Knowing When it’s Too Late to Stop Foreclosure in Massachusetts

Foreclosure

Knowing you might face foreclosure can be overwhelming and stressful. There are numerous requirements and deadlines you must know. Rather than trying to beat the clock at the last minute, learn the timelines you have to keep your foreclosure process from taking the next step.

Stopping the Foreclosure Proceedings

If you’ve missed several payments in a row, the bank may send you a pre-foreclosure notice. This shows their intent to file a lawsuit with the court if you don’t catch up on your payments. The bank notifies you of your delinquencies and gives you a deadline to get caught up.

Nothing has been filed with the courts at this time. This is the ideal time to stop it. Banks are often willing to work with you at this point since foreclosure proceedings are expensive and time-consuming.

The Dodd-Frank Act requires lenders to give you a 120-day Loss Mitigation Period. This starts from the first missed payment. You have 120 days to catch up. If you don’t take action during this time, the bank is free to file a foreclosure suit with the courts.

Stopping the Foreclosure Auction

If you don’t stop the foreclosure process in the ‘pre-foreclosure’ stage, foreclosure proceedings may begin. The process typically takes between 180 – 200 days, during which time you may contest the foreclosure, which will prolong the process, but may or may not stop it.

You can contest a foreclosure for several reasons:

  • Lack of sufficient notice
  • Incorrect bank or servicer filing the order
  • Incorrect application of your payments
  • Fraudulent activity on the bank’s part
  • Disregard of HUD requirements

Claiming Your House Back During Right of Redemption

Even the bank sells your home in a foreclosure auction, you have the ‘Right of Redemption.’ This gives you the right to reverse the sale, but the period is short – just 10 days. During that time, you must pay the total amount due, including all past due amounts, interest, penalties, and legal fees to reverse the sale.

How to Prevent Foreclosure in Massachusetts

A foreclosure can damage your credit in ways that are hard to overcome. While losing your house may be inevitable, there are other ways to pay off your debt and get out from under the foreclosure proceedings before they even start:

  • Short sale – You and the lender can agree on a price that is less than the amount you owe. If the lender agrees, they will mark your mortgage ‘settled.’ While a short sale affects your credit, the effects aren’t as negative as a foreclosure.
  • Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure – You can agree to relinquish the deed to the lender voluntarily. You still lose your house, but you do so voluntarily rather than forcefully. Both you and the bank may save money and you’ll avoid the public notice that foreclosures require, keeping your private business to yourself.
  • File for bankruptcy – The minute you file for bankruptcy, all debts have an ‘automatic stay.’ This halts foreclosure proceedings in its tracks. You still need to figure out a plan from here, but it may give you more time.
  • Sell to a cash home buyer – If you know you can’t afford your mortgage and you’re still in pre-foreclosure status, consider a cash buyer. You’ll get the cash to pay off your mortgage and avoid any more negative effects on your credit score than already occurred.

Once you are behind on your mortgage payments, it’s time to create a plan. The faster you act, the less damage will occur to your credit score. Be realistic with yourself. Do you want to save the house? If so, you’ll need the steps to stop the foreclosure proceedings fast. If you don’t want to or know you can’t save the house, consider other options that prevent foreclosure proceedings as they are costly and made public knowledge.

If selling your home is something you’re considering, call us today. We’ll give you a fair cash offer for your home. If you agree to it, we can close in as little as 14 days, putting the stress of behind on your mortgage behind you. Contact us today for more information.

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