WARNING: You Could Owe Money to the Bank Even After You've Been Kicked Out of Your Home
Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC
When the bank evicts your family and sells your home in a foreclosure sale, you might think your problems are over.
Far from it.
In fact, if you aren’t careful, you could end up owing money to your mortgage lender even after a foreclosure. Here’s why:
A house foreclosure allows the bank to seize your home, turn you and your family onto the street, and sell your home at a foreclosure sale. However, if the bank or creditor doesn’t get enough money at the sale to cover the balance of your mortgage, then the bank can get a judgment against you. This �deficiency judgment� makes up the difference between the money the bank receives from the foreclosure sale and the amount of money you owed on the mortgage before foreclosure, plus all costs and attorneys fees.
You end up making payments both to the lender who evicted you from your home and to your new landlord, where you and your family live after the eviction. You will no longer own your home and you will have incurred major additional expenses and more debt, all because you could not avoid foreclosure and didn’t consult with a lawyer experienced in foreclosures and bankruptcies.
So, how do you prevent this costly problem?
After the lender files a foreclosure action, you simply hire a qualified lawyer and file bankruptcy. Then, after the bankruptcy court discharges your debts, you will not owe any money to your previous lender, regardless of how much money the bank makes or loses on the sale of your previous home.
Here are the steps in a home foreclosure:
Step #1: You are served with the foreclosure lawsuit.
Step #2: You should hire a bankruptcy lawyer.
Step #3: Take your foreclosure paperwork and all of mortgage documents to your lawyer’s office.
Step #4: On your behalf, your bankruptcy lawyer files an answer to the foreclosure lawsuit. In the answer, your lawyer includes any legal claims you have against the mortgage lender.
Step #5: Your lawyer and the mortgage lender take part in �discovery.� This is where each party asks questions of the other party, takes depositions, and requests documentation relating to your home loan. This usually takes a great deal of time, which often allows you and your family to live in your home for as long as a year or more.
Step #6: Your lawyer should contact the lender’s attorney in hopes of reaching a compromise, loan modification, interest reduction, or some other type of agreement that will allow you to stay in your home.
Step #7: If your lawyer and the lender’s attorney do not reach an agreement, then your lawyer will discuss with you the benefits of filing a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy helps you in two important ways:
First, it buys you time. After filing bankruptcy, you may have several months to a few years to work on a compromise with the mortgage lender.
Second, it stops all creditors, including the lender, from trying to collect money from you until your bankruptcy is discharged by the court.
Warning: Make sure you don’t walk away from your home thinking everything will be fine. It won’t be. The lender can sue you for the amount of money you owe on the mortgage.
The easiest way to stop the lender in its tracks is to file bankruptcy. Then you have both your bankruptcy lawyer and the federal law working for you. No lender wants to go up against a bankruptcy lawyer and federal court. If lenders pursue this action, all they do is waste their time and money. And they know this.
You have much more power than you might imagine.
Federal law and the bankruptcy courts can work in your favor. After you receive the notice of foreclosure, you simply hire a qualified, experienced bankruptcy lawyer to act on your behalf. You won’t necessarily make the foreclosure go away; however, you will level the playing field and allow you and your lawyer time to work out a compromise with the lender.
If your lawyer cannot reach an agreement with the lender, then you’ll still need to find a new place to live. Even so, the bankruptcy gives you and your family the opportunity to live in the home for many months after the foreclosure would have taken effect.
Bottom Line: Speak with a bankruptcy lawyer sooner rather than later. You probably have more options than you realize. And having a bankruptcy attorney on your side gives you more control over your family’s future. If you are facing foreclosure in Illinois, Chicago bankruptcy lawyer Richard Fonfrias will be happy to discuss with you all your options. Richard has many years of experience helping clients overcome serious financial problems including bankrupt, foreclosure, debt consolidation and credit repair.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
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Founder & Managing Partner
All Correspondence: FONFRIAS LAW GROUP, LLC
125 South Wacker Drive – Suite 300, Chicago, Illinois 60606
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