If you are worried about losing your home to foreclosure and are getting behind on your mortgage payments, there are some financially strategic things you can do to save your home.
It's best to learn about the foreclosure laws in our state and understand the well-documented case law. You should probably immediately seek the professional advice of a bankruptcy attorney who has dealt with such issues if you want to prevent foreclosure.
Foreclosure and Bankruptcy – What Every Person Facing Foreclosure Should Know
Did you know that once you file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in California, the bank cannot do a foreclosure sale during the proceeding which takes about 3-4 months?
The lender can petition the judge to bypass that general rule and foreclose early or ask for a foreclosure sale, but it's rarely ever granted without extenuating circumstances.
In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will have to keep up on your mortgage payments and/or make a deal with your lender, otherwise, the lender can ask the judge to foreclose anyway.
Depending on your relationship with your lender and your good faith, the judge sometimes allows this. Again, it's best to ask your bankruptcy attorney what to do and how to do it in order to have the best chances of keeping your home when it is over.
Can You Stay in Your Home After Foreclosure in California?
It turns out that you can stay in your home after foreclosure and up to the final sale, although that would be cutting it close.
Generally speaking, after a foreclosure it takes anywhere from 2 months to a year for the actual sale to occur. This is the case for both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures.
In fact, in California, there is a terrible problem where the family that once lived in the home before foreclosure leaves as requested, but then a new party, a homeless squatter, moves in and stays in the home until it is sold, often until the new owners try to move in.
Sometimes the new owners have to go and get an eviction notice, which also takes time. It's an interesting world we live in but that's what's happening here in California.
In Ventura County, there has been a whole slew of cases where this has happened. Squatters learn about the loopholes in the law on the Internet, often watching YouTube Videos. Some of the advice is garbage, some are valid.
Either way, it is causing a problem in neighborhoods around the Ventura County area and nearby adjacent neighborhoods that are in Los Angeles County.
Can You Buy a New Home After You File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
The answer to this question might shock you. After all, people assume that filing for bankruptcy is the kiss of death, and their credit will be shot forever or at least a decade.
Not so. Indeed, 24-months after the date your bankruptcy is completed you will be able to qualify for a home loan and mortgage providing you have adequate income at that time to service the loan payments.
For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the situation is similar, but there are other things you need to know and you should contact a bankruptcy attorney in your area who specializes in these venues for all the correct details.
What Can I Keep from My Home If the Bank Forecloses?
This is a very important question and if you get it wrong you could find yourself in jail for grand theft. You cannot take solar panels, hot water heaters, or any built-in appliances.
Don't attempt to take garbage disposals, trash compactors, built-in ranges, dishwashers, or air-conditioning systems. You cannot take burglar alarms, smoke detectors, or smart house systems that are built into the home as an integrated system.
You may take televisions, refrigerators, and washers, and dryers. Also, you cannot take an outdoor patio system that is anchored to the house on one or more sides or on top.
Basically, the law reads that you cannot take anything affixed to the building or land.
Again, take these rules seriously, and if you have any questions, ask your bankruptcy attorney. If you have to go and you've exhausted all other avenues, do it right.
You don't want to begin your fresh start with a new criminal conviction – that doesn't look good on any resume.
There Are Ways to Prevent Foreclosure in California
The easiest way is by asking your lender for a loan modification. The bank doesn't want to take back your home, they just want to get paid.
Thus, it is in their best interest to work out a favorable deal that will have you back making payments until that mortgage is paid in full.
Sometimes lenders won't move an inch on the first request, but when an attorney contacts them on your behalf, it's amazing what you can negotiate.
If you pay off your mortgage the lender cannot foreclose obviously, which is one more option. Get a loan from another source and pay off the mortgage.
You can also sell your home in a short sale, or for the amount left on the mortgage. Although you won't get any equity back, your credit will be great having paid it off.
After the housing crash of 2008 many servicers made errors in the paperwork. The court no longer takes their word over the borrower. If they made a serious mistake, your attorney will now be in a very favorable position to negotiate for you.
At least, your bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney will have the lender start the process all over again, and at best, might save you 10s of thousands of dollars and a truly stellar renegotiated mortgage rate and terms. Be sure to learn all the facts.