When you’re a foreclosure defense attorney, and you stay up on developments in the world of foreclosures and mortgage lending, the news tends to be of the bad variety. So I love it when some good news actually comes out. The Dallas Morning News reports that the number of “distressed homes”–the polite way of saying foreclosures–on the market is just a little more than half the number from a year ago (a 4.6 month inventory today versus a 7.4 month supply in early 2011). The DMN is also reporting that foreclosure filings are down 10 percent this year to the lowest levels in three years.
This is still too many foreclosures, in my opinion, but these numbers suggest things are moving in the right direction. Representing homeowners facing foreclosure really is one of the most unique opportunities in law and litigation. In most lawsuits, there is a winner and a loser. Even if there is a settlement, one party typically receives money while the other party pays. One party wins at the expense of the other.
But foreclosure defense is not like that–it really creates the opportunity for a win-win. Most banks aren’t terribly interested in owning another REO (another foreclosed-on house) if they don’t have to. They’d rather have a performing loan. And most homeowners who want to keep their house are willing–and often times, able–to make ongoing payments. These objectives are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they complement each other. This really is unique in litigation. It sometimes just takes a little creativity and a willingness to work together for the mutual good.