You combine too many different concepts., If you are current on your mortgage, then lenders will not help you at all and will not entertain the idea of a deed-in-lieu (DIL). So you have to be delinquent for them to discuss options with you.
Have you talked to a Hud-approved housing counselor? What are your circumstances and why can't you pay? Are therer any other options open to you (such as modification or HAMP or one of the other programs?) Would you like to stay in your home? If the answer is yes, then you need to talk to a housing counselor and see what can be done.
If you are not eligible for any of the programs and cannot make it work, a DIL is only an option if you have 1 mortgage on the property. While you are saving the bank foreclosure costs, it has been my experience that the bank may not accept a DIL if you have little or negative equity.
If the bank will not do a DIL and if your home is worth less than what you owe, have you tried a short sale? If you have more than one lender, you have to get both lenders to agree. You will also need a real estate agent who is experienced with short sales. The lenfders may want you to pay any deficiency. If you can do it, make that deal so you can sell the property. Once the property is sold, the mortgage deficiency is like any other unsecured debt can can be negotiated if you then find that you cannot pay.
If neither a short sale, DIL or a modification will work, then there are not many other options left. Foreclosure in NC is non-judicial and the process here takes about 4-6 months. You will have to leave your home after the foreclosure sale. if you are not out of the home after the sale, the new buyer will serve you with a 10-day notice. If you are not out within 10 days, the sheriff will padlock the property and forcibly remove you.
When requesting a DIL, you don't just ask and then leave your home. The lender has to approve. If they approve, then I agree with the other attorney that your departure will be agreed upon between you and the lender. Technically, once you transfer ownership to the bank, you cannot be in the home - whether the bank lets you stay on beyond that point is up to them. It behooves the bank to let you stay until the property is sold, but they may ask you to pay rent.
Some lenders/servicers have a policy that they will not discuss loss mitigation options (such as a deed-in-lieu ("DIL")) until you are 90 days behind on your payments. If you and the lender agree on DIL as part of the agreement there will be a move-out date. You do not have to move out until the move-out date you agree on in writing, or the foreclosure process is completed and the sheriff tells you it is time to move out. If you are current on your payments now it would take at least 6 months (probably 9-12) before the foreclosure process would be complete.