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Don’t panic if you’ve received a foreclosure letter in the mail! This doesn’t automatically mean you’ve lost your home. You have options: you can fight the foreclosure in court, you can negotiate new terms with your mortgage lender, you can modify your loan, and more. Hire a foreclosure lawyer as soon as possible to see all of your options.

The Foreclosure Process

The foreclosure process can be grueling, especially if you attempt it without a lawyer. Each state has its own, very specific, foreclosure process. For example, some states deal with foreclosure through the court system (i.e. judicial foreclosure), some don’t use the court system at all (i.e. non-judicial foreclosure), and some allow the lender to decide whether to go through the court system or not.

Regardless of what state you are in or what route your lender chooses, here are the typical stages of foreclosure:

  • Pre-foreclosure

The lender will alert you with letters, and maybe phone calls, that you have missed payments on your mortgage. You may receive a Notice of Default, which means “pay us in 30 days, or else we will take action.” At this stage, the lender has not initiated the actual foreclosure process yet.

  • Foreclosure notice or Foreclosure summons and complaint

This stage can be tricky. Depending on your state’s laws and the lender’s choice, you could receive a foreclosure notice, or a summons and complaint for foreclosure.

  • Auction/Foreclosure Sale

If the court disagrees with you or you haven’t paid the lender in a satisfactory way, there will be a foreclosure sale. This is the part where the lender tries to sell your property to the highest bidder. If it doesn’t sell, then the lender ends up with your home.

  • Redemption period

After the property is sold, some states will still allow you to buy back your home. This is known as the redemption period because you are “redeeming” your property.

If you receive a foreclosure notice, you will likely have up to 120 days to make up the missed payments. This notice will also be posted publicly.

If you receive a foreclosure summons and complaint, you have the option to file a response. By filing a response, you are effectively saying, “I have a reason (defense) for why payments were not made and/or why foreclosure should be halted.” Then, it is up to the court to decide whether they agree with you or not.

Role of a Foreclosure Lawyer

It is crucial that you hire a foreclosure lawyer as soon as possible to get the best results. Handling a foreclosure claim on your own is difficult due to the ever-changing nature of foreclosure laws. Remember, every state has different laws and procedures for foreclosure, as well.

What exactly can a foreclosure lawyer do for you?

  • Defend you in foreclosure court using various legal defenses,
  • Determine alternate resolutions to foreclosure (e.g. loan modification),
  • Negotiate new terms with the lender (e.g. lower payments),
  • Help you file for bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure.

Get Legal Help

Foreclosure law is a very dense area of law. If it is hard for lawyers, it will be hard for you. Don’t panic and don’t wait to seek legal advice! Hire a foreclosure lawyer to reach a desirable outcome. The earlier you act, the more options that will be available to you.