If you’ve gotten a foreclosure notice of default and want to know what the heck is going on, keep reading.
Basically, a foreclosure notice of default is a document that has to be filed by a lender to start the process of foreclosure provided the home and mortgage are located in what is referred to as a judiciary foreclosure state. Massachusetts is such a state, however, most mortgages in MA have a provision that allows the lender to proceed with a non-judicial foreclosure that doesn’t require a court’s involvement.
A lender in MA must communicate with you if you miss payments and attempt to work out a payment deferment or other payment option rather than foreclosure. These agreements are often referred to as a forbearance agreement. The lender also could make modifications to your original mortgage to lower the monthly payment or interest rate to make it easier for you to make you payment.
Lenders often will file a complaint (lawsuit) called a “servicemembers case,” which asks a court to determine whether you’re entitled to protections under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA prohibits a foreclosure against a service member during active military service and for some time afterward. You’ll get a copy of the complaint, and you may file an answer stating that you meet the requirements of the act which would stop the foreclosure and provide additional options.
Getting a court declaration about the borrower’s military status isn’t a required step in a Massachusetts nonjudicial foreclosure. But by taking this step, the lender protects itself against a later claim that the foreclosure was invalid because of an SCRA violation.
The SCRA notice must be sent to anyone who has an interest in the property.
Eventually the lender will proceed with an auction to recover the property from you. The foreclosure notice of auction must be mailed to you at your last known address, published in a local newspaper and physically posted in a prominent place on the property itself.
The auction generally will take place approximately three weeks after such notice. If you are still living in the property, once the lender (or another buyer who buys the property at auction) takes title they will have the option of evicting you.
Back before US law required a notice of default, people were sometimes foreclosed on without any warning.
In fact, it’s happened even in the past few years – at least one bank has accidentally foreclosed on the wrong property and kicked people out of their house without due process or warning.
If you’ve received a notice of default or any other default notification or correspondence from your lender…..don’t wait. Time is definitely of the essence, and you should take action.
Here are a few key steps you should take:
1) Stay calm and don’t panic.
This may sound obvious, but it’s probably the most important. Anyone in foreclosure is dealing with a lot of stress beyond just the property. These situations don’t happen overnight, and they take a while to solve. You’ll get through it by practicing good coping techniques and taking good care of yourself and your family. Panic leads to bad decisions, so stay cool.
2) Educate yourself.
Learn everything you can about the foreclosure process in Massachusetts so that you know what’s happening and what’s coming up next.
3) Gather your resources.
There’s also many non-profit and government resources available out there. You’ll want good legal and tax advice along the way. Definitely don’t try to do it all yourself. This stuff is super complicated with lots of rules.
4) Learn your options.
We’re here to help you avoid foreclosure. We buy houses with cash. We can take over your mortgage and mortgage payments relieving you of that obligation immediately (Learn more about our Mortgage Payment Relief Program for MA Homeowners). We can help you with short sales and even rent-back situations so you (potentially) may be able to keep living in your home. There are many more options than you think.
The banks involved don’t want your property. They want money, and what you say matters a lot. You can slow down or stop the foreclosure process if you take the appropriate action.
Want to know more?