Tag Archives: Stop foreclosure

Are short sales worth the risks and is bankruptcy a better option?

 

When bad things happen to good people homes may fall into foreclosure. In too many cases, houses are not worth what the owner owes on the mortgage. This is common with people who bought their homes before the recession when prices were high. If the lender forecloses on the house it will be sold to the highest auction bidder. If the house sells for less than is owed, there may be an opportunity for the lender to sue and collect the deficiency judgment, or balance due after foreclosure. If the market is flooded with foreclosure homes, they could be sold off for significantly less than they would be worth in a healthier economy and real estate market. As foreclosure sales created more financial damage to many, the alternative method of short sales became more popular, giving homeowners an easier way out of their mortgages.

While short sales allow is a sale of your home to a new homebuyer for less money than you owe on your mortgage. If the lender bank agrees to a short sale deal, you may sell the house and be released from the mortgage lien and may go on your way to rent or purchase a more affordable home. While this sounds like a dream come true, there may be a few catches.

Here is a short list of considerations when you have the option to short sell your home:

  1. The lender bank and decision maker on your mortgage has no duty to accept a short sale deal. When you owe the money, you owe the money, plain and simple. The bank may be motivated to do a short sale if the market is flooded with upside down deals and the home is likely to sell under value at auction. Instead of fighting to then also collect the deficiency judgment against you, a lender may be more likely to work with you on a short sale deal, to get the house sold for fair market value.
  2. Even if the bank allows the short sale deal, they may not operate at the speed of business and it may be easier to lose buyers who cannot wait for a slow-moving lender bank. If the lender has a large volume of short sale deals, it may be even more difficult to get things done in a timely manner. Losing buyers and increased aggravation are possible in many short sale deals.
  3. Deficiencies are also possible with short sale deals. Even if you get more money for your house in a short sale, the amount you owe may still leave you short. It is a good idea to have a financial advisor assist you with your options to see what makes the most sense. If the short sale is still going to leave you high and dry, it may be better to proceed with a simpler foreclosure.

Short sales are long and complicated. There are more people involved in the transaction, more tax implications, more chances for something to go wrong. The more complicated the process, the easier it is for people to get frustrated and walk away from a deal.

Why would bankruptcy be a better option?

Depending on a review of your financial situation, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you keep your home and avoid foreclosure. If you know you are badly upside down on your home and want to get out of your mortgage regardless, a bankruptcy can help you wipe out the amount of the deficiency judgment and give you a fresh start.

Depending on what you owe, how much you own and your income, a Chapter 7 full discharge will stop your bill collectors and wipe out all your dischargeable debts. If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy will allow you to pay back a fraction of your debts over a three to five-year period, which may help you stay in your home and avoid making the foreclosure versus short sale decision.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

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The automatic stay: It stops bill collectors in their tracks

Compared to many laws on the books in the U.S., the bankruptcy code sometimes seems like magic. For no other reason than you have a right to apply for it and a desire to wipe out debt, you can petition the bankruptcy court to either eliminate your debts and/or pay them back for pennies on the dollar. The moment you enter the magical world of bankruptcy it my feel like you have stepped into a protective bubble in which the torture of financial stress does not exist. The exterior lining of the bubble might be the automatic stay provision.

When a petition for bankruptcy relief is filed and accepted by the bankruptcy court, the automatic stay provision is effective and remains in place until the bankruptcy is over. As a debtor, you do not have to do anything to use your automatic stay benefit. Rather, all your listed creditors should receive notice sent by your bankruptcy attorney informing them about the bankruptcy and the law prohibiting collection of debts while you are in a bankruptcy case.

The automatic stay provision in the bankruptcy code has the following direct affects:

  • No wage garnishments are allowed. Some people have multiple wage garnishments and creditors in line to garnish wages. When wages are garnished to pay off judgments it can be tough to keep up with the current food, housing and utilities payments. When there is not enough cash flow to live and the situation is based on fixed income, bankruptcy and the automatic stay will allow you to take home your entire salary.
  • The government cannot claw back overpayments of benefits. Public benefit payments are usually recollected through deductions on future benefit checks and through billing the recipient. The automatic stay provision, however, only applies when you are still eligible to receive public benefits.
  • Evictions are stopped in most cases*[i]. If your landlord already has an order of possession to kick you out, the automatic stay is not going to help you. But if there has not been an eviction procedure yet filed, you might be able to use the automatic stay provision to stay in the home for a few days or weeks.
  • Foreclosure proceedings are stopped. Once your bankruptcy is over and the automatic stay is lifted a bank holding a delinquent mortgage over your head may still be able to continue foreclosure proceedings. Many people who want to keep their home use a Chapter 13 bankruptcy when they might not otherwise be able to stay in their home with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Your utilities cannot be disconnected. This is not a permanent bar to disconnect, but the automatic stay will help you keep the phone, gas, water or electric on for at least 20 days.

These are a few of the ways you can take advantage of the bankruptcy code and the automatic stay provision to stop collectors and keep your salary while you go through the process of getting a fresh financial start.

There are several general rules and exceptions to them in bankruptcy. The difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is also significant and it is important to hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney when you want to make the best of your decision to file for bankruptcy.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. To keep in touch and read about consumer finance news and stories you can Like the firm’s Facebook page and Follow Joseph Wrobel. Ltd. on Twitter. If you need immediate legal assistance, please call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. by calling (312) 781-0996 to talk to an attorney today.

[i] *While the automatic stay may be able to stall an eviction, there are certain situations in which you could still be removed from your home and a bankruptcy attorney can best explain what might happen to you based on the facts and circumstances involved.