I have been trying to buy my first home. During the process, it was discovered that I have a judgement filed by Ford Motor Credit from 10 years ago. Apparently the attorney refiled it for another 10 years. The bank wont proceed with the loan until this is cleared up. The original judgement was or $6400, how ever the attorney is now saying that with interest, I now owe $13000, and will not settle for less than 9500. What can I do?
Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney
You will probably have to settle this judgment in order to get it cancelled. This means you may have to postpone your home purchase while you save up enough money to take care of this.
You could offer a lesser amount and say you can deliver a certified check quickly, to see if they will accept less. Most judgment creditors will not accept less than 40-50% current balance even with a 10 year old judgment, unless there are extreme hardship circumstances (disabled, own no property, fixed income, elderly, etc.). The Clerk of Court can confirm the current balance for you, if you do not believe the attorney.
Make sure you have the money you are offering available when you make the offer, so that you can go get a certified check quickly. Do not pay anything until you get a letter confirming the terms of the settlement. Make sure the letter states specifically that the attorney will tell the Clerk of Court to cancel the judgment within a specified time period after the settlement funds clear. This way, if the judgment is not cancelled, you have claims against the attorney who promised the settlement.
This message is intended for informational purposes only. It is impossible to consider all relevant facts from a message board question. No attorney-client relationship has been created. Readers should seek a personal legal consultation with an attorney of their choice for the most accurate advice. I offer a free consultation by phone or e-mail.
Ms. Coleman is 100% correct. There is a second, although very hard to accomplish option. The key here is that the judgment predates the mortgage, so when the home is purchased the judgment lien will have priority over the mortgage and this is not good for the mortgage company in terms of securing the home. This is very difficult, but you might be able to negotiate a subordinations agreement with the creditor in exchange for payments. A subordination agreement, is where the judgment lender agrees to have their lien treated as 2nd to the mortgage...this is very unlikely to happen but if you ask the worst they can say is no.