What does foreclosure mean for me?
Before the real estate market collapsed, many individuals borrowed money to either refinance or purchase a new home. In exchange for money lending, people promised that if they could not pay back the loan, then the bank or money lender could legally take the home as an act of settling the debt. This process is referred to as foreclosure.
So, what could foreclosure mean for you? For some, foreclosure evokes stress and anxiety, especially since foreclosure presumes that the bank or lending company could take ownership of your home. This is not necessarily true. In the foreclosure process, you can only be evicted from your home by the court. In most cases, this process can take months to complete. During that time, a foreclosure defense attorney can fight for your case, effectively buying you more time to help ensure that you stay in your home.
Once the foreclosure process begins, do I still have options?
Of course! There will almost always be options for you to take in a foreclosure. Regardless if the foreclosure process started or not, discussing your alternatives with a foreclosure defense lawyer is the best way to maintain some sort of control over your situation. As a counselor at law, Attorney Glenn F. Russell, Jr. personally advises that you take legal action as soon as possible, which could greatly increase your range of alternative actions to resolve your circumstances. Whatever it takes, you can trust that, by hiring a trial attorney from our firm, your legal representative can utilize whatever resources, time, or alternatives necessary to determine the best course of action for your personal and unique circumstances.
What happens at a foreclosure sale?
It doesn't happen all the time, but if you have exhausted all of your legal alternatives and feel as though a foreclosure or short sale is the last resort, you need to know what to expect.
No foreclosure sale is exactly the same, but for the most part, the foreclosure sale process typically involves the following:
- Lenders must first send a notice of a foreclosure to the homeowner. The notice must be sent at least 14 days prior to the foreclosure sale date.
- A foreclosure sale will take place at the date, time, and place specified in the foreclosure notice.
- The foreclosure sale will be conducted by a licensed auctioneer. The auctioneer will read various legal notices, descriptions, and documents pertaining to the property.
- The auctioneer will take bids on the property, take deposit checks, and accept the highest bid to close the foreclosure property sale.
- Parties - including the mortgagor, the purchaser, and the auctioneer - will draft a foreclosure deed, which must be recorded and filed at the Registry of Deeds.
- A grace period - typically 30 days - will be given to allow the purchaser to line up financing.
- A closing will take place, and the new owner will formally take title to the foreclosed property.
All monies paid by the new purchaser will go toward paying real estate taxes, owed mortgages, and payments to creditors or other debts owed on the property. If no one at the foreclosure sale is able to bid a high enough amount to cover the debt of the property, then the balanced owed - called a deficiency - would then be the liability of the old owner.
Third parties are offering to help my foreclosure process. How do I know who to trust?
Perhaps one of the greatest obstacles individuals encounter during the foreclosure process is learning who to trust and who to avoid. Due to the nature of the foreclosure process, descriptions of any homes being foreclosed may be published and accessible as public information. It is a sad truth that there are fraudulent companies that prey on public lists of foreclosing homes and attempt to take advantage of a people's financial vulnerability.
You may be contacted by mortgage brokers, mortgage negotiators, or mortgage holders. You may also be contacted by a Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney or a private financier who offers to help you sort out your finances. These parties may be dependable sources of legal and helpful advice during your foreclosure.
Unfortunately, there are frauds and scam artists who will try to take your home or your money without providing any sort of service. A general word of advice we give to clients to follow is: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid scams with the help of a qualified attorney from our firm!
Do I really need a foreclosure lawyer?Absolutely. Should you need foreclosure defense counsel, only an experienced attorney can determine which course of action is best for you. Whereas predatory scam artists try to prey on your financial vulnerability, a skilled foreclosure defense attorney genuinely can look out for the best interest of you and your family. Legal advice must be practical and efficient in order to be effective, so if you need strong legal guidance, trust that The Law Office of Glenn F. Russell, Jr. can offer the counsel needed to successfully navigate the complicated legalities of foreclosure or bankruptcy.
Will bankruptcy get rid of all of my debts?
Bankruptcy may allow you to get rid of all of your unsecured debts, which are debts that are not backed up by collateral. These include credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans.
The following types of debt that may not be eliminated by bankruptcy:
- Secured debt
- Child support and alimony
- Tax debt
- Student Loans
- Bankruptcy filing fees
How do I choose the right type of bankruptcy?
If you are eligible to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you have an option of which bankruptcy chapter to file. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of bankruptcy.
Advantages of Chapter 7
- Your debts will be eliminated more quickly
- You don't have to worry about monthly payments
- Your future income is not counted
- Your credit score can recover faster
Advantages of Chapter 13
- You can retain more of your property
- Non-dischargeable debts in Chapter 7 can be reduced in Chapter 13
- Your wages may not be garnished
- Foreclosure on your home can be deferred
Disadvantages of Chapter 7
- You will lose any non-exempt assets
- You will still be responsible for paying any non-dischargeable debt
- You can't restructure any remaining debt
Disadvantages of Chapter 13
- Repayment period lasts for a long time
- Credit score is poor for a longer period of time
- Costs of bankruptcy may be higher