a sense, but instead of shopping at retail stores in a mall, these borrowers find themselves in the potentially difficult position of selecting a professional. With little professional background of their own, such borrowers are placed into a position of needing to evaluate their own needs and to match them up with the skills a professional has to offer.
There are no easy answers to such a selection process. Referrals or recommendations from previously satisfied clients can provide some degree of assurance, but even such referrals are not a guarantee. Professional credentials, years of experience in the field, and a good intellect can also be important factors to consider. A sense of trustworthiness can also be very important. But there is no foolproof way of selecting such a professional. In the end, borrowers do their best to select an appropriate professional, and then they ultimately decide whether or not to accept the advice provided by their professional.