Produce the note

February 25, 2009 7:40:30 AM PST
Millions of American families are at risk of losing their homes because they can't afford their mortgages anymore. But you may be able to fend off foreclosure by uttering three simple words.

It's only a stall tactic to use once the case gets into court but in many cases, it is all a homeowner needs.

Kathy Lovelace is in the dark after losing her job and now she may lose her home, too. She can't pay her electric bill or her mortgage.

"This is my favorite room in the house right here, the exercise room."

But three simple words "produce the note" may have bought Kathy time to save her home before it ends up on the auction block.

"I filed the produce the note and I haven't heard a word from anybody."

Kathy learned of the delay tactic from a website called the Consumer Warning Network. On it, attorney Chris Hoyer explains the strategy.

"There was an original iou, an original promissory note that you signed make them produce the original. We're hearing now that they're having difficulty doing it," Hoyer said.

And that goes to the heart of the foreclosure crisis. During the real estate boom, the original note signed by the homeowner may have been lost, trashed, or stored elsewhere, in part because it exchanged hands so many times.

"They would take your debt, package it up with other debt, sell it, resell it, resell it again, put it in a bundle and sell it to investors telling them it was really good stuff. Now the really good stuff is exploding," Hoyer said.

A lender's inability to produce the note may force it to modify a mortgage so it's more affordable. It may also give homeowners time to find a job so they can make payments again. This out of work real estate agent hopes either way the "produce the note" strategy will be her saving grace, too.

"I am requesting the mortgage company give me a copy or provide me proof of the original note that I signed. If they can't prove I owe them, why should I pay them?"

On the Net:

Consumer Warning Network:

American Securitization Forum:

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