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Lake County foData shows that approximately one in every 2,453 homes in the United States will be foreclosed on at some point. The problem is even more serious in Illinois, where one in every 1,336 homes will be foreclosed on according to the current foreclosure rate. Having your home foreclosed on can be an absolutely devastating ordeal to endure. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not understand what their rights are when it comes to home foreclosure. They may assume that they “deserve” to lose their home because they have missed mortgage payments. However, mistakes are prevalent in the mortgage servicing industry, and some individuals facing a foreclosure may be the victim of such an error. If you have been threatened with foreclosure, you should know that there are several foreclosure defenses that could  help you keep your home.

Your Mortgage Servicer Made a Serious Error

Although many people do not realize it until it happens to them, mortgage servicers sometimes make huge oversights and errors. If you have been affected by one of the following mistakes, you may have a potential defense against foreclosure:

You were the victim of “dual tracking.” The term  dual tracking refers to a situation in which a mortgage servicer continues to foreclose on an individual’s home while also considering his or her application for a loan modification, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, or other foreclosure avoidance option. Dual tracking used to happen all the time, but federal law now limits the circumstances in which a mortgage servicer can pursue foreclosure while simultaneously negotiating an alternative to foreclosure.


Lake County foreclosure attorneysWhile the housing market has largely recovered from its most recent serious crash, many families still worry about money and how they will afford their mortgage payment every month. In some situations, money is always pretty tight, and in others, a serious accident or illness may upset the family’s financial stability. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, you might have had someone suggest a “strategic default” as an option for you. Before you take any action, however, it is important to know what a strategic default is and what the consequences could be.

What Is a Strategic Default?

A strategic default refers to a situation in which a borrower intentionally allows his or her loan to default. The borrower deliberately falls behind on the loan as a financial strategy, not because he or she could not afford the payments. Strategic defaults are most often used when there is negative equity in the property in question. Negative equity means that the property is valued at less than the amount remaining on the mortgage loan.

Keep in mind that a strategic default is not the same thing as a consent foreclosure, though many people use the terms interchangeably. A strategic default applies to the status of the loan itself, while a consent foreclosure refers to one possible outcome of defaulting on your loan. It is possible—and it may even be your best option—to strategically default on your loan first, and then work out a consent foreclosure agreement with your lender.


Grayslake Real Estate AttorneysIf you are a homeowner, there is a good chance that you bought your home with a mortgage loan and that you make payments on your mortgage every month. If you are a renter, you make rental payments each month, but instead of making payments to a bank or lending institution, your rent goes directly to your landlord. Presumably, your landlord is using your payments to make payments of his or her own on the mortgage for the property in which you live.

You are most likely aware that failing to make your mortgage payments on a home that you own could result in foreclosure, with the bank seizing your home. Similarly, you know that failing to make your rental payments could result in eviction, with the landlord taking possession of his or her property. So, what happens when you make your rental payments each month but your landlord does not make his or her mortgage payments?

Continue to Make Payments

While it might be concerning to live in a building that is being foreclosed on, Illinois and federal statues provide protection for renters in such a situation. It is unlikely that your landlord will be forthcoming about his or her finances, so by the time you discover that he or she is facing foreclosure, the process could be well underway. Once you learn about the situation, however, your best options will probably be to continue making your rental payments in accordance with your lease.


Libertyville foreclosure defense attorneysIf you financed the purchase of your home with a mortgage loan, you probably signed what seemed to be mountains of paperwork. Buried in each document and hidden in confusing language were the terms and conditions of your loan and what would happen if you failed to make the required payments. Off the top of your head, you might not be able to recall all of the specific details, but you probably realize that if you do not keep up with your mortgage, the loan will go into default. If you stay in default for long enough, the lender will initiate foreclosure proceedings and eventually take your home.

With this in mind, it would seem that defaulting on your mortgage is something that should be avoided at all costs. In some situations, however, a strategic default could help you find a way out of a difficult situation.

Understanding Strategic Default

By definition, a strategic default occurs when a borrower intentionally allows his or her mortgage to default despite having the money to make the payments. The terms “strategic default” and “strategic foreclosure” are often used interchangeably, but they are not really the same thing. It is possible for a person who decides to use a strategic default to completely walk away from the property and allow the bank to foreclose, but not every strategic default ends in foreclosure.


Lake County foreclosure lawyersRegardless of who you are, how much money you have, and the types of property you own, the word “foreclosure” is likely to generate feelings of fear, anxiety, and stress. If you are struggling to make the mortgage payments on your family home, the idea of foreclosure is likely to be especially frightening.

Most people understand the basic steps of foreclosure, even if they do not know all of the details. In short, they know that the lender will eventually force a homeowner who is in default to leave the property. Then, the lender will reclaim possession of the home and attempt to sell it in an effort to recoup some of the losses incurred. What many people do not realize, however, is the effect that a foreclosure will have on the borrower’s credit score.

Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a statistical rating that lenders and other institutions use to evaluate how well you manage debt. Credit scores can range from 300 to 850, and higher scores indicate stronger creditworthiness. A credit score above 740 is considered to be “Very Good,” and above 800 is considered “Excellent.” Between 670 and 739 is “Good,” while 580 to 669 is “Fair.” Anything below 579 is considered “Poor.”

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