The time between an original late mortgage payment and a foreclosure varies greatly and can depend on a variety of factors, including the particular lender that owns the mortgage. According to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, however, foreclosure processes can begin in as little as 90 days.
According to the TDHCA, a mortgage payment is considered delinquent if it is not paid by the agreed upon payment date each month. Many times, the payment date is the first of the month. Most mortgage providers do offer a grace period, which means late fees are not assessed until payments are delayed 15 days past the original due date.
Mortgage providers mail a late notice after the 15th day and may also begin making phone calls regarding the late payment. If payment is not made by the 30th day after payment was originally due, the homeowner is considered in default.
At the time default occurs, most lenders mail out another notice and many report the issue to credit bureaus. After 60 days from the original date the payment was due, if no payment has been made, the lender may begin the foreclosure process.
At this time, actions can differ greatly according to homeowner situations and individual lender. There are things that can be done to stop a foreclosure at this point, but lenders may stop accepting partial payments or might even demand that homeowners pay the full portion that is past due. The TDHCA points out that lenders don’t actually want to own your home, and it benefits them to work with you to create a situation where you can make the payments. At the same time, if you take no action, your lender will continue with the foreclosure.
Source: Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, “How Does Foreclosure Work?” accessed Jan. 27, 2015
If you pass away in Texas and you do not have a will, it is known as “dying intestate”. While this sometimes happens, especially when a death is unexpected, it is something you absolutely want to avoid if you can. This is why it is good to craft a will at any time, no matter your age or the likelihood of your passing.
For one thing, you will not have any say in how the wealth is distributed. The state has a set system that will be applied to any money and other property that you left behind. This system is designed to split everything up, but there is no promise that it will be done how you want it to be done.
For example, if you were married and you had two children, you may want to leave all of the money to your spouse, knowing that your children have their own income streams. If the children were from that spouse, this is what happens. However, if one of them was from another spouse, then the two children split half of the money, and the spouse gets the other half.
Additionally, there could be extra costs for your heirs if you do not have a will, and the whole process could be delayed. Since the legal system then has to handle the distribution, it can take some time to do even simple things like officially labeling people as heirs and legally determining what assets they will get.
To save your family this hassle and to make sure that your desires are met, you need to have a will in place.
Source: Texas Young Lawyers Association, “Texas Probate Passport: A guide to probate and estate planning in Texas” accessed Jan. 27, 2015
When you are purchasing a home in El Paso, Texas, is it really necessary to have a home inspection?
Yes, it is. A home is an important purchase. You need to know of any potential problems that could cost you a lot of money down the road. A home inspection is transparency when buying a home. If the roof leaks or the house has termites, you need to know. The home inspection will also tell you many things about the house, such as how old the roof is and when it will need replaced. It will tell you how old the central heating and air conditioning system is and many other important factors.
What if the house fails the inspection? A house never really “fails” the inspection because it is meant as an examination to tell you what condition the house is in. There are no regulations that it has to pass and the house will not be appraised by the home inspector. The reason for the inspection is to not only let you know the problems, but it can also be a source of negotiation if you still plan to buy the home. You might be able to request that the current owner take care of any major problems or at least deduct them from the cost of the house.
Do I need to call a home inspector when purchasing a home? If you have a real estate attorney who is assisting you with your purchase, he or she will probably handle this for you. A real estate attorney can actually handle every aspect of purchasing your home from start to finish. They can check any zoning laws, do title searches, review any contracts for loopholes that could leave you vulnerable and even draft agreements and contracts for you.
Source: American Society of Home Inspectors, “Frequently Asked Questions on Home Inspections” accessed Jan. 21, 2015
When a loved one becomes incapacitated for any reason, the option to file for guardianship exists for many family members and even some friends. A guardianship lets you step in to manage important decisions or even acts of daily life when someone is not able to do so for him- or herself.
According to the Texas Guardianship Association, individuals seeking guardianship over another must file an application. The application is submitted in the county where the potential ward lives, which is not necessarily the same county where the proposed guardian lives. Applications must also come with an examination by a physician or psychologist, depending on the nature of the incapacity.
Though applications differ across the state, most require similar information. Applicants will have to provide demographics about themselves and the potential ward and whether guardianship is being sought over the estate, the individual person or both. The potential guardian will also need to detail the reason guardianship is necessary and why the applicant is the right person for the duty.
Unique information may be required in cases involving minors, the elderly or the mentally handicapped. Once the application is filed, a citation is served on the potential ward, and a court investigation may occur. Court investigators will review the application and associated documents, and may also interview family members, the potential ward and guardian, and any professional care providers such as social workers, therapists and physicians.
Others may contest a guardianship application and make a case before the court. The court must find that the potential ward is incapacitated, requires a guardian and the guardian will protect the ward’s rights and property before granting guardianship. In some cases, legal assistance may help to increase the chances of a desired outcome.
Source: Texas Guardianship Association, “Guardianship Process” accessed Jan. 16, 2015
Generally speaking, people think of foreclosures as events that start with a bank; if you miss your mortgage payments for too long, the bank takes your home back to get the value of the property. However, did you know that a condo association or a homeowners association may also be able to start the foreclosure process?
Sometimes, this does not even happen because you are not making your mortgage payments, but because you are not paying the fees that go with living there. Many times, there may be HOA fees for things like maintenance or public spaces — like a pool — that all people in the association are able to use. These fees go on top of your mortgage payments for the property itself.
This is something that all homeowners need to be aware of, but especially those who are buying new homes. Some estimates suggest that a huge percentage — as high as 80 percent — of the new builds in the United States are set up under home owners associations or condo associations.
On the whole, around 65 million people in the U.S. are part of these associations.
Of course, the HOA fees differ from one association to the next, but typical estimates put them in the range of $300 a month to $400 per month. You can see how this may be tough to pay if finances are tight.
You do not want to lose your home in Texas, so make sure that you know exactly what may put it in jeopardy. You also need to know what legal options and rights you have if you find that a foreclosure may be coming.
Source: MarketWatch, “Condo-fee foreclosures become headache for homeowners” Daniel Goldstein, Jan. 09, 2015
Most Texas residents are aware that they should have a will drawn up to protect their family and their assets after they are gone. However, it is surprising how many people do not heed this advice. Most people think that it is no big deal because their assets will just go to their spouse or children if something happens to them.
However, that is an uncertainty. This is exactly why a will is important. It can remove the uncertainty. Without a will, a probate court — which you can liken to a stranger — gets to decide who gets your property and assets. They could end up in the hands of your spouse and children just the way you would want them to, but you don’t know that for sure.
You may be thinking that you don’t have a lot in the way of assets, so why bother? There are many more good reasons for having a will drawn up even if you don’t have a lot. For instance, there may be personal items that mean a lot to certain family members, and may just be thrown away by others. If you have multiple children, do you want to take the chance of your children getting into a feud over your belongings?
If you have had more than one marriage, and have children from a previous marriage, you may need a will to make sure that those children get a portion of your assets. Even if the family appears to all get along well, it is surprising to know how many family relationships where more than one marriage is involved crumble when the patriarch or matriarch passes away.
By having a will drawn up and specifying who gets what, you have narrowed the chance of your property or assets being held up by probate court, which can go on for months sometimes. If the validity of a will is contested by one of your heirs, it is possible that it could still go into probate, but the likelihood is much slimmer than with no will at all.
Not only are you protecting the ones you love with a will. You will get peace of mind in this area of your life.
Strong estate planning and administration reduces the chance that your property will sit unused or lost in a legal system for years. However, there are times when unclaimed property is listed by the state because someone has not properly claimed. The state of Texas offers some guidelines for heirs who are trying to reclaim such property.
First, the heir must provide a death certificate and proof of social security number for the person who is reported as the owner of the property. If property is valued over $5,000, then the death certificate must be a certified copy.
If the reported owner had a will and that will was probated, then the heir must also submit the will and either an Order Admitting Will to Probate as Muniment of Title or an Order Admitting to Probate. Closing documents must also be provided if the estate was closed.
In the absence of a will or probate, then requirement documentation depends on the value of the property. If the property is valued more than $10,000, a Small Estates Affidavit of Heirship or a Court’s Determination of Heirship are required. Both of those documents do require the signature of a judge.
If the value of the property is $5,001 to $10,000, then a notarized Affidavit of Heirship is required. The affidavit must be completed by a third-party with no interest in the case and filed in the county where the owner of the property died. An Affidavit of Heirship is also required for property valued at $5,000 or less, but the location requirement is not present.
Seeking property owed to you as an heir can be difficult, whether the property is with the state’s unclaimed property office or not. Understanding your legal rights and options can help you seek an outcome that is most satisfactory.
Source: Window on State Government, “General Claims” Jan. 02, 2015