Continued economic turbulence has left a vast number of Americans in precarious financial positions, especially homeowners who have found themselves stuck with adjustable-rate mortgages or other subprime loans. Even the most financially prudent may have trouble staying up to date on property payments in the face of decreased wages and increased interest rates. When a borrower falls several payments behind, their lender may initiate foreclosure – the legal process through which the borrower’s home is sold.
If you have received a foreclosure notice, time is of the essence. You will only have limited time to explore and exercise your legal rights.
You do not have to fight foreclosure alone. At the Law Office of Matthew Doyaga, LLC, we recognize you are experiencing an unthinkable crisis. Our Columbus foreclosure defense lawyer will treat you like a member of our family and leverage our wealth of knowledge to save your home. In many cases, the most reliable way to stop foreclosure is to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We will walk you through what this process entails and how filing can help you to reorganize or eliminate many types of debt. We care about your case and will do everything we can to provide you with the peace of mind and practical results you deserve.
Your lender cannot foreclose your home if you are only a month or two behind on payments. In most cases, you must be at least 120 days behind on your mortgage before your lender can start the foreclosure process.
Your lender is generally required to send you a breach letter and attempt to contact you to discuss relief options before they can move forward with a foreclosure lawsuit. Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be able to secure a home mortgage modification or negotiate another foreclosure avoidance solution. You can also stop a pending foreclosure at any time if you can catch up on payments and cover all outstanding fees.
The precise steps of the foreclosure process will depend on your state. In Ohio, your lender must sue you before they can sell your home. If they choose to pursue a foreclosure lawsuit, you will receive an official complaint and summons.
At this point, you will have two key options for stopping the foreclosure. You can oppose the foreclosure proceedings in state court through an available foreclosure defense. This may be a viable option if your lender filed the lawsuit too early or violated some other procedure, but you will only have 28 days to formally respond to the complaint and raise an applicable defense.
Your other major option is to file for bankruptcy in federal court, but you must do so before your home is sold. If you choose to do nothing, you wait too long, or the court rejects your foreclosure defense, your lender can schedule a public auction of the property. The sale will generally take place about three weeks after the court hands down a decision.
This window of time is your last opportunity to file for bankruptcy and stop the foreclosure, so do not wait to speak with Law Office of Matthew Doyaga, LLC if your lender is about to sell your home. Our Columbus foreclosure defense attorney will take the time to evaluate your situation, determine whether you have a foreclosure defense, and review all your legal options.
If no foreclosure defense is available, you will likely need to consider bankruptcy if you wish to save your home. In most cases, bankruptcy filers receive the protection of the “automatic stay,” a court order that prohibits creditors from starting or continuing collection actions – including foreclosure. Your lender typically cannot foreclose your home until your bankruptcy case is over.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you the chance to reorganize your finances and catch up on missed mortgage payments interest-free. You will prepare and agree to a payment plan that consolidates your financial obligations into a single monthly payment. This payment, which is determined by what you can currently afford, will be made over three to five years.
Your mortgage must be brought current over the course of the plan. Fortunately, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, some types of debt – including mortgage delinquencies – are considered “priority debts,” meaning they must be paid before non-priority debts. Your plan payments will work to address missed mortgage payments (and other priority debts) before any unsecured debt you may have.
Your lender will most likely be unable to continue a foreclosure action if you make plan payments on time. This means your home could be protected for up to five years.
Once you make all Chapter 13 plan payments, the court will often permit you to eliminate any remaining unsecured debts. Credit card debt, medical debt, and personal loans that were not paid off through your plan can be discharged. Though you cannot eliminate missed mortgage payments without losing your home, this discharge can free up other financial resources that can help you better manage future mortgage payments.
You should not feel embarrassed about having to file for bankruptcy if it gives you the opportunity you need to overcome financial difficulties and save your home. Our Columbus foreclosure defense lawyer understands the difficult situation you are in and are ready to provide accessible and dedicated representation. We will be your confidant and offer compassionate, results-oriented advice every step of the way.