188.8.131.52 Understanding the Homeowner’s Objectives
Homeowners seek assistance defending foreclosures for many reasons. Advocates should provide help consistent with the homeowner’s objectives and needs. For example, a homeowner who wants help proving that they have made a particular payment that the servicer claims not to have received needs different legal assistance, and may have different claims, than a borrower with a predatory loan. Borrowers may want to remain in their homes indefinitely, may want to stay for a certain number of years (e.g., until children graduate from high school), or may be willing to give up their homes. Each of these client objectives may suggest a different legal strategy. In addition, if the homeowner’s objective is clearly unobtainable, an advocate should be prepared to discuss alternative housing and other resources that might be available.
Homeowners in default on their mortgage loans are often behind on other bills, and may be receiving many calls and letters from debt collectors. These aggressive debt collection tactics may distract homeowners and prevent them from focusing on resolving the pending foreclosure. In these cases, advocates may need to help the client deal with these other debts as well.