If you are more than a month behind on your mortgage payments, you have likely received a barrage of scary letters from your mortgage servicer. Maybe you’re behind because of an income loss — a layoff, a decrease in your pay or a bad stretch for your business, perhaps — or a divorce, or even an illness or family emergency. To your mortgage company, none of that matters; it just wants payments.
Threatening you with foreclosure –the loss of your home — is a strong, centuries-old lender’s tactic that can make you feel powerless, but are you? Does the mention of this frightening “f-word” mean you are truly in danger of losing your home?
A PROCESS, not an EVENT
The fear of losing your house can be crippling; the intense emotions can overshadow the truth about what foreclosure actually is. It’s critical to understand that foreclosure is a legally-governed process, one with multiple steps, not a one-time event. Remember:
- Mentioning “foreclosure” in a letter does not mean the foreclosure process has begun.
- A foreclosure has not been completed until a property has been sold by the lender.
- If a mortgage lender or servicer has hired an attorney to handle a foreclosure case, you can hire an attorney to represent your interests in the matter.
- A foreclosure can be stopped at multiple points in the process.
The role of bankruptcy in foreclosure
If you are in imminent danger of losing your home — if a foreclosure sale, sometimes referred to as a “sheriff’s sale” has been scheduled — a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing could be used to save the home. The filing will stop the sale and allow you to catch up on delinquent payments.
Get the help you need
Every mortgage situation is different. If your house has not been sold or auctioned off, you likely have multiple options for solving the problem.
An experienced attorney can explain your rights and options with regard to your mortgage difficulty. It is important to get the help you need if you are worried about foreclosure.