Foreclosure Article


Information for Homeowners Facing Loss of a Home

Can a lender sell my property?

If you bought a home and signed a deed of trust giving a lender a security interest in your property, the lender can start a process to take legal action to sell the property at a Trustee's Sale. The legal process can be started if you are in default - if you do not do what you agreed when the loan was given. Usually this happens if you are behind on your payments. It also could happen if you fail to pay your property insurance or real estate taxes on the property or don't maintain the property.

 

What must a lender do to sell my property?

  1. The lender will make a demand that you make your payment. Usually this is required in the agreement.
  2. If the lender sends this notice by certified mail, the process of forcing sale of your home can continue even if you refuse to pick up the certified letter.

 

What can I do to prevent the sale?

  1. If you can afford to get up to date on your payments, it is best to do this as soon as possible. If your lender has to take other legal steps, you will end up paying for all of the costs, so it is better to try to stop the process at this point, if you can afford to catch up.
  2. If possible, work out a plan to catch up on your payments. Contact the lender to see if you can reach agreement about how much you will pay and when to catch up.
  3. Be sure that any repayment agreement is in writing. Send a letter saying that you confirm that they have agreed to accept payments and what amounts and dates the payments will be made. Be sure to make the payments on time that you agreed to make.
  4. If possible, get additional funds to be able to catch up on your payments. Some people are able to borrow from relatives. Others arrange roommates or are able to have someone in the family get an additional job to increase income so they can afford to get caught up.
  5. If you have a VA loan, it is especially important that you attempt to work with the VA to avoid possibly being responsible for the full loan amount even if your house later sells for less than you owe and to see if you can remain eligible for a VA loan in the future.

 

What if I don’t get caught up on payments?

  1. The lender can start plans to sell the home by recording a Notice of Trustee's Sale & Substitution of Trustee with the County Recorder's office This Notice sets the date, time and location that the Trustee's Sale of your home will take place.
  2. You should receive a copy of this Notice of Trustee's Sale and a Statement of Breach by certified mail.
  3. This Notice MUST give at least 90 days between the date the notice is recorded and the date the sale will happen.

 

What can I do if I can’t get caught up on payments?

  1. Talk with a lawyer to find out more about your options and get advice. You may be able to hire an attorney to advise or assist you.
  2. If you have low income and are eligible for free legal assistance, contact a legal aid organization in your county.
  3. If you are not eligible for free advice and do not know a lawyer, you can contact the Lawyer Referral Service of the County Bar Association in your county. There is a small fee for a half-hour consultation.
  4. Do not pay money to someone else to negotiate for you with your lender. Some people take your money and make promises that they don't keep.

 

After I receive notice of a trustee's sale, what are my options?

  1. Pay the amount that you owe if you can pay the full amount including back payments, late charges, penalties and trustee fees before the date of the Trustee's Sale.
    •  Ask in writing for the "reinstatement" amount and keep a copy for your records.
    • Send the amount by certified mail, return receipt requested (arranged at the Post Office) so you can prove that you sent the money and that the lender received it.
    •  IF YOU PAY ALL THAT YOU OWE, BE SURE THAT YOU HAVE IN WRITING FROM THE LENDER AND TRUSTEE THAT THE TRUSTEE'S SALE HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
    • If you have trouble getting the lender to tell you the exact amount that will be due on the date you can pay it, there are steps you can take to find out this amount and complain if the lender refuses to give you the information you need.
    • The Volunteer Lawyers Program or a private attorney can help you if you can afford to pay the money and can't get the lender to tell you the exact amount you owe.
  2. Refinance, if you can qualify for the amount you owe including the past due mortgage payments.
    • Contact several mortgage companies to see if you can qualify.
    •  It can be difficult or impossible to get refinancing if you are behind on your payments (in default) already.
    • DO NOT AGREE TO A SHORT TERM LOAN AT HIGH INTEREST WITH PAYMENTS TOO HIGH FOR YOU TO AFFORD.
    •  If you are able to refinance, the arrangements need to be made and documents signed and your lender paid before the date that the Trustee's Sale is scheduled to happen.
  3. Sell the home yourself before the date scheduled for the Trustee's Sale.
    • If your home will sell for significantly more than you owe, this option can allow you to pay off the mortgage and costs and also get some money you can use to arrange another place to live and pay moving costs.
  4. File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, if you have enough income to pay your regular payments and also pay your back payments during a period of years.
    • IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING THIS OPTION, CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY WHO IS IN GOOD STANDING WITH THE STATE BAR (CHECK AT 602-252-4804) AND HANDLES CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY CASES.
    • If you qualify for this type of bankruptcy, the bankruptcy papers need to be filed with the bankruptcy court before the date and time set for the Trustee's Sale.
    • IF YOU FILE A BANKRUPTCY THAT POSTPONES THE TRUSTEE'S SALE AND THE BANKRUPTCY CASE IS LATER DISMISSED, THE TRUSTEE'S SALE CAN TAKE PLACE LATER, AND YOU WILL NOT BE ENTITLED TO BE NOTIFIED AGAIN ABOUT THE TRUSTEE'S SALE.
  5. If you cannot use any of the options above -- catch up on your payments or refinance or sell the home or qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy-- the lender can proceed with the Trustee's Sale as scheduled.

What can I do after my home is sold at a trustee's sale?

  1. Make arrangements to move.
    1. After the Trustee's Sale, the home belongs to the lender or whoever bought it at the sale.
    2. The new owner has a right to have you move out so they can use the home.
    3. See if you can get the new owner to agree to rent the home to you. Sometimes this is possible.
    4. See if the new owner will agree to give you a little more time to arrange to move. There is no legal requirement that the owner do this; but sometimes it is possible, especially if you agree in writing to leave by a certain date and not require them to go to court to evict you.
    5. Expect the new owner to give you a Notice to Vacate and then file a Forcible Entry and Detainer action in court to have the court order you to move out.
      • This increases costs for the new owner, who can ask that you be ordered to pay them.
      • If you receive this notice, we recommend that you go to court at the time set for the court hearing even if you already have moved out.
      • If possible, be sure that all of your belongings are moved before the court hearing or at the very latest before the date that the judge orders that the "writ will issue" (usually 5 days after the hearing).
      • If you have not moved by the date that the writ issues, the new owner can have the constable or sheriff come to remove you that day and is not required to give you any more time to move.
      • If this happens, you may have additional difficulties and expense.



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 DEED OF TRUST is a document which pledges real property to secure a loan, used instead of a mortgage

 DEFAULT means a failure to respond to a summons and complaint served on a party in the time required by law

 Lawyer Referral Services; Maricopa County (602) 506-3296, Pima County (520) 623-4625


Comments:

On 3/11/08
One said
You should request a hearing on the court order with the court that issued it. You can also request the police to be present to remove your belongings with a civil standby. Good luck.

On 2/17/08
Jack said
I have quit my job due to physical reasons, unable to make my house payment, and going back east to live with family. I have tried to refinace my home, and work with my bank, to no avail. I am willing to surrender my home to the bank, what happens

On 9/14/07
Karen said
My brother caused me a head injury and then filed a restraining order on me for ficticious reasons, and now the house had to be sold, and I only have 14 days left to gain access and get my possesions. He won't let me get them and I have no bed.

QUESTIONS

  • Last year we fell behind on our home payments. We tried to work with the lender for months, Instead they set a foreclosure date. We only owe $265,000 plus the arrears on our home which is now appraising at $422k. We were forced to file Ch. 13 in order to stop the foreclosure and save our equity. My spouse now has a high income job offer out of state. We want to rent out our home instead of selling & dismiss the BK but still owe over $18k in arrears. With our bad credit due to the BK, what are our options for getting a loan to pay the arrears? Our home will rent for $2800 and our payment is 2k.
  • I asked CitiMortgage Inc . for a loan modification at the end of 2012 because my ci-borrower was gone and I was going to get a 20% paycut two months from when I made my request. I was definitely in imminent danger of default. They said call back after I miss 3 payments and then they would help.Endless paperwork, 10 payments behind-I reinstated in full and am now current. They transferred deed to trustee and still foreclosure activity. Help
  • How do I find out if there is a sale date for my home that is in foreclosure?
  • Due to piling credit card debt and a recent diagnosis of cancer I may be headed towards foreclosure on my condominium. My question is if I cannot save my home will I be subject to any deficiency judgments against me because my residence is a condominium? I've read about if the property being less than 2.5 acres and a single family dwelling is safe from deficiency judgments. Do condos fall under the same protection? Is there anymore light you can shed on this situation for me?
  • My father passed away 1/16/2015. His is the only name on his home's deed. There is a reverse mortgage on the house and what is currently owed on the mortgage is more than the house is worth. My name is not on the deed and I don't plan on going to probate to get control of the house. The mortgage company is starting foreclosure. My question: is the estate, and me personally as the executor of the will, legally obligated maintain the homeowners insurance policy until the house is sold at the foreclosure auction which could take 1 to 2 years?
  • I am currently in a Ch 13 bankruptcy. My home was in my bk plan. Currently my pre and post petition payments are current. However my mortgage servicer continues to place the payments made in a reserve account for several days before applying the monthly payment. My loan servicer also adds additional fees to my monthly statement such as property preserv fee? My home was in foreclosure but since it is current on pre and post petition payments, my servicer still has not canceled the trustee sale, they just continue to move the date forward. I filed pro se and everything else has been fine.
  • My proprty is seduced to be sold today at a Trustee's auction. I had a new loan approved for past two weeks that would pay the existing note in full, the trustee deliberately withheld the final payoff statement until 4:59 p.m. on the day prior to the foreclosure, making it impossible to fund on the new loan in time to stop the sale. Is there anything we can do to stop the sale and buy ourselves a few days to get the new loan closed?
  • My home was forclosed on 2yrs ago after my real estate agent tried for 2 long years to short sale it.  Mortgager #1 denied all offers for the first 1.5yrs, while 2nd mortgager was agreeable.  Final offer was finally accepted by Mortgager #1 but 2nd mortgager completely blocked the sale by rejecting offer.  Now 2nd mortgager still sends me mortgage bills and calls me daily to try to collect this debt!  They also report my payment as LATE EVERY MONTH! Is there any way to get them to leave me be?  Do they have the legal right to harass me even though they are the reason I went through this foreclosure?
  • In 2010 I was granted a bankruptcy, which included my home. However, the home wasn't foreclosed upon until 2011. Now, I want to purchase property. Does the date before I can get a loan count back to when the bankruptcy was granted or to the date of the foreclosure?
  • I AM CURRENTLY RENTING A HOME THAT WAS IN FORCLOSURE BEFORE I MOVED IN AND KNEW NOTHING ABOUT. I SIGNED A 18 MONTH LEASE AND AFTER JUST TWO MONTHS, I HAVE TO MOVE OUT. IS THERE SOME LEGAL RIGHTS THAT I HAVE TO RECOUPE SOME OF MY MOVING EXPENSES AND DEPOSIT?

STORIES

LegalLEARN

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS