Category Archives: Foreclosure

Tips to help you avoid foreclosure

Avoiding foreclosure is not always possible, but the key is to do all you can to try to keep your home; do not simply accept that you are going to lose it and step aside. There may be more that you can do in Texas than you think.

For one thing, you always want to act quickly, as soon as you know you have a problem. If you contact the lender after you see you can’t pay, but before they have to come find you, you may be able to work out an agreement, get a new loan or find another solution that doesn’t involve foreclosure. Remember, foreclosure can be complicated and time-consuming, so lenders don’t really want to do it except as a last resort.

You also need to have a full understanding of each option. For example, if you’ve fallen behind on payments, you may not have to pay them all back instantly. Your lender may agree to a modification, adding a little bit more to your monthly payments so that you get back on track and gradually make up each missed payment. The lender will want to work with you to find an easy solution.

You may also be able to restructure your loan with another lender. It is important to note that some of these plans are scams, though, so do your homework and consult with others before agreeing to anything. The legitimate restructure plans can be very helpful, however, as they can reduce the payments by lengthening the loan, in some cases.

Do you want to find out more about what you can do or get more tips? If so, please take a look at our site today.

Getting a handle on your mortgage to avoid foreclosure

El Paso residents are well aware of the numerous foreclosures in the housing market in the past few years. While the economy is slowly improving, there are still people that are struggling to pay their mortgages and save their homes from foreclosure. If you are one of those people, here are some valuable tips that might help you.

The first and most important thing you need to do is to tackle the issue. Too many people get behind in their mortgage, and don’t address it until they are so far behind, there is no chance of catching up. This applies to other debts as well. Contact your lender as soon as the problem starts. Lenders have many options available to you that doesn’t involve losing your home.

Most lenders will work with a borrower as long as the borrower is making a good faith effort. Don’t throw your mortgage statements and letters in a drawer unopened because you don’t know what to do about them. Once you have spoken to someone and know your options, you will feel a load lifted from your shoulders.

Review your original loan documents to know what steps your lender can legally do. If you are not sure, consult with an attorney who deals in real estate. He or she can also make sure you know your rights and options, and can even work with your lender if you so desire.

Learn about foreclosure prevention options available to you both from your lender and an attorney. If one can’t help you, the other one probably can. Just a few of the options available to avoid foreclosure are: loan modification, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, partial claim or second mortgage or even bankruptcy.

You can also brainstorm on ways to get your finances back on track. There may be quick ways to raise the cash you need to catch up, such as selling an item you no longer need or having a garage sale. If this is an option, make sure you have a budget that will work going forward.

Just remember, grasping the bull by the horns and taking control of the situation is the most important thing you can do. Once you know your options, you can make decisions to be in control of your situation.

Source:, “What if you are unable to make your mortgage payment?” accessed Mar. 04, 2015

How fast can foreclosures happen in Texas?

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

A condo association may be able to foreclose in Texas

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

What is the foreclosure process in Texas?

How long do Texas homeowners have before losing their homes if they default on their mortgage? Without help, it could be sooner than you think. According to the Texas foreclosure process, it could, in actuality, occur in a 41-day time frame.

That is not to say that it always occurs at that rapid of a pace, but it is an actual possibility. There are three steps to a Texas foreclosure once a borrower has defaulted on his or her mortgage. A default occurs as soon as you miss a payment, although it may take a while before the lender contacts you. This does not mean you are not, however, in default.

Once your mortgage is in default, a lender may begin the foreclosure process. The first step is give the borrower 20 days in which to resolve the issue. They must notify the borrower by written notice.

If the mortgage is not brought current within the allotted 20-day period, the second step of the process may be initiated. A notice of proposed sale of the property is filed with the County Clerk and posted on the courthouse door. The sale cannot be scheduled to take place any earlier than 21 days after the 20-day period given to the borrower. The borrower must also be sent a notice by certified mail 21 days prior to the sale date.

The third step is the actual sale, which takes place by auction on the steps of the courthouse. These auctions occur on the first Tuesday of every month.

Because Texas does not have a “right of redemption” law, a foreclosure sale is final. At this time, if the previous homeowner has not vacated his or her property, he or she can be evicted by the new owner.

It most cases, it takes a bit longer than 41 days, but Texas’ foreclosure steps are not extremely complicated, and once the process is started, it can move quickly. There are ways to avoid foreclosure if a homeowner is facing a period of financial distress and get behind on his or her mortgage payments, but a borrower should not hesitate to contact help — perhaps a bankruptcy attorney or a foreclosure attorney — at his or her earliest opportunity.

Not all mortgage lenders will move this quickly on a foreclosure process, but according to Texas law, they have the right to do so.

Source:, “The foreclosure process” Dec. 20, 2014

Not all foreclosures are on the up and up

Regulators are investigating a firm that collects mortgage payments after allegations that the firm’s actions are leading to homeowner foreclosures that are not necessary. According to reports, the firm, Ocwen Financial Corp., collects payments from residents in Texas and elsewhere. Investigators say that the firm may have participated in less-than ethical activities, including things such as backdating letters.

The company branded itself as a firm that was more helpful to homeowners in crisis than big banks, but a lawsuit claims the firm is illegally charging high fees in addition to engaging in business practices that are deceptive. According to investigators, there is evidence that the company sent thousands of backdated letters to homeowners. Because the letters were dated in the past, it created the image that homeowners had missed deadlines for filing paperwork to prevent foreclosure.

One couple in another state purchased a home in 2002. In 2011, Ocwen supposedly found an issue regarding missing property tax payments, and the firm added an $18,000 lump sum payment requirement to the couple’s bill. Unsurprisingly, the couple couldn’t make that large payment, and the firm reportedly stopped accepting their regular monthly payments.

The couple, who is still struggling to keep their home, says the firm claims they owe much more than they borrowed, even though they made on-time payments for almost a decade. Ocwen has filed for foreclosure and continues to send the couple large bills, but the couple is fighting back on a legal level.

A number of things can lead to a mortgage default. Individuals may have a sudden job change or crisis that means they struggle for a few months with payments, or paperwork and payments can be mixed up. When this happens, some banks are more aggressive than others in seeking foreclosures, which means homeowners have to be aggressive with legal options to fight for their homes.

Source: Texas Public Radio, “Firm Accused Of Illegal Practices That Push Families Into Foreclosure” Chris Arnold, Nov. 18, 2014

How soon can my bank begin a foreclosure on my home?

Financial challenges happen for everyone from time to time, and errors occur in keeping bills or posting payments to accounts. Most people would like to think that simply missing a single mortgage payment — for whatever reason — will not cause a default or the start of foreclosure proceedings. According to information published by the City of El Paso, that may not be the case.

When a bank can institute foreclosure proceedings depends on the language including in the lien note that was signed when you originally purchased or financed the home. With the exception of specialty loans insured by the VA or FHA, most loan documents provide the bank with the ability to begin foreclosure proceedings after the homeowner defaults on the loan by missing a single payment.

The City of El Paso does point out that most lenders don’t initiate foreclosures immediately upon a first payment missed. Mail can be lost, homeowners can run a few days late, and people can simply forget to make a payment due to stresses and a busy life. In most cases, banks make an effort to reach out to homeowners to bring accounts current before going through with default paperwork. If efforts to bring the account current are not answered by the homeowner, then a lender will usually begin foreclosure proceedings.

The exception to this rule is FHA- or VA-backed loans. In these cases, foreclosure proceedings cannot begin until a homeowner is three or more payments past due.

Getting behind on mortgage payments can be a frightening experience, and it’s a quick slope from missing a first payment to the beginning of foreclosure proceedings. Because mortgages often account for a large expense, it’s more difficult to catch up after missing one or two payments. Understanding legal options for dealing with foreclosures is one way people can fight to keep their homes in such situations.

Source: The City of El Paso, “Foreclosure Under Deed of Trust” Oct. 24, 2014

Foreclosures and foreclosure inventories dropping

Since the country was hit by the recession in September 2008, 5.2 million foreclosures have been completed across the country. In August 2014, there were about 629,000 homes that were at some point in the foreclosure process. Last August, there were 936,000. This is a decrease of almost 33 percent.

According to the chief executive officer and president of CoreLogic, the number of completed foreclosures in the last 12-month period is the lowest it has been since November 2007. He also said that by the end of the year, that number could go below 500,000, giving the housing recovery a “solid boost” in 2015.

CoreLogic’s numbers indicate that the August numbers show 19 months in a row of at least a 20 percent decline year-over-year of the inventory of foreclosed homes across the country. The five states that had the highest number of foreclosures completed included Texas at number 3, with 36,000. However, Texas was not in the top or lower five states when it came to the lowest foreclosure inventory.

While the news that the number has dropped for completed foreclosures and the number of homes that are currently at some point in the foreclosure is positive, there is still some reason to be concerned, according to CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist. He said that we are now five years into expanding the economy and the number of homes in foreclosure are almost three times what is considered normal.

If you are facing foreclosure, you need to know that you have options. Even if bankruptcy is the best option for your current financial situation, there are cases in which you are still allowed to keep your home. Before allowing your home to fall further into foreclosure, you may want to seek the advice of an experienced real estate law attorney.

Source: Housing Wire, “Foreclosure inventory down 32.8% from August 2013” Trey Garrison, Oct. 02, 2014

Don’t go through foreclosure alone

For El Paso families, a home is more than a financial investment. Homes are often imbued with memories and love, making it even harder to give up a home through the process of foreclosure. For many families, though, foreclosure seems like the only option when emergency bills or a loss of a job change income or expenses drastically.

Families who try to go through the foreclosure process on their own may overlook resources and help that could assist them in remaining in their home. Banks are not infallible, and mistakes in accounting do happen. Even in tough times, it could be possible to work with a bank to keep your home. Even if a lender is in the process of foreclosing on your home, it’s not too late. Our foreclosure page notes that defense options are available to homeowners in a variety of situations.

Before giving up, an experienced advocate can provide a number of options, including working to find alternative financing arrangements that works with a family’s budget while satisfying lender requirements. Legal assistance may involve reviewing mortgage records to ensure no errors were made as well as seeking options for loan modifications.

In some cases, saving the family home may not be possible. Simply turning everything over to a bank may not be the best course of action, though. A legal representative can help families work through short sale or foreclosure processes to ensure the best possible outcome from what may be an unpleasant task. Understanding your options and working to reduce the negative outcome of a foreclosure can help you move forward with a stronger future.

Source: The Law Offices of Victor H. Falvey, “El Paso Foreclosure Litigation Attorney” Sep. 12, 2014

Previous homeowner watches over her home in foreclosure

El Paso residents with homes in foreclosure they want to keep should realize that they have options. To those who are unaware of the options available, seeking the advice of a real estate attorney is probably the first step. Remember that banks have as much to lose as you do when they foreclose on a home. They may be willing to work with you on a loan modification. As a last result, filing for bankruptcy may also help to save your home. If you really love your home and want to keep it, don’t be willing just to give up and walk away. A home is more than just a building; it is often the repository of precious memories and security to a family.

One Plano woman who had lived in her home for 16 years apparently could not prevent a foreclosure. In the process of losing her home to the bank, but because of her sentimental ties, the former homeowner continued to keep an eye on the house. The woman claims that her father died in the home and her son was raised there, so it meant a lot to her.

In July, her previous neighbors began contacting her about activity at the house. They had allegedly been looking after it as well. One man reported seeing a truck back up to the house, and two people taking furniture into the home.

The home’s former owner contacted the bank to see if the house had already been sold, but she was told that it was slated for auction in August. The woman also saw her house listed on a website with a nonworking number and her name as the contact. This led her to the possibility that someone may have thought they owned the home through a possible scam.

The strangers were said to have stayed at the house for up to a week, and then the former owner put a note on the front door informing them that they were trespassing by occupying the home. She later found the note wadded up in the kitchen. The occupants left, but not before flooding the home, taking out the carpet and leaving holes in the walls. This situation is being investigated for a possible fraud attempt.

Source:, “Plano woman fighting to keep squatters, scammers out of foreclosed home” Jobin Panicker, Aug. 06, 2014