Protect your Rights during Foreclosure
Recently, the country has experienced a rash of foreclosures never previously
experienced. Along the way, both homeowners and lenders have found that the process can be
fraught with numerous possible errors. Homeowners who have found it difficult to make their
monthly mortgage payments or who have already had the foreclosure process initiated should
understand the important of taking immediate action in order to ensure their forclosure
rights are protected throughout the process.
While it would certainly be nice if all homeowners across the country could
know what to expect when it comes to the foreclosure process, the reality is that rules can
vary significantly around the country. Not only can the rules of foreclosure vary according
to jurisdiction, but they can also vary according to your particular situation and according
to your lender. In some states, judicial foreclosure is required, while in others it is not.
Judicial foreclosure refers to court approved foreclosure.
One of the most important things you need to understand regarding the foreclosure
process and your rights is the foreclosure timeline. Due to the sheer number of foreclosures over
the past few years, one of the biggest problems many lenders have faced is meeting deadlines. State
laws affect the timeframe that is applicable to a foreclosure, but for the most part lenders are
allowed to begin foreclosure proceedings 90 days after the last mortgage payment has been made.
After the foreclosure process has begun, homeowners still maintain the right to
keep their house and also to stop the foreclosure process if they are able to bring their payments
up to date as well as pay the late fees which have been incurred up to that point. It is extremely
important for homeowners to make the attempt to negotiate with their lenders to obtain a modification
to their loan or refinance if they wish to keep the home. Refinancing or modification can help in
lowering payments. Even if a foreclosure notice is sent, it should not put a stop to the process
On the other hand, if homeowners are not interested in keeping the house, it is
important for them to consider selling their home before foreclosure can actually take place.
Homeowners still own the home until the foreclosure process is complete. Consequently, they maintain
the right to sell their home. If you find that you need to sell your home for less than the amount
that is owed to the lender, keep in mind that you might be able to negotiate for a short sale with
the lender rather than go through with a foreclosure. While you are waiting for the short sale, you
are also able to continue living in the home.
During the foreclosure process, homeowners may also remain in the home, provided they
continue maintaining the property and continue paying property taxes and homeowners insurance. Homeowners
may not be evicted until such time as the court states specifically that the property now belongs to
the lender. Homeowners should further understand they maintain the right to prevent anyone from entering
their home until after the foreclosure is actually complete.
Always make sure you thoroughly check your mortgage loan paperwork. Your rights and
responsibilities when you are in default as a homeowner will be explained within those documents. Be
certain to read through them thoroughly so that you will have a complete understanding of all your
foreclosure rights as a homeowner.
You also have the right to hire a lawyer. This is something that many homeowners going
through the foreclosure process do choose to do. An attorney specializing in foreclosures can assist you
in determining how much time you will have in order to move once the foreclosure is complete. An attorney
may also be able to assist you if the lender has not provided you with appropriate notice regarding the
In some states there is a redemption period even after the foreclosure sale in which
homeowners are able to reclaim their home if they have the ability to purchase it back. The specific
rules regarding the redemption period will often depend on whether the foreclosure is non-judicial or
judicial. In some states, redemption periods can even last for several months. Be sure to check what
the rules may be within your state regarding the existence of a possible redemption period and the
length of such a period.
The foreclosure process can be frightening and frustrating, but making sure you understand
the right steps to take can help to ensure that your rights are protected.