At the Gaddy Law Firm, we know every client is unique. Call us for a consultation to discuss your situation.

Frequently asked questions

Q: WHAT IS MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE? 

A mortgage foreclosure is a type of lawsuit where the lender (the mortgagee) sues the borrower/owner (the mortgagor) of real property to foreclose a mortgage lien. Generally this lawsuit includes a cause of action or claim on a Note. The mortgage secures the debt. The real property is collateral for the indebtedness.

Q: DO JUDGES GET INVOLVED IN THE LAWSUIT IN SOUTH CAROLINA? 

South Carolina is a judicial process state. This means that all foreclosures lawsuits are filed in our state court system and have a judge who must rule before the borrower/owner loses ownership. Many foreclosures are "referred" to the Master in Equity, who is a judge within the Court of Common Pleas. The legal process is complex and involves several different legal processes before the property is "taken" by the bank or lender.

Q: WHAT IS A LOAN MODIFICATION? 

A loan modification changes the payment terms of the mortgage so that it is more affordable than the original terms. In order for the loan modification to be valid, it must be in writing and all terms must be specified. A verbal agreement would not be considered a loan modification or loan forbearance. A loan forbearance is another type of agreement that allows the borrower/owner to remain in possession of the property and gives more time for payments. Many types of loan modifications and forbearances are available. They are all different depending on the loan type and the servicer.

Q: WHAT ABOUT A LOAN MODIFICATION DURING A FORECLOSURE SUIT? 

In May 2011, the Supreme Court issued an Administrative Order that requires the bank's law firm (the plaintiff) in every foreclosure law suit in South Carolina to certify that a loan modification process be offered to all primary residence owners. This Administrative Order does not apply to any property that is not a primary residence (non-owner occupied).

Q: WHAT IS A "SHORT SALE" OF REAL ESTATE? 

A "short sale" of real estate is a bank-approved method of selling real estate where the debt exceeds the value of the real property.

It helps to view a short sale as a process that needs an attorney, Realtors, appraisers and bank approval. The attorney manages the process and usually negotiates with the servicers on behalf of the borrower/seller. It can take several months to obtain approval.

Q: WHY IS A SHORT SALE COMPLICATED? 

Real estate law, banking rules and regulations, misinformation and a constantly changing landscape all contribute to making the process complicated. We attorneys who focus on foreclosure defense and loss mitigation are familiar with the process. Each servicer has different rules and requirements. The individual banks change their "rules" – sometimes weekly – which fills the process with uncertainty as to the outcome. We manage the process to accomplish our clients' goals and objectives. We customize a strategy for each client based on individual needs and circumstances.

Q: WHY DO SOME SHORT SALES GET APPROVED WHILE OTHERS DO NOT? 

It depends on who is managing the process for bank approval. We believe that with an experienced lawyer and an experienced real estate agent, independent price evaluation, and an accountant to handle the tax implications, there is a greater likelihood the short sale will be approved.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BANKS FILE SUIT TO FORECLOSE A PROPERTY? 

The bank begins the foreclosure process through a lawsuit with a Summons and Complaint. A Lis Pendens is also filed. A Lis Pendens gives "notice to the world" that the property has a lawsuit filed against it. These legal documents must be served under the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure (service of process) in order for the lawsuit to go forward. The borrowers are the defendants. If there is a second mortgage or there are other liens on the property, those companies must be named as "parties defendant" as well.

Under the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. If a defendant does not respond within 30 days, the plaintiff, in this case, the bank, can hold the defendant in default. This means that the borrower defendant has no legal right to challenge the validity of the lawsuit. We have found that sometimes the banks make errors in their lawsuits. Sometimes the banks do not have the necessary documentation to proceed with the foreclosure.

Unless the lawsuit is challenged, what we call "defended" or "contested", the bank can proceed to take the property very quickly. Defendants will typically receive notice of the foreclosure hearing, but at this point it can be too late to challenge the lawsuit in court. The bank always has a lawyer present at the foreclosure hearing who is knowledgeable about foreclosure law.

Q: WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE? 

We have found that our clients have many options under South Carolina law. They may choose to sell the property. They may choose to fight a foreclosure. They may choose to seek a loan modification. They may choose to do all three of these options in various combinations. We tailor options to suit each client's specific needs.

Q: I'VE NEVER BEEN SUED BEFORE. WHAT DO I DO? 

We recommend consulting an attorney who is knowledgeable about real estate litigation, particularly one who handles these issues on a daily basis. Because the law is changing so rapidly in this area, we believe that only attorneys know what legal options are available based on individual circumstances and facts. We strongly discourage taking no action since that always leads to the worst outcome.

Q: WHY SHOULD I HIRE THE GADDY LAW FIRM? 

We are experienced in this area of the law as well as the SC legal system. 
We have relationships with attorneys and law firms throughout the State of South Carolina who focus on foreclosure defense work to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments.

We have extensive litigation and trial experience practicing in the Equity Courts, the Court of Common Pleas (the circuit court) of South Carolina and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court as a creditors' lawyer. We have also handled numerous representations for many construction law matters, real estate issues and mechanic's lien foreclosures where construction disputes arise.

We are experienced.

Q: DO YOU OFFER A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION? 

No, we do not offer free initial consultations. We charge an hourly rate that includes a pre-consultation telephone meeting or emails at no charge. If the circumstances warrant an in-person consultation, we schedule that after the pre-consultation telephone meeting. Our initial consultations take around two hours. We answer questions and evaluate each set of circumstances from a holistic and integrated approach. Payment is expected at the time of service.

Q: HOW DO I BECOME A CLIENT? 

The Gaddy Law Firm, LLC, is selective about the clients we agree to represent. We recognize that the decision to retain counsel is a serious one. We review the specifics of our expectations for clients at the initial consultation. Sometimes we hold a second consultation before accepting a new client. This area of the law is complex and requires strong negotiating skills to manage and coordinate the process with several players that can move in different directions at the same time.

Q: WHAT INFORMATION IS NEEDED AT MY INITIAL CONSULTATION? 

We will discuss what information to bring during our telephone pre-consultation or emails. We confirm appointments by email. 

Q: WHAT WILL MY CASE COST? 

The legal fees are based on the complexity of the circumstances and vary depending on each situation. Each case is unique. We believe in value-based billing, which means we try to be good stewards of client resources. We require a retainer fee to begin the representation.

Q: IS MY INITIAL CONSULTATION PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL? 

Yes, we take every potential client's privacy very seriously. We do not divulge the names and identities of our clients without their express permission. Filling out our basic contact form, however, does not establish any sort of attorney-client relationship. Once we meet with a client, that information is protected by attorney-client privilege.

Consultations

If you are facing foreclosure or have a property worth less than your outstanding mortgage, consulting with The Gaddy Law firm is a prudent investment.

We charge a set consultation fee that includes a pre-consultation telephone meeting at no additional charge.

If the circumstances warrant an in-person consultation, we schedule that after the pre-consultation telephone meeting. Our initial consultation takes aproximately two hours.

During this consultation, we gather information that is unique to each situation and review legal options available to the individual specifically.

We answer questions and evaluate each set of circumstances from a holistic and integrated approach.

We assist many individuals and businesses and help them overcome obstacles that may seem insurmountable. We are pleased to serve you as well.