You watched your 401(k), IRA, and home values plummet over the past three years. You tightened you belt and managed to make ends almost meet. A sluggish South Carolina economy recently cost you your job. You have been forced to choose between clothing and feeding the children and paying the mortgage.
Now a couple of letters from the mortgage company, including one with an ominous looking green card attached, lie unopened on the kitchen counter. A knock comes at the door and a stranger shoves a handful of papers into your hand and walks away. You’ve been served, and your lender owns your home. Or does it?
Be assured that as soon as your home loan closed, you became the true owner of the home. It’s your property, not the lender’s. The lender filed what is called a foreclosure action. This doesn’t give the lender ownership of your home, but is an action to recover the money it loaned you when you bought the home. The lender wants to sell the home for at least an amount to cover the balance owed on the loan, plus costs of the foreclosure action. While you may lose your home eventually, the lender must take specific steps and follow specific rules before it can legally sell your home.
As an American citizen, you have certain guaranteed rights. No one can take your property without following a certain legal procedures. These procedures are set out in United States and South Carolina law and must be followed carefully.
So what should you do now?
First, DO NOT just roll over and give up. Remember that it is important to always act in good faith when dealing with the lender, even if they don’t. No matter how far behind in the payments you are, respond to your mail. Keep copies of all letters between you and the lender. Call the lender. Keep notes of when you called, what number you called, who you talked to and what was discussed. Try to work out a revised payment or a deferred payment plan. If you can prove later that you attempted to pay some amount, even if it is less than the normal payment, it might help your case.
Second, CALL AN ATTORNEY. A trained eye can review the loan records and pick out any errors which would be offered in defense of the foreclosure. At least, the foreclosure might be delayed or perhaps defeated. If you’re sued for foreclosure, remember this: You have a right to your day in court.