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How does foreclosure work?

It All Starts With A Single Missed Payment

Foreclosure actions start with a single missed payment. If you miss a payment, your lender will likely assess a late fee and your next mortgage statement will show two payments due plus the late fee. If you miss a second -- or, at most, a third -- payment, you can expect to start receiving collection calls.

The Breach Letter

If you are not able to make up the missed payments, the next step is typically for the lender to send you a letter stating that you have defaulted on your loan and demands repayment of the past due amount. Often referred to as a breach letter, this is the first formal step in the foreclosure process. If you have not already done so, now is the time to seek the advice of an attorney.

Court Filings And Responses

The next phase of the process focuses on initiating a court proceeding to either get you to pay the past due balance or force the sale of the property. The lender will file a complaint with the court and you will receive a copy along with a summons to appear. You have 20 days to respond to the complaint. If you don't, the lender can request a judgment against you and move forward with the sale of your home. Hiring a lawyer will help to ensure that these deadlines are met and that you have the best chance of saving your home.

Court Dates

Once you have responded to the lender's complaint, a trial date is set where both you and your lender have the opportunity to present your arguments to the court. If you win, you get to stay. If the lender wins, you will be required to move out, and your home will be sold at a foreclosure auction.

Choosing The Right Attorney Is Essential

Having a qualified foreclosure defense attorney representing you from the outset can go a long way toward protecting your interests and allowing you to keep your home. If you are facing foreclosure, speak with an attorney who knows the law and has experience handling these types of cases.

Come back next time when we will discuss the timing of hiring a foreclosure defense attorney.

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