According to AttomData.com, there were a total of 33,699 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions, or bank repossessions — during the first quarter of 2021. This was up 9% from the previous quarter but down 78% from 2020. These foreclosures don’t just affect the entire country, but they affect Texas, too.
Foreclosures are going up, and it can be a stressful time. I know how difficult going through a foreclosure can be. When money is tight, everything seems to get more complicated. If you fear that your house will be foreclosed, or you are already going through this tough process, I am here to help you understand the situation and what to expect. At my firm — the Swindell Law Firm in Amarillo, Texas — I am ready to help.
There are several reasons as to why your home may go into foreclosure, but they all revolve around your ability to pay debts on your house. When your home goes into default, it may enter foreclosure.
For example, if you fail to make payments on your home, these missed payments will add up. Once these debts add up, your home can enter foreclosure. The same can be said if you fail to pay property taxes.
These payments must be made promptly because you will risk your home or other property going into foreclosure.
If you are worried your home may face foreclosure, or you are already navigating the foreclosure process, it is advantageous to understand how the foreclosure process works in Texas. It should be noted that the lender may foreclose using a judicial or nonjudicial method.
The process of foreclosure in Texas is relatively straightforward. First, there is a default letter. This letter is sent to the homeowner and allows them up to 30 days to pay back the loan in full, which would solve the foreclosure issue. However, if at the end of the 30 days the homeowner cannot pay back the loan, the foreclosure process continues.
There will then be issued a notice of sale, which notifies the homeowner that, in 21 days from the date the letter was sent, there will be a foreclosure sale.
On the first Tuesday of the month, there is a foreclosure sale at the county courthouse. The sale is an auction and, with few exceptions, you may not buy back your property afterward. The exceptions include if the property was sold by a government entity or tax lender.
Next, there is a distribution of proceeds. This happens when there are excess proceeds from the auction.
Finally, the eviction notice is sent to the homeowner. A date is set — usually in three days — by which the homeowner must leave the premises entirely.
You do have legal rights and options when it comes to foreclosures. There are ways you mitigate its effects and avoid it altogether. Some of your legal rights and options in Texas when it comes to foreclosures include:
Wrongful Foreclosure — A wrongful foreclosure occurs when the foreclosure was filed using incorrect methods. If you can prove this, you may have a case where you can stop the foreclosure.
Short Sale — A short sale is when the lender will accept less than the total amount of the debt to be paid to avoid foreclosure. If the lender agrees to a short sale, you can avoid the full weight of a foreclosure.
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure — If you want to avoid foreclosure, sometimes the lender will accept what is known as “deed in lieu of foreclosure.” Essentially, you give your lender the deed to your house, which stops the foreclosure and takes the place of the debt.
Bankruptcy — You may also file for bankruptcy, which puts a “stay” on your house and halts the foreclosure proceedings.
Knowing your rights and options when you are faced with foreclosure is important. You need to make the right decision, so knowing what you can potentially do is vital.
I have over 40 years of experience and I am proud to serve the people of Amarillo, Texas, and the entire Texas panhandle, including Borger, Pampa, Hereford, and Dumas. I want to help protect your rights and let you know what to expect. Call me at the Swindell Law Firm today. I offer free initial consultations to hear your options.