Resolving NJ Mortgage or Tax Foreclosure Actions
Speaking with the Mortgage Company prior to or after the foreclosure action:
Do the following comments sound familiar?
- The mortgage company’s representative’s are unwilling to help.
- The representative lost the documents that you forwarded to their office.
- Every subsequent conversation, requires you to start from square one, because the prior individual failed to make notes.
- A belief that the matter was resolved by agreement, until the company sent back your payment or sent a letter advising that they are proceeding with the foreclosure.
Initially, the foreclosure complaint is filed with the court. Within 2 to 3 weeks after the filing, the complaint (law suit papers) are served (handed to someone at your house). At the time of service, you continue to have time to avoid the sheriff’s sale. In New Jersey, it is estimated to take approximately 6 months, from the commencement of the foreclosure process until the property is sold at sheriff’s sale. The following, generally, represent your options to resolve the matter:
- Answer the lawsuit: The Summons, which is the first page of the lawsuit reflects that you have 35 days in which to answer the complaint. Generally, you should file a formal answer if you have a valid defense to the lawsuit. However, most individuals do not have a valid defense.
- Cure the Mortgage Arrears: You may stop the foreclosure action by paying the Reinstatement Figure (total amount of the arrears) prior to the entry of the judgment. Under this scenario, you must pay the total amount of the arrears, which includes all fees and costs, prior to the mortgage company obtaining a judgment. The entry of a judgment is part of the foreclosure process. The mortgage company may stop the foreclosure action if the reinstatement amount is paid after the entry of judgment.
- Pay off the entire loan: You may stop the foreclosure process by paying of the entire loan, prior to the sheriff’s sale.
- Forbearance Agreement: This is a settlement agreement, whereby the mortgage company agrees to stop the foreclosure process in return for your promise to payoff all arrears ( amount which you are behind with your payments) within a specified time period. Generally the mortgage company requires one to bring the arrears current within a six month period. Please note that although this type of agreement has various names, they all generally accomplish the same result.
The mortgage company must agree to this settlement. Prior to the mortgage company entering into this agreement, they require that you provide them with substantial information and documentation. The mortgage company will send you forms to complete, requiring one to provide them with proof of income, list of expenses and assets. They also require that you send to them a “Hardship Letter “, which provides your explanation as to why you fell behind with your payments and why you will be capable of complying with the forbearance agreement.
Beware of the following. Generally, the mortgage company will give you the run around like you have never experienced in your life. The mortgage company will likely lose your paper work on several occasions. Also, please note that the mortgage company will send you a form request to negotiate this agreement, although there may be no chance of them entering into the agreement.
- Mortgage Refinancing: This includes restructuring your present loan or obtaining new financing, whereby you payoff your present loan with a separate loan. Based on the situation, refinancing is likely not a viable option.
- You may have time to sell your property, prior to the sheriff’s sale and avoid filing for bankruptcy protection.
- You may file for bankruptcy protection to allow additional time to sell your house and avoid the sheriff’s sale.
- You may file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, to reinstate the mortgage, and continue to save and live in the house for as long as you wish. Please note that in New Jersey, you must file the bankruptcy action prior to the sheriff’s sale.
- You may file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection to surrender your house and eliminate the deficiency debt, which is the balance due to the mortgage company, after deducting the funds received from the sale of the house at sheriff’s sale.