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I would definitely still send the modification papers to the lender. In cases where a borrower is in trouble, the lender will normally pursue both modification and foreclosure on two separate paths. It is a race to see which one happens first so the sooner you get your mod paperwork submitted, the sooner they can begin processing it. The lender has the option of postponing the foreclosure action while a loan mod is pending if they choose. I would contact the lender in writing sent certified mail along with your modification paperwork and request that they stay any foreclosure proceeding pending you getting a decision on the loan mod.
You still would have to appear at the magistrate's office, but you can tell them that you have submitted loan mod paperwork and are waiting on a decision. The magistrate might decide to issue his own stay of the foreclosure until you get a decision.
Make sure you send everything certified mail so you have proof they received it. The lenders are notorious for saying they didn't get the paperwork and then asking you to resend it. Make copies and have them handy in case this occurs even with you sending it certified mail.
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