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Foreclosure FAQs


What is a mortgage foreclosure?
A mortgage is a written agreement between a mortgage company and home buyers.The mortgage makes your house collateral for you home loan.Collateral is security for the loan, so if you do not pay your mortgage they can try and take your home. This process is called a mortgage foreclosure. In a foreclosure lawsuit, the mortgage company is the plaintiff and you are the defendant. If the court rules against you, your house can be sold at public auction. The money from the sale is used to pay off your loan.
What should I do if I am served with a mortgage foreclosure summons?
If you are served with a Summons and Complaint from the court, do not hide it or throw it away. DO NOT MOVE FROM YOUR HOME. Foreclosure proceedings take several months to finish and you may have options to save your home. Only the judge can order you to move out of your home. If you are served with a foreclosure summons it means that your mortgage company has started a lawsuit to take your home. To protect your rights, you must file an Appearance and an Answer within 30 days of getting the summons. If you do not file an Answer, the judge will order a foreclosure against you and you will lose your home. You should attend all future court dates in order to know what is going on in your case. These proceedings can be timely and become very complicated. You should speak with an attorney for advice about what your legal options are.
Will I be able to win the mortgage foreclosure lawsuit?
It can be very difficult to win this type of case. By defending the foreclosure, you may be able to make the process last much longer. This can be very costly if you have to hire an attorney. You may want to call the Legal Services Hotline to see if you qualify for free legal aid.
What happens if the mortgage company gets a judgement against me?
A judgement against you means that you owe the mortgage company the amount of the loan and allows the lender to sell your home in order to satisfy the debt. However, there is a waiting period for you to exercise your right to redeem or reinstate your loan before the lender can proceed with the foreclosure sale.
I am getting letters and phone calls offering help with my foreclosure problems. Can these people really help me?
After a foreclosure is filed, you may receive many letters and phone calls offering to "help" you avoid foreclosure. BEWARE! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not sign a deed to your house without checking with a lawyer. Do not sign any papers you do not understand. Check with an attorney or your mortgage company before entering into any deals with 3rd parties involving your home.For further information read the "Foreclosure Trade Commission" article found under the "Client Legal Education Materials" tab.
Last Review and Update: Jun 22, 2009
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