If you are facing the threat of losing your home, there is still time to do something about it. There are several strategies that can delay or temporarily stop the foreclosure process right up until the last minute. Here are a few options that may be available to you.
Declaring bankruptcy is a legal process that gives you automatic stay protection. This means as soon as you file, creditor actions must stop. Filing for bankruptcy can even halt the sale of your home with an injunction that prohibits the lender from foreclosing, even if the sale is scheduled within the next few days. However, if the sale has already taken place, it won’t do anything to get your home back.
Bankruptcy is not a long-term solution unless you take further action. Your lender can still file a motion for relief from the stay, although this usually takes 1-2 months. This may be enough time to explore alternatives with your lender. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can restructure your mortgage and other debts to keep your home. Even if you are unable to complete the payment plan set up with Chapter 13, it should still give you at least a few months before a foreclosure can go through.
Another option is applying for a loan modification with your lender. While this isn’t a good option if the sale is quickly approaching, this is a good option if you are approaching the point of foreclosure. Many states and the federal government prohibit a practice called dual tracking, where the lender continues with foreclosure proceedings while a loss mitigation application is still pending. Instigating loan modification will keep them from starting the foreclosure process and it can be a huge benefit for you.
With a loan modification, you can lengthen the terms of the mortgage, decrease your interest, or modify other terms. While this is beneficial for you, your lender may try to take advantage of you. It is important that you carefully read through all the paperwork and that you have a lawyer review the contract before you sign. There is no point in modifying your loan to end up in a worse situation than you were before. Once the loan modification is final, foreclosure will be stopped as long as you comply with the modification terms and keep up with the new payments.
Sue the Lender
A final option is suing your lender if they are using a nonjudicial foreclosure process which occurs outside the court. In this case, filing a lawsuit challenging the foreclosure can delay or even stop the sale. There are clear downsides to this solution. Filing a lawsuit is expensive and if you lose, you will lose your home and be stuck with lender’s court fees and your own. If you are successful, you can stop the foreclosure.
Your options for delaying foreclosure are limited but each can at the very least give you an extra two or more months to come up with a solution to save your home. Bankruptcy and loan modification also have a good chance of not only saving your home but putting you in a better financial position than when you started.