During the recent housing crisis, hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes through abusive and fraudulent foreclosure practices. In an attempt to compensate victims and put into place fair practices, Georgia ― along with 49 other states and the federal government ― reached an $8.5 billon National Mortgage Settlement with 10 major mortgage lenders. Nearly 180,000 Georgians, many in Atlanta, might qualify for assistance under the settlement, which aims to stop foreclosure fraud. Critics worry that the settlement is too little, too late.
The best defense against foreclosure is to act proactively. In a tough economy, many factors contribute to a homeowner's ability to pay his or her mortgage or other debts. Regardless of the reason, if you fall behind on your payments, keep in regular contact with your lender. Under the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement, lenders must make certain options available to homeowners to stay out of foreclosure.
We have listed below some of your options to either avoid or defend against foreclosure:
- Cure the default ― If you can afford it, arrange to cure the default and bring your loan current. Usually, this means a cash payment.
- Arrange for a "short sale" ― A short sale allows you to sell the property for less than the amount you owe. With lender approval, the sale cancels your all your obligations under the mortgage.
- Arrange for a deed in lieu of foreclosure ― You can voluntarily transfer the property to the lender, in exchange the lender agrees to release you from the loan.
- Bankruptcy ― Through either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may retain your property and make affordable payment arrangements.
- Foreclosure challenges ― You may have legal grounds to challenge the process the lender followed to foreclose on your property. Under recent laws, the lender must provide specific notices and certifications to initiate foreclosure.
An Atlanta foreclosure defense attorney can evaluate your unique circumstances and take the best approach for you. Contact DebtStoppers, Bankruptcy Law Firm Robert J. Semrad & Assoc., LLC for a free consultation.