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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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Lake County foreclosure attorneysThere are many ways to measure the overall health of the housing market in the United States. For example, you could look at trends in home sales, sale prices, and other considerations linked with individuals and families buying new homes. On the other side of the coin, however, it is also important to look at the rate of foreclosures around the country, as foreclosure rates are often indicators of people struggling to afford their homes.

Earlier this month, ATTOM Data Solutions released a report that examined foreclosure filings across the nation in January 2020. The report looked at total foreclosure filings, which include default notices, bank repossessions, and scheduled auctions, as well as foreclosure “starts” and overall foreclosure rates. As it turns out, Illinois homeowners did not fare particularly well in January, as foreclosure continues to be an issue for many throughout the state.

A Look at the Numbers

According to the report, there were just over 60,000 total foreclosure filings nationwide last month—a 13 percent increase from December of 2019 and a 7 percent increase from January of last year. New foreclosures, also called foreclosure starts, however, were down by about 1 percent from December and about 9 percent from last January. Last month, lenders initiated foreclosure for the first time on 26,858 properties in the United States.

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Lake County foreclosure lawyersIt has been almost a full decade since the housing market crisis was at its lowest point. In late 2009, nearly 25 percent of homes with a mortgage were underwater—meaning that the value of the home was less than the amount remaining on the mortgage. Millions of homeowners across the country were forced to deal with the reality of foreclosure.

Now, it is 10 years later, and across the country, the situation has largely improved. Today, less than 4 percent of the nation’s mortgaged homes have negative equity. In Illinois, however, things have been much slower to recover, and about 8 percent of the mortgaged homes in the state are still underwater—approximately twice the national average. At least one expert believes that the state’s foreclosure laws have contributed to the slower recovery.

High Property Taxes, Slow Foreclosures, and Oppressive Red Tape

The aforementioned numbers were compiled by CoreLogic, a leading provider of property, consumer, and financial analytics. Frank Nothaft is the chief economist for CoreLogic, and he acknowledged his concerns about the health of the Illinois housing market. In the last year, home equity did increase by an average of $1,300 per mortgaged home, but that increase just barely kept pace with inflation, Nothaft said.

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Libertyville foreclosure defense attorneysFacing a possible foreclosure can be a terrifying ordeal. You may worry that you will have to immediately leave your home or even become homeless. The good news is that the foreclosure process takes several months. Although even one missed mortgage payment could technically be enough to violate a mortgage contract, missing one or two mortgage payments will generally not initiate foreclosure proceedings. The majority of lenders will not start taking actions to foreclose on a home until the borrower is three or more payments behind.

Furthermore, just because foreclosure proceedings have begun does not mean you must immediately vacate your home. Illinois law considers the borrower to be the lawful occupant of the home until a judgement of possession is entered. The process of gaining a judgement of possession in Illinois usually takes nine months or more.

Illinois Homeowner’s Rights Act Gives You Certain Protections

A lender cannot simply choose to foreclose on a home out of the blue. The Illinois Homeowner’s Rights Act was passed in 2009, and it requires certain procedures to be followed before the foreclosure proceedings can begin. First, the lender will send you a notification of its intention to foreclose. Next, the lender will file a lawsuit which explains the grounds for the foreclosure request. At this point, you will have 90 days to pay the outstanding mortgage payments in order to reinstate your mortgage. If you are able to become current on your mortgage payments and resume the agreed-upon payment schedule, you will be able to keep your home.

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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.

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