I’ve been served foreclosure papers. Do I have to file an answer with the Court or can I just call the bank?
After you have been served with foreclosure papers, you must file a written response with the courts within a 20-day period. If you don’t, you could end up losing your house without a fight. A phone call will not protect you.
Does the bank want my house?
No! The Bank wants your money not your house. Banks are in the business of making loans and then getting their money back with interest. They typically lose money when they foreclosure. For that reason, that would prefer to enter into a loan modification with you than foreclosure and add another property to their “real estate owned” portfolio.
Can I lose my home in a homeowner/condo association foreclosure even though I am current on my mortgage?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And, sadly, it happens all the time. If you are being sued for foreclosure by your association you should seek legal assistance to defend the lawsuit as soon as you are served.
Can I afford an attorney for my foreclosure or should I try to represent myself?
You have a right to represent yourself in a legal proceeding, but it’s probably not a wise idea. The banks hire specialized lawyers who know the ins and outs of the foreclosure process, and a few Google searches won’t put you on the same level as they are. Fortunately, there are foreclosure defense attorneys who are both competent and affordable. You don’t have to face the banks alone in court.
Do FHA borrowers have special rights?
Yes. FHA loans are insured by the federal government and before the bank can foreclosure on them they have to comply with the HUD regulations which require that they (1) have a face-to-face meeting with you; (2) send you a special brochure on how to avoid foreclosure; and (3) review you for loan modifications. All of this has to be done before the bank files its foreclosure against you. If it does not, the foreclosure is illegal and you can actually beat the bank in court.
How long do I have after being served before I leave my house?
It depends on how busy the bank’s lawyers are, and how quickly the courts in your area are processing cases. That said, though, if you defend the case you there will be more time. You should also not discount the possibility that you could win the case if the bank can’t prove its case. You could also qualify for a loan modification which would allow you to start making payments again. Just because you are in foreclosure does not mean that you will lose your home!
Can I lose my home in a foreclosure brought by the holder of my second mortgage?
Yes. Many borrowers have first and second mortgages, and they can lose their home if they are not paying their second mortgages. Many second mortgage holders were quiet for years, but now they are filing foreclosures with a vengeance because the property values have recovered.
I have hit on hard times. Can I expect the bank and the court to stop the foreclosure because of my troubles?
Unfortunately, you can’t expect any mercy in a foreclosure process. For the banks it’s all about the money, and for the courts it’s about following the law. Regardless of the hardship which caused your foreclosure – death, divorce, unemployment, illness – if the bank sues you for foreclosure and the judge determines that it is entitled to a judgment, you will end up losing your home. There are alternatives, though, such as a loan modification to bring down the payments to something you can afford.