What to Expect at a Foreclosure Trial

If you are underwater on your mortgage, you may be facing foreclosure. Foreclosures can happen either judicially (in court) or non-judicially (out-of-court). Non-judicial foreclosures are typical of loans that are secured by a trust while judicial foreclosures are common in loans that are secured by a mortgage. If your loan was secured by a mortgage, you will probably have to go through a foreclosure trial. In this article, we are going to explain what to expect at a foreclosure trial. 

Judicial foreclosures take much more time to complete than non-judicial ones. As such, you will have a great opportunity to challenge the foreclosure and the lender cannot claim your home without approval from the judge.

Notice 

The bank (lender) sends a notice of its intent to start foreclosure. Most loan contracts typically require the lender to send a letter informing the borrower that they are going to initiate the foreclosure process due to the missed payments. 

Complaint and Summons 

The foreclosure officially begins when the lender files a lawsuit in court. Once this happens, you will be served with a complaint and Summons notifying you about the case and how long you have to respond. In most cases, it is usually 20 to 30 days. 

Judgment 

If you fail to respond to the summons within the stated time, the judge will probably grant a default judgment to the foreclosing party. This means that the lender automatically wins the case and is authorized to sell your home to recover the debt. If you file an answer, however, the judge will not give a default judgment but the lender may still file a motion of summary judgment if there is no dispute regarding the important facts of the case. 

The case goes to trial if the summary of judgment is denied. Ultimately, you need to have a good defense to justify your missed payments or the judge will rule against you in the judgment of foreclosure. 

Foreclosure Sale 

Once a judgment of foreclosure is issued, the property is put on sale and an auction is held. Ownership of the property goes to the highest bidder. In some cases, the highest bidder is the foreclosing party, who uses a “credit bid” to bid on the property. The lender might also seek a deficiency judgment in case the debt is higher than the value of the property. If the court grants a deficiency judgment, you will have to pay the outstanding balance after the foreclosure sale. 

If you are at risk of foreclosure, it is important to consult an experienced attorney to learn how you can protect your investment. There are several things you can do to avoid foreclosure, especially if you act as soon as possible. For more information on the foreclosure process, contact The Law Office of Ray Garcia, P.A. anytime.