Home ownership has always been the American Dream and a measure of success. Facing the prospect of losing your home can shake your confidence and challenge your sense of security. It can also jeopardize your marriage, destroy your credit and lessen your quality of life.
If you are facing foreclosure, you should know that you are not alone. Not even the rich and famous are immune. Nicholas Cage, LaToya Jackson, Ed McMahon and Jose Canseco, among others, have all had homes that were foreclosed.
WHEN YOUR LENDER THREATENS TO FORECLOSE:
1. You do NOT have to leave your home. You can continue to stay in your home even after an action to foreclose has been started. Foreclosure actions can take a long time, up to two years or more. And until the house is sold at a foreclosure auction, it is yours to do with as you wish. You own your home, not the bank. They only have a lien on your property, so you can continue to live there, you can rent it out and keep the rental income or you can sell it. Even if the house is sold at a foreclosure auction, they can't put you out of your home without commencing an eviction proceeding, all of which takes even more time.
2. If your lender is refusing to work with you now, or is not dealing with you in good faith, once an action is commenced, the law requires that settlement conferences be scheduled, during which time you and the bank will be have the opportunity to work out a mortgage modification. During the settlement conference phase, all further foreclosure proceedings are stayed and the bank is required to deal with you in good faith to help you stay in your home. Even if they were not cooperative before, they often are more willing to modify after the foreclosure is started, but the process is easier with an attorney by your side.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED WITH A SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT IN A FORECLOSURE ACTION:
DO NOT DELAY! Once an action is started and you have been served, the most important thing you can do in your defense is to serve a formal Answer. An Answer is NOT a letter or a phone call saying "Hi, I got your papers and I'd like to save my home". An Answer is a formal document admitting or denying the individual allegations in the Complaint and listing Affirmative Defenses (things which, if true, will get the action dismissed). If you do not serve an Answer within 20 days of being served, you are technically "in default, meaning you are admitting all of the allegations in the complaint. Even though the lender is required to attend a settlement conference, if nothing is worked out in the conference, the bank will then move forward with the foreclosure process, often without even giving you notice until you receive the Notice of Sale in the mail. A new law stays this 20 day period until your appearance at a settlement conference, however, it is still highly advisable to have an attorney assist you in answering the complaint and appearing with you at settlement conferences.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED FORECLOSURE PAPERS
OR ANTICIPATE THAT YOUR LENDER WILL COMMENCE
AN ACTION SOON, CALL ME FOR A FREE CONSULTATION.