The attorneys at the Law Offices of Tracy L. Wood are breaking new ground as they help troubled mortgage-holders at risk of losing their homes. Sensing the tumult in the industry, Wood and his associates recently formed a law firm, at 5980 Stoneridge Drive, to provide vital information and legal support to a growing segment of the region's population.
Certain pockets in the area have been more severely impacted by the economy and questionable lending practices than others, notes Desiree Garrido, operations manager for the law group. Garrido cites commuter communities like Tracy, Mountain House, and Brentwood as being among the hardest hit, but the circle is widening. "We are even seeing clients from the south bay and Watsonville, and a range of socio-economic backgrounds, from blue-collar to wealthy individuals," she continues. "For them, the American dream has fizzled, and home loss is almost at their fingertips. We help them understand all their legal options, with the ultimate goal that they will be able to stay in their houses."
One tactic the legal team uses to carry out its mission is seeking revisions to lending terms. "This has become a whole new industry," Garrido acknowledges. "Our attorneys have done a lot of studying, going to seminars, classes, and workshops that focus specifically on foreclosure law. We've found that there are often violations in the loan documents that put homebuyers in a compromised position from the beginning. Our attorneys can use that information in discussions with lenders to negotiate for a more affordable and fair monthly mortgage payment."
It is an obviously sensitive business. Clients are often discouraged or downcast, and guilt is a common emotion. But often "the real fault is how the loans were sold to them," Garrido comments. "In case after case we are seeing consistent discrepancies." Many homeowners are like the single parent the firm saw recently, who has a well-paying, stable job and who could initially afford her home. By the end of the year, though, she will be facing an interest rate adjustment that puts the payment out of reach. Getting solid legal advice now could help her and her family stay in their home.
Although there has been much talk about the labyrinth of transactions that can make it difficult to identify the right lending entity, Garrido says most of the time the firm's team of experienced attorneys can find that information. The professionals often work cross-functionally conducting forensic audits to trace a loan back to its originator or trustee. Their efforts can result in lower rates or principal reductions, she notes.
The law group holds informational seminars that explore homeowners' legal rights every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Those interested in attending are asked to call the office at (925) 469-9888 to RSVP. For more information about the firm and its full range of services, visit www.foreclosurelawgroup.net .
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