As the foreclosure crisis spreads, a number of foreclosure-related books are hitting the bookshelves. I encourage you to read every one you can put your hands on. You probably will not have to pay more than $100 for the lot of them—not a bad deal considering what’s at stake.
Every book will have something different to offer. Each author will be giving you the benefit of personal experiences, favorite tips on strategy and tactics, and opinions on the best approach to dealing with foreclosure. While every book is sure to contradict every other one in some particular, that should not worry you. A little confusion can be very helpful if it makes you think. There is no one truth to these matters, and sooner or later you will sort things out.
That said, I recommend the following books:
- How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, by Stephen Elias, Robin Leonard, and Albin Renauer (Nolo). As the title says, this book explains everything you need to know about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Keep Your Property & Repay Debts Over Time, by Stephen Elias and Kathleen Michon (Nolo). This is a guide to the whole Chapter 13 process, including instructions for coming up with a repayment plan and filling in required forms.
- The New Bankruptcy: Will It Work for You?, by Stephen Elias (Nolo). If you’re not sure whether or not bankruptcy is the right way to go for you and your family, this book will highlight the pros and cons and help you evaluate your situation.
- Credit Repair, by Margaret Reiter and Robin Leonard (Nolo). If your credit is in the tank and you want to take steps to make it better, this is the book for you. It provides all the steps that have traditionally been necessary to raise your credit score.
- Foreclosures: Defenses, Workouts, and Mortgage Servicing. Authored by the staff of the National Consumer Law Center, this is the best book out there for in-depth legal research on the subject of foreclosure. It covers how to negotiate pre-foreclosure workout agreements; current workout options with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD, VA, and RHS; how to challenge mortgage servicer abuses; foreclosure litigation, including power of sale, due on sale, and substantive and procedural defenses; raising loan broker and loan originator-related claims against the mortgage holder; special rights to stop foreclosure of FHA, VA, and RHS mortgages; mobile home foreclosures; and tax liens and tax foreclosures. It comes with a CD that contains a lot of the forms, foreclosure laws, and other materials you will need if you want to fight a foreclosure or do your own workout with your lender. You can buy a copy for around $100, or perhaps find a copy in your local law or general-purpose library. For more information, visit http://www.nclc.org/.
- Foreclosure Prevention Counseling: Preserving the American Dream. This excellent and less expensive product (around $40), also published by NCLC, provides a nuts-and-bolts approach to the various modifications offered by different banks and government agencies. It has an excellent appendix detailing state foreclosure and property tax abatement laws.
- Foreclosure Defenses: Non-Bankruptcy & Bankruptcy Defenses, by Craig Triance. Published by The King Bankruptcy Bankruptcy Series, this book provides valuable information and forms that will assist you in fighting your foreclosure in state and federal courts. Although the book is pricey (about $150), it costs much less than a typical real estate or bankruptcy lawyer will charge for an hour of work. It is especially invaluable if you want to delve deeper into the foreclosure defenses briefly discussed in our article on strategies for fighting foreclosure in court. Although the book is primarily written for lawyers, the author fortunately writes in plain English. You can order the book online at www.bankruptcybooks.com/triance_foreclosure_defens.htm.