Robert Williamson has many years of experience as a mortgage foreclosure defense attorney representing clients who have faced foreclosure actions by banks, credit unions, or other mortgage holders. Foreclosure actions usually arise when the borrower does not the make payments when they are due. The reason for non-payment may be a life circumstance (death of a spouse, divorce, job loss, medical issue), loan reset, or a mortgage rate that was not really affordable in the first place.
Foreclosure happens when the real estate secured by the mortgage is sold to pay the debt, whether it is a primary residence, a vacation home, or commercial property. The debt itself may be a mortgage, a tax lien, or other debt owed by the property owner.
Often, the foreclosure action is initiated by a company who is not the original mortgage lender. The bank, credit union, or mortgage company who lent the property owner the money will sell, or “assign, the borrower’s mortgage to a mortgage buyer, perhaps to use the money to finance new mortgages. In effect, the bank is selling the right to collect the borrower’s payments to another company. If a bank and its assets are purchased by or merged with another bank, the new banking institution may hold the old bank’s mortgage.
Or, the new bank decides to sell the old bank’s mortgages in a bundle and use the sale proceeds to finance new lending ventures, without informing the borrowers. The new lender must notify the borrower of the sale and any new payment procedures, such as mailing address or due date.
Mortgagors and Mortgagees
Mortgagors are owners of real estate who transfer an interest in their property to another party in consideration for a loan. Mortgagees are banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, or individual lenders who lend money and have a valid mortgage lien against real estate (your home or other real estate).
- The mortgage must be signed by you, AND
- The mortgage must be recorded in your county Recorder of Deeds Office.
- The “mortgagor” (owner of the real estate)“conveys” (transfers to) the “mortgagee” (the lender, a secured party) a property ownership or interest in the real estate allowing the mortgagee to take the property in a state court case known as a foreclosure action. The mortgagee will file a court pleading called a Complaint in Foreclosure if the debt is not repaid according to the terms of the note.
Mortgage foreclosure defense
To defend against the foreclosure case, your mortgage foreclosure defense attorney must file a court pleading known as an Answer to the Complaint within 20 days of being served with the mortgage complaint. When your attorney files a legally sufficient answer, that is, one that the mortgagee cannot have summarily dismissed, you have the right to contest the foreclosure case on a broad range of factual, legal, and “equitable” theories (basically, issues of fairness based on hundreds of years of English and Pennsylvania common law).
If you fail to file any answer, the mortgagee can get a “default judgment” (a type of judgment not requiring a trial in which you can defend your property) against the real estate 10 days later. After that, the mortgagee can schedule a sheriff’s sale, which is an auction of your property. The sheriff will then sell your real estate and give the money to the mortgagee, and if there is money left over, to other secured creditors and to help pay off any debt secured by your real estate.
After the Foreclosure Action and Sheriff’s Sale
If the money from the sheriff’s sale does not satisfy the mortgage debt, the mortgagee can sue you again personally in state court for a “deficiency judgment”, that is, a judgment against you personally for any remaining balance of the loan after the mortgagee receives the proceeds from the sheriff’s sale. The mortgagee starts the deficiency judgment suit by filing another Complaint.
You can only dispute the amount of the deficiency, interest, and costs. To do so, you must file an Answer within 20 days of being served with the complaint. If you do not file an Answer, the mortgagee may get a default judgment, even if the amount due, as stated in the compliant, is incorrect. If you own other real estate, the mortgagee can file a lien against it in your county Court Office of Judicial Support or Prothonotary and become another type of secured creditor called “judgment lien creditor” (a secured creditor who holds a judgment which has become a lien against real property).
Many people are completely emotionally overwhelmed and feel helpless to stop any part of this disastrous course of events. However, the sooner you consult experienced mortgage foreclosure defense Robert Williamson, the sooner solutions to your mortgage foreclosure problem will be available and the more time and money you will save.
Possible solutions include trying for a mortgage loan modification to restructure the terms of your payments, listing your property for a short sale, or filing for bankruptcy protection which might allow you to keep your home and prevent your mortgagee from going on to the next step.
Contact Media mortgage foreclosure defense lawyer Robert G. Williamson at Williamson and Williams today to stop the insanity, overcome your inertia, and get your life back.