The past few years have put significant financial stress on homeowners – from managing mortgage payments to losing jobs to exhausting savings to pay for expenses during COVID.
Georgia is no stranger to this stress. According to a recent survey, the Peach State came in at 10th for the highest home foreclosure rate. When facing financial hardship, how can homeowners prevent foreclosure in Georgia?
Keep reading to learn how Georgian homeowners can prevent foreclosure.
What is Foreclosure?
Foreclosure is a legal process that occurs when a lender seeks possession of your home if you can no longer make your mortgage payments or pay your property taxes. Since most home loans are secured as collateral by the property itself, the property can legally be taken if payments aren’t timely made.
Homeowner Rights During Foreclosure
When foreclosure occurs, homeowners still have rights and protections – both at the federal and state level. In Georgia, homeowners get the right to:
- Receive a preforecloure breach letter
- Preforeclosure refers to the period after you fall behind on mortgage payments and before foreclosure procedures officially begin. Typically, you have a 10-15 day grace period to pay your mortgage payment after the due date.
- During this period, a lender may charge you late fees. However, they also must send you a notice about how to get current on your mortgage.
- Receive loss mitigation opportunities (which allow you to work with your lender on bringing your payments current and avoiding foreclosure)
- Some examples of loss mitigation opportunities include repayment plans, loan modification, or forbearance.
- In most cases, your lender must present these opportunities to you no later than 36 days after you miss a payment and then again 36 days after each missed or late payment.
- However, if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, you won’t receive these notices.
- Get current on the loan, enabling you to stop foreclosure proceedings
- Receive a foreclosure notice (note that a foreclosure can’t officially begin until you are more than 120 days past due on mortgage payments)
What is the Foreclosure Process in Georgia?
For home foreclosures in Georgia, the lender may use a judicial or nonjudicial method, with nonjudicial methods being the most common.
A judicial foreclosure occurs when the lender files a lawsuit against you, asking for a foreclosure sale on your home. If you fail to respond to the lawsuit, the lender automatically wins the case. However, if you choose to respond, then the court will review the evidence before making a final decision.
In nonjudicial foreclosures, the lender follows out-of-court procedures described in Georgia laws. After completing the required steps, the lender can then foreclose on your property, providing a cheaper and faster path to foreclosure.
No matter which process is used, it’s best to contact an experienced Georgia debt management attorney to help you navigate the foreclosure process.
How Can Filing Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure in Georgia?
If you’re facing foreclosure, filing for either Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy may help. Once you file for bankruptcy, the “automatic stay” goes into effect immediately. The automatic stay prohibits your lender from collecting any owed payments on your mortgage or foreclosing on your property.
To determine which bankruptcy option is best for you, contact an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney.
Hiring an Augusta, Georgia Bankruptcy Lawyer
Finances – and debt management – can be overwhelming and stressful. Avoid the stress and enlist the help of a Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy attorney in Augusta, GA. The Law Firm of Seymour and Associates, P.C. can help you navigate through the bankruptcy process, helping to postpone or prevent a foreclosure on your home. Contact us today to learn more.