Estate Planning Law Office of Attorney Joseph F. Pippen, Jr. & Associates
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Q.  Having been unemployed for nine months and unable to make my house payments resulted in my being served a summons in a foreclosure action.  Can you please summarize the events that will happen over the next few months?

A.  Foreclosures have been occurring at a record pace the last few years due to the previously high interest rates and high unemployment figures.  The most critical thing for you to do is to have an attorney file an answer to the foreclosure.  You have 20 days from the receipt of the summons to file an answer or a default will be entered against you.  If a default is entered, the foreclosing petitioner will take the next steps to have the property sold.  If you are the only party to the lawsuit, the property could be sold on the courthouse steps within 60 days from the time of default.

            If times have been bad and you have other judgments against you that have been certified by the clerk, then the petitioner will also have to name those creditors as parties to the lawsuit and foreclose their interests which would have automatically attached to the property being foreclosed.

            A “Notice of Sale” has to appear in a local newspaper on two consecutive weeks before the property can be sold.  The mortgagor can buy the property if he chooses, and take a deficiency judgment against you for the difference between the total amount due including legal costs, costs of the sale plus back taxes, and other costs associated with the foreclosure proceeding and the selling price.

            One action that your attorney can try in your behalf is to stipulate to the fact that you are delinquent in your payments and that you promise to bring the mortgage current within a period of time (for instance, 90 days).  If you fail in your efforts to bring the mortgage current, then the petitioner would have a right of foreclosure of the mortgage without further notice to you.  Often this is the most logical way to proceed if there is a high expectancy of paying the arrearages.

            During the foreclosure process, you have certain redemption rights that can be exercised.  There are many ramifications to foreclosure matters and any specific questions should be directed to an attorney.



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