Foreclosure actions across the nation are on the decline according to RealtyTrac, an organization that publishes a monthly market report of foreclosure statistics in the U.S. In 2009, foreclosures comprised nearly half of residential sales across the nation. Now, foreclosure-related sales compiled from the first quarter of 2013 number less than a fourth of all residential sales.
While figures for Pennsylvania and New Jersey are less than the national average, thousands of residents in these states are still losing their homes to foreclosure.
Many homeowners in New Jersey and Pennsylvania believe their options are limited once they start missing monthly payments. Thinking they can only file for bankruptcy, sell by short sale or walk away from their beloved home, they give up. However, stalling or stopping a foreclosure action may be possible, thus allowing a property owner to find another solution.
Use of a variety of tactics may help you keep your home during or after tough financial times. These options can include:
- Selling by short sale
- Negotiating a mortgage principle reduction
- Giving a deed in lieu of foreclosure
- Mortgage modification
Defending a foreclosure action
However, for some, these options are not viable or they are only able to stall the foreclosure action. Fortunately, a number of foreclosure defense options may be available to you - as you work in conjunction with a foreclosure defense lawyer - to keep you from losing your home.
- Faulty assignment by the mortgage lender: When the original mortgage lender sells or assigns your mortgage, the lender must follow a precise procedure. Sometimes this procedure is not performed correctly and the bank seeking the foreclosure does not have the right to do so.
- Fraudulent and predatory actions: The media has revealed years of fraudulent and predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. An entire body of law exists to protect homeowners from unfair debt collection actions. These laws may make it possible to throw out a foreclosure action, allowing you to keep your home.
- Military status: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides special protections from foreclosure to active military members. Among other rights, if a foreclosure action starts while you are on active duty, you have the right to an automatic postponement, provided you submit the proper paperwork.
- Lender lacks standing to file suit: Whether due to a faulty assignment, fraudulent actions, predatory lending practices or military status, if the holder of your mortgage note lacks the right to file a foreclosure action, it lacks "standing" and cannot proceed against you in a court of law.
A lawyer can help
If you are at risk of losing your home to foreclosure, consult an experienced foreclosure defense attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about defending homeowners from wrongful actions by mortgage lenders can help.