One of the toughest decisions homeowners will have to make to save their homes is what plan to focus on at any given time. Because each option to stop foreclosure requires different methods of contacting the bank, communicating with their attorneys, and the time frames for completion can be quite different. And the time necessary to implement a last-ditch backup effort also varies widely. This is why homeowners need to be realistic about how long they have to work out a solution.
The least complicated way to save a home would seemingly be working out a repayment plan with the lender. But, most lenders are extremely busy, and their loss mitigation departments more than a little incompetent. Homeowners or mitigation companies may call the contact at the bank a dozen times, leaving voicemails at every opportunity, and simply never receive a call back. After several weeks of this pointlessness, an additional payment has been missed and the likelihood of qualifying for a payment plan drops further.
Similar delays are almost guaranteed to happen if the homeowners are attempting to qualify for a foreclosure refinance. The mortgage broker will have to get updated payoff information, which may take ten business days from the attorneys, and be good only for a few days. This makes closing a mortgage extremely unlikely, as the information regarding the loan is outdated as soon as it is received.
Bankruptcy to stop foreclosure is another commonly-used method, but new laws and state regulations may require more than a few hours or days to file with the court and put the process on hold. Regardless, the fact that the paperwork will be held up in court for several months at the very minimum, while a payment plan is arranged and creditors are informed, will postpone the homeowners’ ability to work out a more permanent solution.
And although some real estate agents will promise to work hard to sell the foreclosed house and get a fair price for it, many local markets are currently unstable or declining. A fair value for the homeowners may mean that they can sell and stop foreclosure entirely, whereas a fair value for a potential buyer means getting a great deal on a home. The real estate agent may have little choice but to present inadequate offers and leave the homeowners with no hope of selling the home before the sheriff sale.
Actual timelines for any method of preventing foreclosure are quite often difficult to predict. The fact that so many parties are involved, whether they be the homeowners, the lender, various attorneys, a mortgage or real estate broker, foreclosure specialists, or the court system, necessarily complicates the entire process. As long as homeowners have realistic expectations of the length and complexity of saving their home, though, they may be able to effect a much smoother foreclosure experience.
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