If my home goes into foreclosure, can I remove and sell the kitchen cabinets and other fixtures inside the home? The answer to that question is no, you should not be selling the fixtures. Whatever’s attached to the property is real property and they have a mortgage against it, so it’s really basically a fraud against your lender if you start removing kitchen cabinets and fixtures. Now appliances, that’s something different, in that usually the mortgage does not cover appliances. But as far as light fixtures, kitchen cabinets, water heaters, windows, things such as this, that’s all part of the house and should not be removed in a mortgage foreclosure action and that is part of the real property. So hopefully if you’re in a mortgage foreclosure action, well give me a call and we’ll see about trying to help you out as far as a defense is concerned, or see what your alternatives are.
My phone number is 847-2288.
Can a Chapter 13 forestall a mortgage foreclosure action? You betcha it can! Because once you file any kind of bankruptcy action, it is a federal court, and so it immediately stays the foreclosure action. And even if it’s scheduled for foreclosure sale, the Chapter 13 will stop the foreclosure sale if it’s filed just before the sale date after it’s already been going through a foreclosure.
I don’t do bankruptcies; however, my understanding of a Chapter 13 is that you basically say that I can make the payments, and I’m a little bit behind on my other payments, so the bankruptcy court – this is my understanding – will take your deficiencies or the payments that you’re behind, and let you spread that out over a 60-month period, but that means you’ve got to make your regular payment, as well as one-sixtieth of the back payments. And if you don’t make those payments, well, you get kicked out of a Chapter 13.
Now sometimes it’s sort of frustrating if you’re trying to foreclose a mortgage where people will file more than one 13. We call those a Chapter 26 or Chapter 39 if they keep filing, you know, several times after you go through the foreclosure process, but it can be very useful.
Also, if you file bankruptcy action, you have a good chance of possibly working out a mortgage modification in the federal bankruptcy court. So if you need a referral to a good bankruptcy lawyer, well, give me a call and I’ll be happy to give you the name of an attorney who will be glad to try and help you or refer you to someone that will do a Chapter 13 for you.
My phone number is 727-847-2288.
How long can I stay in my property if I quit making my mortgage payments? Well, you can stay in it until such time as the mortgage foreclosure action is concluded, which is the sale of your property. It’s a public sale or auction, and even after the sale, then whoever purchases it must wait approximately 14 days before a Certificate of Title is issued. You can stay in there for that long, and then even after that time period because then the lender or whoever holds your mortgage must apply for a Writ of Possession, and then if they get a Writ of Possession, then the sheriff will serve that on you and then you have 24 hours to vacate.
I realize I have not given you a timeline as far as whether it’s nine months, a year or two years, and that’s because there isn’t a pat answer to that. It depends on the lender. I’ve talked to people who haven’t made payments for two or three years, and the lender has not filed a mortgage foreclosure action, and even when a mortgage foreclosure action has been filed, many of them languish in the court for years and not be pushed forward.
Also, if you retain the services of our law firm, we’ve been able to assist people in staying in their home for a considerable length of time, even after the foreclosure action, and try and work on trying to get a mortgage modification or resolving the foreclosure action without a deficiency judgment. Also delay it long enough if you want to try and affect a short sale.
So the amount of time as far as days and years or months is dependent upon how quickly your lender moves as far as referring the matter to a law firm to foreclose on you, and then how quickly the law firm proceeds with a mortgage foreclosure action, and even after filing the foreclosure action, how quickly they move the proceedings along. So I tell people if you don’t do anything after you’ve been served with a mortgage foreclosure complaint, you probably have about nine months to a year before they will be able to put you out of the property.
So if you get sued in a mortgage foreclosure action and would like some assistance, give me a call at 727-847-2288.
How can an attorney help me if I’m in danger of losing my property to foreclosure? Well, the first thing that an attorney can do who does foreclosure defense is to explain to you the system or what’s going to happen. Information is power, and that way, you can then make some informed decisions as to what you want to do and how you wish to deal with it and what risk you have. Many times, I listen and it bothers me when people say, “Well, I’m behind on my mortgage payments and I’m just gonna walk away from the property.”
Well, that’s probably the worst thing that anyone could do because then the property is subject to being vandalized and the value of the property goes down and nobody is a winner. So I think it’s important to understand how long the process takes, as well as what the consequences are. Also, people are concerned whether or not they’re going to have a judgment entered against them where the bank can take their assets or bank accounts and immediately want to start talking about bankruptcy.
Well, there is a lot of other options involved and some lawyers who do foreclosure defense can give you an idea of whether or not banks are even pursuing a money judgment against you. Right now, foreclosures are taking probably nine months to a year. So why would you want to move out and start paying rent if you could stay there, and if you’re not making your mortgage payments, maintain the property and then when it gets a little closer to being foreclosed out, you can – or having to move when the foreclosure process is over with go rent a piece of property. The rent’s right, just stay right there and then you can start building up a reserve in order to be able to afford another place to go.
So a lawyer primarily can give you your options and talk with you about what you want to accomplish, whether you want to stay in your home, whether you want to try and get a mortgage modification or whether you want to avoid a deficiency judgment. All of these things are what a knowledge lawyer can help you with. So if you have questions about a mortgage foreclosure or you’re in danger of your house being foreclosed upon, give me a call at 727-847-2288.
What do I need to know about loan modifications? Well, you probably need to know a lot. But the biggest thing you need to do is be very, very patient and very, very persistent because they are very, very hard to get. So whenever you get the information from your lender—sometimes they mail it to you to say you can do this to avoid foreclosure, or you can go on their website and have the home retention department or a collector call—get in touch with them and ask them to send you what documents you need to send them in order to try and get a mortgage modification. Whenever you complete the information and try to complete it as full as you can, completely as you can, it’s a real pain in the neck, but once you get it all completed and then you fax it to the lender, be sure you put your loan number on the bottom of every page that you fax to them because I haven’t ever been there, but rumor has it they have a common fax machine and they’ll forever tell you they didn’t get all the documentation.
So after you fax all your paperwork, count four days, and after four days, call them and say did you get everything or is there something that is missing. Be proactive. It takes time and persistence. Now, once you’ve done that, you need to calendar out in about a month. After about a month, you then need to send in new bank statements and paystubs, if you have them. And you fax them to the same number. Be sure you put your loan number on there, updated paystubs, updated bank statements.
Count four days, call them, ask them, “Did you receive everything? Is there anything else you need?” So be proactive. Continue to do this. Probably – hopefully after about six months—they will hopefully have someone actually look at your paperwork and you may have a shot of getting your mortgage modified. But you have to be persistent.
Now, don’t get your expectations up a whole lot about getting a principal reduction on your mortgage. You can ask for it. However, a lot depends on who owns your mortgage, whether it is owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or whether it’s owned by an investor, which is a trust. And it’s been my experience that the only time you get a principal reduction is whenever your loan is owned by an investor. Now, how they pick out who gets the principal reductions, I haven’t figured that out. But you’re not gonna get it necessarily.
Your chances are increased I would think if you go ahead and apply for a mortgage modification. So whenever you go about trying to get it, go ahead and start applying and keep applying, and if they turn you down, well, just turn around and apply again and pretty soon, you’ll be a master at sending the paperwork in and continue to be persistent. And then once you get your modification, well, give us a call. We’ll be glad to review it with you and then we can tell you whether it’s acceptable to you or not – acceptable to you or not acceptable, and then if they wind up filing a foreclosure action while you’re in the middle of this modification program, you have another bite at the apple, which you may be successful with is whenever a foreclosure action’s filed, to then also modify your mortgage.
Now, if you’re current with your mortgage and you want a modification, there are several programs out there for people who are current to be able to modify their mortgage to a lower interest rate, even if the value of your property is below what you owe on it, you still may be qualified and you need to contact your lender about those programs. And you have to have made all your payments for the past 12 months and be current. So if you have any questions about mortgage modifications, give me a call at (727) 847-2288. Thank you.