It is a lot easier to get a mortgage than it is to maintain one. In fact, one in every 96 homes reported at least one foreclosures filing in 2013, and in general, one out of every 200 homes will be foreclosed upon. It may take around 40 days to close on a house, but it only takes a couple of missed payments to end in foreclosure.
Before you get swept away by the overwhelming and confusing foreclosure process, make sure you know all the facts and all your options.
What is it?
Foreclosure is basically the process by which a homeowner’s property is seized because of failure to pay the mortgage. Typically, if the homeowner cannot pay the balance of the mortgage, the house goes up on auction, or becomes the property of the institution that lent the mortgage in the first place.
How does it work?
There is ample warning before a foreclosing. Notification of missed payments is followed by a public notice, or Notice of Default. After this notice is received, the homeowner has a grace period called pre-foreclosure, in which they have time to try to make other arrangements, bargain with the lending company, or come up with money to complete payments.
Finally, if all else fails, the house goes up for auction, where the highest bidder wins the rights to the house. In many states, the owner still retains the “rights of redemption,” meaning they can stop the foreclosure by coming up with the outstanding cash.
How can I avoid this process?
The number one way to avoid foreclosure is to pay your mortgage payments on time and in full. And of course, this further means that it is important to not assume a mortgage that you are 100% positive you can maintain payments on.
If its too late for that, it is in your best interest to enlist in the help of a real estate lawyer. They are experienced in the nuances of the foreclosure process and real estate contracts and may be able to see an new angle of the issue. Sometimes, loan renegotiation or different repayment plans are possible solutions that can be worked out directly with the lender.
Most of all, don’t panic. Investigating refinancing options, or even selling your house before foreclosure can be effective in getting you out ahead.