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Lake County commercial real estate attorneysBy now, virtually every person in the United States has been affected in at least some way by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Here in Illinois, businesses that are considered non-essential have been closed for several weeks, and millions of people are staying home in compliance with the “shelter-in-place” order issued by Governor J.B. Pritzker last week.

There is no question that this public health crisis is already having a significant financial effect on the businesses and business owners who were forced to close. However, there is a specific group of people who have seemingly gone overlooked in news stories and reports. Many commercial landlords—or those who lease space to businesses—are facing a possible economic disaster of their own as they try to figure out their options during this unprecedented series of events.

Federal Foreclosure and Eviction Freeze Only Affects Residential Properties

On March 21, the federal government announced that it was instituting a freeze on all foreclosure and eviction proceedings. A number of federal agencies were affected by the announcement, but all of them are agencies focused on residential matters. The freeze on evictions and foreclosures was obviously good news for those who have not been able to work since the outbreak reached pandemic levels, but the government’s announcement did not directly affect commercial property owners.

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Lake County foreclosure attorneysAs efforts continue to halt the spread of the coronavirus, millions of Americans have been prevented from going to work as usual. Some are able to work from home and maintain at least some level of income, but many more do not have the opportunity or ability to do so. This means that in addition to the fears associated with contracting the virus itself, many families also fear the reality of not being able to pay their bills. To address such fears, President Trump issued an order this past weekend that effectively halts foreclosure and eviction proceedings for a large number of American families.

Freezes and Forbearance Options

On Saturday, March 21, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson announced that the president ordered the “immediate cessations” of evictions and foreclosures. The order was intended to help the millions of Americans who might soon be struggling to make their rent and mortgage payments.

As a part of the order, several federal agencies said they were freezing foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days. These agencies include the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition, the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, more commonly known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, respectively, have instituted moratoriums on foreclosures, as well as forbearance options for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lake County foreclosure defense attorneysFor most people, it is not very hard to imagine a scenario in which they cannot afford to pay all of their bills. Maybe it starts with a missed auto loan payment or a monthly credit card payment, but all too quickly, a person is so far behind that it catching everything up might be impossible—especially catching everything up at the same time. In many cases like this, the person’s best option may be to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If your mortgage is one of the obligations on which you have fallen behind, you probably realize that your lender may soon have the right to foreclose on your home. In fact, depending on the circumstances, you might have already received notice that foreclosure proceedings have begun. Once foreclosure proceedings begin, you might be inclined to simply stop paying your mortgage, but if you have filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, doing so could cause you more problems than it solves—especially if you hope to keep your home.

Automatic Stay in Bankruptcy

When you file for protection under Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the court will automatically issue a stay on all debt collection activities—including efforts by your lender to collect your delinquent payments. The automatic stay also stops foreclosure proceedings. Your lender, however, can request permission from the court to continue the foreclosure. The court has the discretion to grant the lender’s request, but certain circumstances will make the court more likely to approve allowing the foreclosure to continue.

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Posted on in Real Estate

Lake County real estate attorneysThere are countless reasons that you might wish to sell your home. Maybe you are moving to a new city, or maybe you have just had your offer accepted on a new home in a different part of Northern Illinois. You might also need to sell your house due to the circumstances surrounding your divorce. In many divorce cases, selling the marital home is part of the equitable division of marital property that is required under Illinois law. If you are selling your home due to a divorce, a qualified real estate attorney can help you do so while avoiding potentially costly mistakes.

Take Your Time

If you are like most people, you want the divorce process to be completed as quickly as possible while protecting your rights and best interests. Rushing the sale of your home, however, could cause problems. Selling a home involves many steps, and you will have a number of responsibilities before and during the transaction, and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will probably need to be involved as well. With the help of your attorney and your real estate broker, you should compile a checklist that includes everything that needs to be done, including but not limited to:

  • Arranging an appraisal
  • Inspection considerations
  • Necessary repairs
  • Listing the property
  • Scheduling open houses and other viewing appointments
  • Vetting offers from prospective buyers
  • Preparing and reviewing the transaction documents

Be patient, and only check things off once they completed to the satisfaction of everyone involved—especially your attorney.

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Libertyville foreclosure defense attorneysThere is no question that it can be extremely scary to face an imminent foreclosure. If you are substantially behind on your mortgage, you probably know that foreclosure is a possibility, but things will get all too real when you receive notice that your lender has initiated foreclosure proceedings. Unfortunately, the seriousness of the situation leads many homeowners to become overwhelmed—which often leads to avoidable mistakes. A qualified foreclosure defense lawyer can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes and protect your family’s future.

Mistake #1: Ignoring Notices

Perhaps the biggest mistake that you could make if you are delinquent on your mortgage is to ignore attempts at communication by your lender. Your lender will most likely call and send notices in the mail as soon as you miss a single payment. You might be embarrassed by your situation, but avoiding communication will not get you anywhere. There is a good chance your lender has options available for rehabilitating your loan or other avenues to help you avoid foreclosure altogether.

Mistake #2: Giving Up Immediately

Many homeowners believe that once their lender initiates foreclosure proceedings, they will automatically forfeit their home. This is simply not true. In Illinois, all foreclosures are handled through the court system, which can be notoriously slow. In the meantime, you and your attorney can continue negotiating with your lender to resolve the situation. You might not have as many options as you did before the lender filed, but you will have still have the chance to work things out and keep your home.

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