- 3 min read
- Understand the definition of foreclosure.
- Examine the judicial foreclosure process.
- Review how to avoid foreclosure.
Foreclosure is a complicated and intimidating process, so make sure to do your homework to understand your rights.
foreclosure is one of the most severe and difficult financial processes for any consumer. unfortunately, foreclosures are also peaking, meaning thousands of american families are now facing this dire consequence. what does it mean, and what can you do to avoid foreclosure?
what is foreclosure?
foreclosure is the legal process through which a lender (most typically a mortgage lender) claims an asset from the consumer borrower. foreclosure is almost always the result of default on payment. a very important consideration for mortgage payment is that lenders cannot take partial payment on the mortgage monthly payment. what that means is that, unlike a credit card, you cannot mail in a portion of your payment. a mortgage payment is all or nothing. this also means that if you miss one payment, the next month you have to re-pay the current month and all arrears! this, in addition to exotic mortgage products and rising rates, can drive many otherwise financially stable people into foreclosure.
there are two types of foreclosure: judicial and non-judicial foreclosure.
a judicial foreclosure means that the foreclosure is a court-ordered legal process. the lender must file an action — a lawsuit — against the homeowner. this process is time consuming and subject to a sequence of events and calendar that consumes months or years. a judicial foreclosure helps by buying the homeowner time to make alternative housing arrangements.
non-judiciary foreclosure, or statutory foreclosure:
the non-judicial process is made possible by a legal document called a deed of trust. many western states use deeds of trust in creating home loans. this system avoids a judicial foreclosure, and speeds the foreclosure process. because the mortgage loan terms specify that default kicks off the sale process right away (without going through the court system), the lender can start the foreclosure process quickly. the the borrower has a fixed period of time (which varies state by state) to either sell the home, or negotiate to solve the financial problem. if the consumer does not accomplish this on their own, the lender then can seize the property and auction off the home to the highest bidder..
how to avoid foreclosure:
although it is a stressful time, it is important to be aware that there are options to avoid foreclosure. it is also important to know: lenders hate to foreclosure! a foreclosure is almost always a last ditch option for your mortgage company. foreclosures cost money, and it is a lot of work to manage the foreclosure process.
so, to try to minimize the number of homes that get foreclosed on, many lenders have loss mitigation departments. a mortgage company’s loss mitigation group will work with consumers to "re-age" and rehabilitate the borrower. this can be done by loan modification (where the actual loan terms change), forbearance (where missed payments are allowed and frequently tacked on to the end of the mortgage term) or other payment plans to get you back on track.
what that means is that you need to start planning and get smart to avoid foreclosure. assess the value of your home. is there equity that you can refinance? if you want a free refinance quote to see if you can save your home, visit the bills.com mortgage refinance savings center.
if you cannot refinance, can you sell the home and get more out of it? if there is no equity, then you should start thinking about negotiating with your lender. the two key variables are time and money. so figure out if you are in a judicial foreclosure or non-judicial foreclosure state — and how many days you have left until the foreclosure auction. also, start saving up all the cash you can to try to make-up the missed payments or to use to negotiate loan forbearance with your lender’s loss mitigation department.
you should also explore bankruptcy, which stalls the foreclosure process. learn more about bankruptcy.
foreclosure is a complicated and intimidating process, so make sure to do your homework and start planning to make the best of the situation.