Perhaps the best reason why it's always a good idea to have legal representation: to avoid the old bait-and-switch from lenders. From this morning's LA Times:
Mortgage lenders call it "dual tracking," but for homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure, it might go by another name: the double-cross.This sort of stunt simply doesn't happen when a bank realizes that it will be spending the next year or two in court litigating their quicky foreclosure if they act in bad faith. In California, where an attorney is forbidden from even charging a retainer to a client until the loan is modified, this should be a no-brainer.
Dual tracking refers to a common bank tactic. When a borrower in default seeks a loan modification, the institution often continues to pursue foreclosure at the same time.
Lenders contend that dual tracking simply protects their investment if the homeowner is unable to qualify for new loan terms. Mortgage servicers can lose money if they don't foreclose in a timely manner, and repossessions often are complicated and lengthy.
But regulators and consumer advocates say the practice lulls some homeowners into thinking they are no longer at risk of having their homes taken away. Regulators are now aiming to curtail the practice as part of an overhaul of the foreclosure system.