Tips for New York Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Nyack, NY Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Lawyer

Foreclosure: it can be a terrifying word. It means you are behind with your mortgage payments to the point of being at risk for losing your home.

If you find yourself facing foreclosure, don’t panic. There are ways to move past this hurdle and stay in your home. In New York, the foreclosure process is fairly complex and takes about 15 months to complete. This gives you more than a year from the day you receive your notice of the foreclosure lawsuit to consult a foreclosure attorney, develop a payment plan and a strong case for your home, and potentially file for bankruptcy if you are eligible to do so.

New York foreclosures are required by law to be judicial foreclosures, which means that they can only be initiated when the lender files a lawsuit against a borrower to foreclose on a property. In a judicial foreclosure, a homeowner may go to court to argue his or her legal defenses against the foreclosure.

What is Judicial Foreclosure?

A judicial foreclosure is the court process that is put into action when a lender files a lawsuit against a borrower who has been negligent in making his or her mortgage loan payments. All parties involved with the lawsuit must be notified of the foreclosure.

In a judicial foreclosure, the mortgaged property is sold under court supervision and its proceeds go to satisfying the mortgage and other lien holders. If any money is left after these payments, it may go to the borrower.

If You Are Facing Foreclosure

If you are facing foreclosure in New York, all hope is not lost. There are ways you can protect yourself and your home:

  • Beware of mortgage scams. Mortgage scams come in all different forms, but all have the same goal: to extract money from suffering homeowners under the guise of a helping hand. Often, scammers pose as legitimate creditors who, for a fee, can help you refinance your home. Others offer to purchase homes from owners facing foreclosure and rent the house back to them, offering a “rent to own” opportunity. Usually, this type of scam ends with the buyer selling the house for much more than its original owner accepted, resulting in a high profit and a displaced homeowner. Be on the lookout for phrases like “Stop foreclosure now!” and claims of knowledge of special loopholes or relationship with banks in ads claiming to offer foreclosure relief. Remember, if a claim sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Continue maintaining your home. This means keep up on your payments if you can, continue to mow the lawn and maintain the landscape, and fix any damage that occurs to the house. It is in your best interest to keep your home’s value as high as you can because if there is money left from the home’s sale, you may be entitled to receive it. In addition to this possible money, you could face civil charges for allowing your home to fall into disrepair, effectively causing you to owe the lender more money.
  • Seek reputable foreclosure help. A foreclosure attorney can help you work out your mortgage documents and find ways to keep your home. You might be eligible for one of the government programs in place to help New York homeowners modify their loan payments and stay out of foreclosure.

Bankruptcy and Foreclosure

As an individual with considerable personal debt, you may file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you are unable to meet your debts. Both of these options have their consequences for your credit and finances, but they can help you delay and possibly stop your foreclosure.

When you file for bankruptcy, the court issues you an Order for Relief, which requires your creditors to stop contacting you with their collection attempts until the bankruptcy is finalized. This process can take a few months. The suppression of contact that comes from an Order of Relief is known as an automatic stay. Unless your mortgage lender files a motion to lift the stay, filing for bankruptcy can actually help you with the foreclosure process by giving you more time to organize your loan documents and work with a bankruptcy attorney to set up a manageable plan to repay your debt.

Rockland County Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Lawyer

If you are facing a foreclosure in New York State and want to learn more about your rights and obligations, contact a Nyack bankruptcy and foreclosure defense attorney at the Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C. at 845-358-7100 today for your free legal consultation. As one of Rockland County’s premier bankruptcy attorneys, Robert S. Lewis puts his clients and their needs first. Don’t wait to make the call–when you are facing foreclosure, act in advance and always be on top of your deadlines. Robert S. Lewis can help you work through this process and meet those deadlines.