No American is immune to financial troubles – one day, you are excited about taking steps towards owning a home, and years later, you are struggling to keep up with the payments. A typical foreclosure takes approximately two months to complete. And in this period, you can explore options to save your residential property.
Note that Tennessee allows non-judicial foreclosure, which means that the lender can sell your house without filing a lawsuit against you. However, family law attorneys in Kingston can help you sue the lender for attempted wrongful foreclosure and preserve your rights.
What Steps Can I Take Towards Foreclosure Prevention?
If you are behind your mortgage payments, you do not want to be caught off guard. You will want to understand what happens from the moment you miss your first payment to the day of foreclosure. This ensures that you go through the process with as little anxiety as possible and do what it takes to save your home.
Communicate with the Lender
Avoid waiting passively for the lender to contact you. Instead, talk to them first and communicate your financial troubles. Most lenders would be willing to provide options when you are struggling to make mortgage payments.
Keep Adequate Records
It is imperative to record any form of communication between you and the lender. If you make a phone call, ensure that you write down the explicit details of the phone conversation, the date and time of the call, and the name of the representative you speak to. Remember also to keep records of the delivery confirmation from the mail service and a copy of the letter.
Explore All Possible Options
Apart from trying to reach out to the lender, consider exploring other resources available to you.
- The TN Housing Development Agency (THDA) website. It is an excellent resource for both existing homeowners and first-time homebuyers in Tennessee. You can get helpful information regarding homeownership, foreclosure, and exceptional programs that can help you.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website. Here, you can find basic information on how to prevent a foreclosure.
What Are My Rights as a Mortgage Property Owner?
The state and federal laws regulating foreclosure procedures and mortgage servicers were minimal before the 2010 foreclosure crisis. And the regulations that existed at the time significantly favored the foreclosing lenders.
Currently, the foreclosure procedures are highly regulated, and the law seeks to protect borrowers more than it did before. Mortgage servicers must strictly follow the foreclosure laws, account for each foreclosure step, and give borrowers opportunities for loss mitigation.
In addition to the state and federal legal protections, borrowers can enjoy some contractual rights. The deed of trust and the promissory note signed while taking a loan to purchase residential property gives you the right to:
- A pre-foreclosure breach letter
- To apply for loss mitigation
- To receive a foreclosure notice
- Get current on your loan and stop a foreclosure sale
- Receive special protection if you are in the military
- Pay off the loan to prevent the sale
- File for bankruptcy
- Get any excess money after the foreclosure sale
Can a Loan Modification Help Salvage a Foreclosure Situation?
Loan modification involves permanently altering the terms of your loan repayment and reducing the burden on you. And this can be done to one or more of your mortgages and save your property from foreclosure. The possible changes include:
- Lowering the loan principal
- Extending the life of the loan
- Lowering the interest rate
Loan modification programs require you and the lender to negotiate these terms, and the presence of Tennessee real estate attorneys can be of great help. This is a powerful tool in home affordability, and with proper expert guidance, you won’t go wrong.
What Fees Can the Lender Charge in the Pre-foreclosure Period?
Most loans give a grace period of between 10-15 days after missing the first payment to start charging a late fee. Tennessee real estate attorneys can look into the promissory note you signed for the loan and tell you the loan’s grace period and the late charge amount. You can also find the information in the monthly mortgage statement.
Notably, some deeds allow the lender to protect his/her interests in the property once the loan goes into default. This includes inspections to ensure that the home is adequately maintained and occupied, which can cost $15 or $10. They can also charge a fee for preserving the property, for instance, winterizing an abandoned home or yard maintenance. You may also pay for appraisals, including a broker’s price opinion.
How Can an Attorney Help When I’m Struggling to Make Mortgage Payments?
While many homes have been foreclosed, this doesn’t have to be your fate when you work with a skilled Tennessee real estate attorney. Your attorney can help you address your unique situation and assist in finding a viable solution. A legal expert can help you:
- Come up with a realistic budget
- Initiate a mortgage review, refinance, or loan modification
- Prevent fees from incurring from late mortgage payments
- Stop foreclosures from taking place
- Access community resources
- With information on your rights if you receive a sale notice from the Sheriff’s office
Your list of options is usually more diverse if you take action early. For example, you can take advantage of the many government programs helping Tennessee residents save their homes.
Family Law Attorneys Protecting your Family’s Property and Assets
Borrowers enjoy an abundance of rights in Tennessee, and a lender cannot wake up one day and decide to sell your property for missed payments. There is a process that must be followed to the latter. But if you don’t have a legal expert defending your rights, you can easily be shortchanged and lose your hard-earned assets.
Reach out to a real estate lawyer in Kingston, TN, as soon as you experience strain in your finances. This way, you’d be better positioned to protect your family’s home and investment from repossession.
Call (865) 354-3333 to get started!