If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments then a foreclosure may be in your future, but did you know that you have options to stop it from happening? There are 5 ways you can stop foreclosure at the last minute or at least delay it. Don’t give up hope, see if one of these strategies can work for you.
How Does the Foreclosure Process Work?
In Utah the foreclosure process, by law, cannot start until you are at least 3 payments behind. You will have received notices from your bank that you are behind before you will be served papers demanding payment. Those papers, called the Notice of Default, will be mailed to you. After receiving the notice you have a minimum of 90 days to make up the payment.
Once the 90 day period is up a deed of trust is drawn up to transfer control of your property to a trustee and a sale date is issued for the property if you haven’t worked out a solution. You are given notice of a minimum of 3 weeks for the foreclosure sale date. At the sale date the trustee can sell your property at a public auction.
Five Ways to Stop a Foreclosure at the Last Minute
With each of these solutions it’s imperative that you take action quickly. If you wait too long or the sale date is set for your foreclosure then stopping a foreclosure can be much more difficult.
Bankruptcy is an option if you don’t care about your credit and you need to buy time. If the foreclosure is scheduled to occur in even a few days, filing bankruptcy will put an automatic stay on the property, an injunction that prohibits the bank from foreclosing on the home. The bank does have the option of filing a motion of relief to get the automatic stay lifted. If the court grants that motion then the foreclosure will be delayed but not stopped, buying you time.
There are two types of bankruptcy to consider, Chapter 13 and Chapter 7:
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Benefits
- With this type of bankruptcy you could potentially keep your home by repaying debts over a period of 3-4 years as part of a payment plan set up in the bankruptcy process. These payments will be some in part and some in full.
- In chapter 13 bankruptcy you could potentially eliminate any other loan you have on your home, such as second and third mortgages, because they are considered unsecured loans.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Benefits
- You probably won’t be able to save your home with a Chapter 7 but you can potentially delay the foreclosure, giving you time to live in the home without making payments.
- The money you save living in the home without payments can be put towards a rental.
- Chapter 7 will eliminate your liability for the mortgage.
If you are unable to make your payments then applying for a loan modification may help you avoid foreclosure. The bank could deny the loan modification so this is not a guaranteed option and it’s an avenue that you would want to pursue early in the foreclosure process to give yourself better chances of getting approved. With a loan modification the lender would work with you to negotiate a modification to the monthly payment, but this doesn’t always work in your favor. Sometimes the bank will modify the loan in such a way that your monthly payments actually get higher which won’t be helpful if you’re unable to meet your current monthly payment.
If you are determined to stay in your home and make something work then pursuing a loan modification early in the foreclosure process could work for you.
Deed in Lieu
A deed in lieu is where you give the lender ownership of your home through a short sale process. As with a bankruptcy your credit will be affected so contact a credit counselor if you want to know what to expect with your credit in a deed of lieu. This option is not very popular with banks but if the other options don’t work for you then this try a deed in lieu to stop your foreclosure at the last minute.
File a Lawsuit
In Utah a foreclosure can either take place with a judicial OR nonjudicial foreclosure process. If your lender has pursued a nonjudicial foreclosure process (meaning no courts involved) then a lawsuit against the lender could bring the foreclosure to a temporary stop. You would need to consult with a lawyer to see if you have grounds to sue, challenging the lenders right to foreclose on your home. To be able to sue the lender you would need to demonstrate one of the following:
- That the lender lacks proof that it owns the promissory note
- That the lender violated the Homeowners Bill of Rights
- That the lender ignored any state mediation requirements regarding foreclosure
- That the lender made an error that could halt the foreclosure
The problem with a lawsuit is that they are expensive and time consuming. If you were to lose your suit you could end up paying all the fees for yourself and the lender so don’t pursue this avenue without a strong case and the advice of a good lawyer.
Sell Quickly or Short Sale to an Investor
Did you know that if your home is in pre-foreclosure you can still sell your home? There are some hurdles with selling a home in foreclosure but the good news is that investors or house buying companies are equipped to handle the process and extra steps AND are prepared to pay cash for your home.
If you’re hoping to save your credit, save time and avoid foreclosure then seeking out a trusted investor to purchase your home could be the simplest solution. Gary with Gary Buys Houses works out solutions unique to your situation, even allowing you to stay in the home for a time, work towards purchasing the home back and more. If you want to sell the home quickly and can raise enough money to repay outstanding balance of the loan, then working with an investor could be the simplest solution to avoiding a foreclosure at the last minute.
If you are upside down in your home — meaning you owe more than the home is worth — then you could reach out to the lender about selling your home as a short sale. A short sale allows you to sell the home for less than what is owed on the mortgage and often releases you from the remaining debt in the process. Read more about how short sales work by clicking here.
If you want more information about avoiding foreclosure contact Gary today.