An open letter from one of the group members to those people who are not sure if they should pay the dues fees. And more testimonials that follow. Please note, these are unedited except for some spelling errors and maybe paragraph breaks. Other than that, they are in tact.
My name is Judy and I recently (within the last 6 months) became a member. I too was unsure if the required donation/membership fee of $5.00 per month was worth it. Let me assure you it is! I have been involved in my own personal battle with the lenders for a couple of years now and as you know that involves huge amounts of time and effort invested in learning the laws which apply to your area, understanding those laws and their actual definitions versus what we think they mean and figuring out how to apply those laws. No easy task. And that isn't even including what you need to understand about the court and how it operates! Or the forms you will need. Or the time frames you must follow. Or serving someone. Or how to conduct discovery. And the list goes on and on. Well, you get the idea. We are extremely uneducated when we begin. And that educational process can take quite a long time to learn and cost you dearly in mistakes made.
I started out with attorneys helping us. I ended up going it alone for a couple of reasons. One, attorney's cost money....lots of money.... which most of us in these circumstances don't have readily available. And sadly, as I learned to my detriment, not all of them are reliable or, worse, knowledgeable about the foreclosure laws. That alone can cost you in ways you can't imagine. Judges don't care if your lawyer doesn't understand something. Judges don't care if your lawyer didn't inform you of everything. That's your problem and doesn't alter their decision by a whit!
The court rules are confusing, times frames are quick, and judges, lawyers and lay people assume you are ignorant of the laws and rules and take quick advantage of that fact. I'm by no means a stupid person and as a general rule I learn fairly quickly. I researched numerous internet websites, visited libraries, read books, articles and spoke with hundreds of people. Did I get information? Absolutely. Did I learn things? Absolutely. Did I learn them in time? No!! This field is so new and changing so rapidly it is difficult for someone with 30 years experience to keep up.
Through the course of my self-education I encountered multiple websites that at first seemed full of information and designed to help. Sadly, the more I learned the more I also learned that many of these websites simply supply basic, and often completely inaccurate information. Following that information caused me to make mistakes that hurt my case. Most are designed with the idea of getting you to invest money … often hundreds of dollars if you want the information. Obviously, not all of them.
If I do the research myself it's often impossible to find a current case to utilize in citing an authority for my court case. And trust me, if you don't have an authority for your case, you're done. That's the law folks. Pure and simple. The other problem I encountered was that I would find a case I could cite only to find out later that the case had been overturned and was actually working against me now! Ouch! That cost me, I can tell you.
So let me tell you what I get from the Anti Foreclosure Network for my paltry $5.00 dues. I get reliable (verified!) information. I get cases that I can read, understand and utilize in my case. And they are conveniently listed, categorized and some even come with a basic explanation. AND they are done by state, federal or Supreme Court. I guarantee you that fact alone will save you hundreds of hours of wasted time! Plus they are timely. If something has changed, I'll usually have that information very quickly. Frequently I have that information through the site before others get it in other ways.
I get a built in support group who understand the frustration, fear and ignorance I am going through. That helps to realize you aren't alone fighting some unseen huge bank. The support is unbelievable. Other websites? If you ask a question you have to wait lengthy periods of time before you get an answer and if that answer leads to you having another question? Well, you wait some more time. When you are on a time frame that too can cost you big time! Here the wait time is generally minimal in comparison. Because there are a number of people who belong to the group you can get different viewpoints very quickly and this enables me to reach a decision based on my specific case facts. They help me to understand what a case really is saying. Offer suggestions on how that might apply in my case, etc. Of course to me one of the biggest advantages has been when I reached that low point (and every one does!) where everyone is telling me to quit, where I am so frustrated and angry that I can't seem to get anything right that I too am ready to throw in the towel? I have a group of people who can offer insight into how to solve what ever problem is getting me to that point. And they are truthful! If I am making a mistake, whether it is interpreting a case, a law, or a definition? They tell it like it is. They will point out where I am making that mistake, offer ways to correct, etc. By the same token they don't demand you follow their way or suggestions. You are free to do what you want... only now you have the information necessary to make that decision in an informed way rather then out of ignorance and guess work.
They are the only group I am aware of that actually has weekly meetings/call ins/ or discussions. They occasionally do a "Mock Trial", have conference calls, bring in experts in various fields to talk to you. And I get all this for a lousy $5.00 a month! That's less then the cost of my gas to get me to the law library. Or the cost to ask an attorney 1 question that I won't get a case specific answer to. Joining this group was a no brainer. It's almost all too good to be true....but I'm here to tell you it is true. If you are in the process of a foreclosure, considering a foreclosure, or have been foreclosed on... or know someone who is in that circumstance? Then you NEED this group.
Now just so there is no misunderstanding about what I am saying, let me clarify a point .. or two. They are not attorneys, they don't purport to be attorneys, they aren't giving legal advice and they won't give legal advice. They are exactly what they say they are. And only that. A group of people going through what you are, or knowing someone going through what you are, who are willing to share their experiences with others in an effort to better educate us all. Hundreds of thousands of hours of shared experiences, invaluable information gleaned from those hours, distilled, disseminated, categorized and brought to you for $5.00 a month. Like I said. It's a no brainer...see you at the group!
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"This group is the only pro active group I have been part of in a long time that has any care… knowledge… and empathy for people… I would have been still searching or trial by error again of other sites. I know each site seems to offer a certain relevance to our cause but nothing I’ve seen compares to this organization..."
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"Today’s call was extremely helpful. I just want to thank you for your help and knowledge. Ari had helped me quite a bit in putting some insights into my situation. Lots of help in unclogging the paths for my case. I do want to thank you. It helped me quite a bit."
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"I fought a foreclosure without help and managed to get the bank to withdraw the complaint. But I knew they'd be back, so I figured I should probably start learning everything I didn't know the first time around ... and, more importantly, everything I did wrong! I joined AFN even before they became AFN. I have to tell you, the information and explanations and help I've received from so many of the members has been extraordinary! I thought I knew a lot, but man! I knew what amounts to a drop in a bucket as compared to what I've learned through this group!!
"Everyone is always quick to help. At any point in time I can pick up the phone and call any number of people for help. There's also forums to use and people are always willing to chime in and help when they can.
"I will admit that in the beginning, on the conference calls, I was a little shy. But I quickly learned that no question is a stupid question. And even though, in the beginning, I was asking REALLY basic questions, no one ever made me feel like I'm an idiot for asking (as I've unfortunately experienced in other groups related to foreclosure).
"And I think it's important to mention that beyond the knowledge I've received and all of the useful information, more than that, I've gained friends. If you allow the interactions to take place, not only will you find the information you're looking for, but you'll find some really great people as well.
"One last thing I want to mention. I'm an outsider to this group. I'm not someone who is actually in foreclosure. But that didn't matter to this group. So if you're wondering whether they will be helpful if you're not actually in foreclosure (maybe you're anticipating defaulting, you're considering strategically defaulting or you want to figure out how to do a Quiet Title without ever going into default), this group is perfect for you too."
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Really an amazing group this is and the help is powerful... We are happy to be members.
Wendy, John, Ari.... are great and so helpful.
Been on other foreclosure sites and they don't come close. They talk about stuff that is not useful, fight over who is right and give information that is, well, lacking a good answer...
I will be going to the next meeting and looking forward to meeting people of AFN...
The three I mentioned always answer my e-mails, look up stuff, and get back to me. So encouraging to what I have been going through against the foreclosure machine Mellon Bank... Not giving up and have a place for real help.
We need to stay together and help each other. Any one having a court date coming up, I would like to be there with you if I can. I was alone at the Summary Judgment hearing and it would have been good not to be.
Also, the is a branch of Mellon in Philly. I plan on making up a sign to protest in front of their building... And we can do this to other banks also... The banks have put a spin out there that it is our fault, we just wanted to get out of paying our mortgages... Not many stories I feel have been pick up in the media about what it is like to be fighting for your home.
I am also planning on doing a protest in front of Atlantic County Court. There are a lot more people going through the doors everyday facing the horrible and unjust mess the banks created...
Thank you for having AFN and all the help... And I want to become more involved. If something needs to be and if I can do it, let me know... I am not a good writer, but can research stuff... I hope this makes sense, have learning disability, dyslexia and writing is well ... not always the best....
Save our homes from the bank meanies....
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