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In most cases, a lawyer will look for evidence of predatory lending that violated state or federal laws.
Brown says a lawyer will determine whether "they were lied to, they were defrauded, they were put into loans that were bigger than what they could afford and they did not have the expertise to know that, or were more expensive than they were actually qualified to get."
Rheingold says: "The next thing an attorney will want is a history of your correspondence. ... They'll examine whether or not the bank acted appropriately, whether they met the standards of what they're supposed to do in terms of whether it's a HAMP or another modification program, or if it's an FHA loan, whether they met the FHA standards."
In judicial foreclosure states, a lawyer might challenge a foreclosure on procedural grounds: that the original loan note can't be found, or that court documents were signed or notarized improperly. These are the "missing note" and the "robosigning" defenses.