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Libertyville foreclosure defense lawyerEven if you have never owned your own home before and do not have a track record of missed payments, the failure to make mortgage payments will eventually lead your lender to file for foreclosure. Foreclosure is the legal process through which a lender can seize a home from a borrower who has failed to live up to his or her obligations set forth by the mortgage agreement. While there are other violations that could lead to foreclosure, the overwhelming majority of foreclosure filings are prompted by the borrower failing to make payments.

The foreclosure process can be intimidating and extremely challenging for the average homeowner. It is very easy to make mistakes under such confusing circumstances, and a single error could end up costing you thousands of dollars. If you are behind on your mortgage, and foreclosure is looming, be sure to avoid these common mistakes that many homeowners make.

Mistake 1: Avoiding Your Lender

According to Illinois law, a mortgage lender must wait until you are 120 days or more delinquent on your mortgage to initiate foreclosure proceedings. However, the lender will most likely begin calling you and sending letters as soon as you miss a payment. Communication will probably increase as you get closer to being in default. While it may be uncomfortable to do so, you need to pick up the phone and talk with your lender. Doing nothing is not in your best interest. In most cases, your lender will have programs available that could allow you to work things out and avoid foreclosure altogether.

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Libertyville foreclosure defense attorneysAs the nation has struggled financially due to the shutdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal government placed a freeze on foreclosure and eviction proceedings by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government agencies. Many of the country’s leading mortgage lenders and banks also announced programs designed to assist homeowners facing difficulties making their mortgage payments.

The specifics of the programs offered by the various lenders can vary widely, as not all institutions can afford to go very long without payments from their borrowers. Such inconsistencies have left many homeowners still worried about what will happen in the next few weeks and months. With this in mind, lawmakers in Illinois are working to pass a bill that would offer relief to renters, homeowners, and lenders before the new month begins.

Bill Would Suspend Rent and Mortgage Payments

Last Friday, Representative Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) introduced the COVID-19 Emergency and Economic Recovery Renter and Homeowner Protection Act. “We have to make housing an absolute top priority,” Ramirez said. She expressed that families should not have to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or buying food.

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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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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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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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