A LOOK BACK IN TIME
Unfortunately, surreal cannot describe the foreclosure mediation events thus far. Far from it. More like a wince. We started with a judicial hearing in May in front of all 9 of the Nevada Supreme Court Justices where Vegas folks impressed their comments about the program, and the Justices braced for a thousand mediation election requests per month. There were concerns about the ability of the infrastructure to accomodate the mediation sessions. The worries proved unfounded since fewer eligible homeowners elected mediation than anticipated- so far. The program appears to be gaining traction, however, and still could hit the one thousand per month mark before the end of the year.
600 homeowners have elected mediation, although many of those did not follow proper protocol and forgot to pay, or forgot to send in the NOD, some sent in the election form a few days later than the 30 day deadline. Some didn’t get the election forms. We’ll see how concerned someone is going to be as far as requiring strict compliance; or perhaps, they may end up focusing on the substative meaning of the law and allow the minor technicalities to slide by.
There was some criticicsm at attorneys for advertising on TV to represent homeowners at the mediation for a fee of $1,000 flat rate. Some local respected pro bono organizations proclaim that attorneys are trying to profit from the predicaments of the homeowner. We agree, attorneys profit from all sorts of homeowner predicaments, and sometimes, in so doing, help solve the homeowner’s problem. Not everyone needs a foreclosure attorney, but some do.
The benefits of hiring a foreclosure mediation attorney is she will have existing lawsuits against the lenders, which will give her extra muscle to negotiate with the banks. She will also have ongoing relationships with the mediators and bank representatives and such rapport always encourages settlement. If she does a lot of them she will gain experience and knowledge for which there is no substitute. The stakes are high and the price cheap- $1,000 may be the difference between modifying your loan or not.
As to the next 60 days, we may see 1,000 homeowners sign up for the program a month, and the easing of the foreclosure crises as a result.