WHEN IS IT TOO LATE TO SAVE YOUR HOME FROM FORECLOSURE?

You have received a foreclosure summons and complaint.

You may have filed an answer on your own behalf or with the help of an attorney and the Superior Court’s Office of Foreclosure has called your answer ‘non-contesting’

You may have tried to get a mortgage modification with the help of the New Jersey Foreclosure Mediation Program, or by dealing with your mortgage lender or servicer, or with the help of ‘someone else’. That ‘someone else’ may be a company who has sold you their help in trying to get you a mortgage modification.

You may be exhausted from sending the bank the same paperwork over and over again only to have your request for a modification of your mortgage down to an affordable payment so you can continue to live in your home.

None of these efforts have worked.

The Bank or mortgage servicing company suing you as the foreclosure plaintiff now has a final foreclosure judgment.

You get a letter handed or mailed to you by the County Sheriff’s Officer. The letter contains a writ of execution and a Notice of Foreclosure sale for your home or condo. The sheriff’s notice of Sheriff’s Sale sets a date, time and place for the sheriff to auction off your home. Depending on the County, the date set for the sale is 60 or 90 days after the notice has been received.

The time to hire a lawyer familiar with foreclosure and bankruptcy is NOW! Do not let any more time go by. Once a foreclosure sale is held and the sheriff’s gavel hits the table, you no longer own your home. It’s simply a matter of the county sheriff processing the remaining paperwork before you are required to leave your home. You will get a visit from the bank or buyer’s representative asking about your plans to go. Sometimes you may be offered a small sum of ‘move out’ money if you leave quickly and do not damage what used to be your home.

Bankruptcy can stop foreclosure at least temporarily and, perhaps permanently, if you can successfully complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan while making regular mortgage payments.

The Chapter 13 sections of the Bankruptcy Code say that you can try to save your home by filing a Chapter 13 case  BEFORE the sale of your home. Here is what the law says about curing a ‘default’ (missed payments) in your mortgage:

a default with respect to, or that gave rise to, a lien on the debtor’s principal residence may be cured under paragraph (3) or (5) of subsection (b) until such residence is sold at a foreclosure sale that is conducted in accordance with applicable nonbankruptcy law;

If you have received a foreclosure notice and have not already taken action to hire an experienced bankruptcy or foreclosure lawyer, you should do so well before the foreclosure sale date.