Get your papers in order
You have to get organized before a counselor or lawyer can help you. HUD-certified counselors don't charge for their time, so have a counselor advise you on this step.
"You can do yourself a favor by creating a chronology, preferably no longer than one page, of what happened to you," says Maeve Brown, a public interest lawyer and director of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, in Oakland, Calif. List the most important facts of the case: Did the lender bait-and-switch you with a predatory loan? Were you unfairly turned down for a mortgage modification?
And gather documentation, from the paperwork you gave the lender at application to the letters you got after you fell behind on payments. "A lawyer will look at the origination of your loan, will take a look to see if there were any unfair practices involved in the creation of that mortgage," says Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, or NACA. "The next thing an attorney will want is a history of your correspondence."
Include a log of conversations you had with the mortgage bank.