Foreclosure Assistance Attorneys in McAllen, Texas
Owning your home is part and parcel of the American dream. However, if you find yourself falling behind on your mortgage payments, your home ownership can become a nightmare. It can be filled with anxiety, anger, and fear.
All it takes is one event—or a combination of them—to find yourself on the brink of foreclosure. A lost job, a serious health condition or accident, or a paycheck that cannot keep pace with inflation may put you at risk of losing your home. However, there are steps you can take to hold onto your home or suffer no further financial harm.
At Oliva Law, we work with clients facing foreclosure in McAllen, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Brownsville, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The best way to lower the stress of possible foreclosure is to understand your options. We are here to help you explore them.
What Leads to Foreclosure?
If you have failed to make certain payments on your home, you are in default. Default may lead to foreclosure.
You default if you have gotten behind on your mortgage payments, if you have failed to maintain lender-required property insurance that protects their investment, or if you fail to pay the property taxes you owe. These obligations are all part of homeownership. If you fail to abide by them, you may face foreclosure.
What Is the Foreclosure
Process in Texas?
Foreclosure does not happen if you miss a single mortgage payment or fail to pay your property taxes. There is, instead, a process that must be followed by lenders and governmental taxing entities which they can pursue if you become too far in arrears.
First, a lender is required to notify you not only of past-due payments and any related fees but also about your options to avoid foreclosure. These options may include a repayment plan for the arrearage, a modification of the terms of the mortgage, or a forbearance period the lender agrees to provide to allow you time to catch up. The lender must first notify you 36 days after the first missed payment and every 3 days thereafter. At least 45 days after the missed payment, the lender must provide assistance with mitigation options.
The actions occur during the “pre-foreclosure” period because you have at least 120 days from the missed payment to correct, mitigate, or cure the default by bringing your payments current. Moreover, you have the option of filing for bankruptcy, which stays any further action by the lender for the duration of your case.
Most bankruptcies in Texas are non-judicial, meaning the lender does not take you to court. Instead, the property may be sold and ownership transferred. If the property sells for less than you owe, the lender may pursue a judgment against you for the shortfall. If it sells for more than you owe, you may receive the overage.
The process is designed to give you time to explore your options, pursue those you can, and make the decisions necessary to vacate the property if it is foreclosed upon. Although the lender is required to advise you of mitigation measures, it is crucial to work with a bankruptcy attorney. At Olive Law Bankruptcy, we help clients like you fully understand every viable option you have so you can make the best decision for your situation.
What Are My Legal Rights
and Options in Foreclosure?
Most lenders will pursue a non-judicial foreclosure to save time and money; however, you have the right to file a wrongful foreclosure action against the lender if you can prove they lack a valid lien or they have failed to adhere to the non-judicial process required by law. This can be risky to try alone. If you do not prevail in court, you may end up also paying the expenses incurred by the lender to defend itself.
You could request lender approval of a short sale. You will attempt to sell the house to a buyer to repay the lender. There’s nothing ‘short’ about this process—it takes a long time, and if you come up short on the sale price, you still have to pay the lender what you owe.
You may be able to avoid foreclosure by offering the lender the deed in lieu of foreclosure. You would have to convince the lender to accept the deed to the property and release you from all other financial obligations in exchange. Lenders are usually lukewarm to this option because they end up owning the property and must invest the time and money into selling it. If having the deed means paying tax arrearages or other lienholders, you have little chance of convincing your lender to take this route.
Bankruptcy is often the best option for those facing foreclosure. You can file quickly if necessary to halt the sale of your property on the courthouse steps. The bankruptcy court will issue a stay immediately upon filing your case. Lenders often respond to the stay order by filing a motion for relief, asking the court to approve forcing you to continue to make mortgage payments. Nonetheless, that process takes time and may give a welcome reprieve.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will lose your home, but you will be released from any debt you owe on it. If you can manage a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and restructure your debt to make it affordable, you may be able to keep your home
Foreclosure Assistance Attorneys Serving McAllen, Texas
Foreclosure is a frightening and devastating proposition. You shouldn’t give up—you do have options when facing foreclosure. We have stood side by side with clients in McAllen, Texas, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley who found themselves right where you are now. Call Oliva Law now to schedule a one-on-one consultation.