Whether it is your primary home or an investment property, foreclosure of property can be a truly frightening experience. In New Jersey, foreclosure affects individuals of varying income levels and spans all different socio-economic groups. Foreclosure is happening in every county in New Jersey and has devastated many neighborhoods.
What can you do if your property is the subject of foreclosure? It depends. There are many approaches to dealing with foreclosure but it depends on your specific circumstances – both financial and personal. Many times you must begin with the question “Is the property worth saving?” To answer that question, you should figure out whether your home has any equity. Is the home worth more than the balance due on the mortgages or any other liens on the property? What is the condition of the home and how far behind have you gotten with the mortgage payments? You must also review your personal and financial circumstances to determine if there is even a possibility of saving the home. Was your financial set back a temporary one or is it permanent? Will you have any funds with which to make mortgage payments in the future? Can you continue to afford the real estate taxes and insurance on the property?
Depending on your unique circumstances, you can choose to deal with the mortgage lender directly, whether by applying for a loan modification, requesting a temporary forbearance of the loan or seeking approval for a short sale of your property. You can also deal with the mortgage lender indirectly, by filing a bankruptcy petition and proposing a plan for addressing the mortgage loan in your bankruptcy case. If you file a bankruptcy petition, you will receive the benefit of the “automatic stay”, which means that the foreclosure of your property must be discontinued immediately. The stay of the foreclosure case is mandatory, at least for a temporary time. Another option would be to participate in foreclosure mediation, a program administered by the New Jersey Superior Court system to assist home owners in resolving matters with their mortgage companies.
An experienced attorney can review your particular circumstances and recommend options that are best for you.