In 2006, I purchased a two family home in the Bronx for me, my wife and our four children. At the time, I didn’t know a lot about mortgages, but I was proud to have worked hard enough to afford a home for my family. The mortgage company told me I didn’t need a separate lawyer and that they would provide one for me for free. I now know this was a scam.
I had been working in sales for a Spanish newspaper and making decent money. But three years after we bought our home, a new Spanish television station came to town and we lost most of our clients. My income was very low and my wife’s income from cleaning homes was not enough to afford our mortgage payments. Then my mortgage went into foreclosure. I received lots of documents from the bank that all said different things. I thought I might lose my home immediately, and I didn’t think there was anything I could do. The bank wouldn’t talk to me or help me in any way. They just told me to make the payments if I wanted to keep my home.
Finally, I was called to Court. I was terrified that I would have to come home afterwards and tell my family we no longer had the right to live in our home. But something totally different happened. At Court, I met an attorney from NYLAG who said she would help me, and for free! I wasn’t sure I could trust her, but I decided to take a chance, and that very day she was able to help get the bank to listen to me and work with me. I couldn’t believe it! NYLAG represented me at settlement conferences and put pressure on the bank. They patiently worked with me for over a year, and we went to Court many times. Finally, the bank agreed to a loan modification. In Court, it was hard to understand what was happening, but my NYLAG attorney always took the time to explain everything to me and answer my questions.
Now we can afford to stay in our home because the monthly payments are lower—and if I make three years of payments on time, the bank will forgive a large part of my principal. I know I would never have gotten to this point without NYLAG’s help.
When I took this photo, I was on my way to the post office to Fed-Ex my final mortgage modification agreement. This was one of the best days of my life. I feel lucky to have had an attorney fighting on my side.