For homeowners caught in the nation's housing collapse, having their homes foreclosed is like a nightmare that they can't fight ... or can they?
Chris Hoyer, a Tampa, Florida, lawyer told homeowners that there are three simple words that they can say to stop the foreclosure process, or at least delay it for a while: produce the note.
Kathy Lovelace lost her job and was about to lose her house, too. But then she made a seemingly simple request of the bank: Show me the original mortgage paperwork.
And just like that, the foreclosure proceedings came to a standstill.
Lovelace and other homeowners around the country are managing to stave off foreclosure by employing a strategy that goes to the heart of the whole nationwide mess.
During the real estate frenzy of the past decade, mortgages were sold and resold, bundled into securities and peddled to investors. In many cases, the original note signed by the homeowner was lost, stored away in a distant warehouse or destroyed.
Persuading a judge to compel production of hard-to-find or nonexistent documents can, at the very least, delay foreclosure, buying the homeowner some time and turning up the pressure on the lender to renegotiate the mortgage.
(Photo: Chris O'Meara/AP)