Foreclosure rates are at an all time high. Having your home in foreclosure is stressful, frightening, and confusing for most home owners. I have successfully represented individual and commercial clients in foreclosure proceedings for over twenty-five years.
In a foreclosure, you may find yourself potentially losing the house that you and your family call home and that you worked so hard to get. Worse, if you lose your home in a foreclosure, New Jersey law allows a lender to obtain a "deficiency judgment" for the balance of what you owe after selling your house at the foreclosure sale. This is often an important factor to consider when considering your course of action to take.
After reviewing your case with you, I will determine the ways to successfully achieve your goals. I proudly use my many years of experience to protect and empower the rights of homeowners and real estate investors. I constantly develop legal strategies to provide insight and information for the client to make the best strategic decisions possible.
Just because you are behind in your loan payments does not necessarily mean you will lose your home. In fact, there are a variety of methods to avoid foreclosure depending on your circumstances. If you are trying to save your home from foreclosure and wish to remain in it, a loan modification may be a good option. If you don't qualify for a loan modification, then we can consider a refinance or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. If you wish to give up your home but do not want the foreclosure to affect your credit history, you can consider a short sale or even a deed in lieu of foreclosure. In many cases, a foreclosure combined with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best choice. I will be happy to listen carefully to your situation and to recommend the appropriate action to achieve your goals.
Once you have been served with the foreclosure complaint, you generally have thirty five (35) days to file an answer. It is important that you seek legal representation. If you have already been served with a foreclosure complaint and are past the deadline for the answer, you may still be able to defend the foreclosure depending on the specific case. In New Jersey, a foreclosure may take between 12 and 30 months.
A well-defended foreclosure has many benefits:
For many, fighting back is the best hope to save a property from foreclosure. Problematic foreclosures have the best chance of a meaningful loan modification with a possible principal balance reduction. For others hoping to get out from under an underwater property, fighting back is the best protection against being forced to pay the unpaid principal balance after a foreclosure, short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure.
Fighting a foreclosure includes reviewing the foreclosure case against you in order to determine flaws that can be used to your benefit. The most common issues that the loan modification attorneys search for are the violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Borrowers are often the victim of predatory lending practices. A borrower may have grounds to fight foreclosure and sue for damages if a lender engaged in violations of mortgage lending laws. Further, numerous times a lender has lost or destroyed the original note. There may be no document existing allowing foreclosure against a borrower. A court compelling a mortgage lender to produce the original loan document may halt the foreclosure proceeds if the document is missing.
Unfortunately, some mortgage lenders proceed with a foreclosure while you are seeking a modification. If you do not defend the foreclosure, you may lose your leverage to force a modification. I can defend the foreclosure to protect your rights while you seek a modification.
In New Jersey, there are (now) three primary methods used to pursue a mortgage modification. These will be discussed with you at your consultation. The process can be involved. A loan modification can be extremely beneficial to homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments. Some of the primary reasons to consider a loan modification are to:
Another option to consider when facing loss of your home is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Many of my clients explore the option of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to save their home. The threat of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may also bring your lender back to the negotiation table to grant a modification.
Although evaluated on a case-by-case basis, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may stop the foreclosure and give you some much needed “breathing room.” It may allow you to enter into a court-approved plan to allow you to pay back the mortgage payments that you missed, after which time your mortgage will be current. It will also address the other debts that you have to make sure that your entire financial situation is meaningfully addressed.
In some cases, it does not make sense to try to keep your house. This is true where:
In these cases, options may include a refinance or sale, Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure or a short sale. In many cases, a foreclosure combined with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best choice if you are also looking for a fresh start. We will discuss these (and all) of your options at your consultation.
I am a seasoned bankruptcy attorney who has advocated for his clients during some of the most difficult times of their lives.
I am a member of The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, The American Bankruptcy Institute, and am a Two-time Barrister of the Bankruptcy Inns of Court.