Owning your own house is a huge life achievement and many of us save and save just to get the money for the down payment. Even when this money has been saved, you still need to get a mortgage to pay for the outstanding balance of the home. For the majority of people, their monthly mortgage payments will be one of their biggest expenditures, and there are many of us who struggle to make the payments each month. The result of this can be that your mortgage lender files a foreclosure complaint against you and attempts to take your house. This can be an incredibly traumatic experience so you must learn everything there is to know about the process before the case starts.

To help everyone facing foreclosure understand what is happening, here is what you should know about a foreclosure defense case before dealing with one.

1. Respond Immediately to the Summons

There are various reasons why you may fall behind on your mortgage payments, but whatever the reason you must respond to the foreclosure summons immediately as there is only a limited time period to do so before the court judges against you automatically. In your response, you will have to admit or deny the complaint or argue that you are not able to do so because you don’t have the necessary information. If you admit to missing payments and give no reasons, the court will immediately rule against you and the process of repossessing your home will begin. Likewise, if you fail to give relevant information in your response, the court may also rule against you. 

Once this ruling has been made and the repossession process has begun, it can be very hard to reverse the decision. This is why you must respond quickly and accurately as soon as you receive the foreclosure complaint against you. Always keep all of your relevant documents pertaining to your mortgage agreement as well as copies of all correspondence you have with regard to the foreclosure complaint made against you. These can all be used as valuable evidence in your case which will enable you to lodge a strong defense.

2. You Must Seek Legal Advice

When you first receive the foreclosure complaint, the first thing that you should do is to seek legal advice and representation from an experienced attorney who deals with foreclosure defense cases. These loan lawyers explain that this is very important because trying to negotiate a complex legal defense can be next to impossible for most people. Your attorneys will ensure that your initial response is completed properly and that every step is taken to protect both your rights and your home. Many people wrongly think that once the foreclosure process has begun, it is too late to stop it. You need to trust your attorneys and see if they are able to negotiate an agreement with your mortgage lender out of court which will enable you to keep your home.

When choosing an attorney to represent you in your case, make sure to ask them questions about their previous experience in foreclosure cases. Some attorneys previously worked on the legal teams of banks and other mortgage lenders so they know how the cases work from the other side. This experience will enable them to prepare and argue your case and provide you with the best possible chance of keeping your home. Find out if your chosen attorney has a good track record in similar cases and don’t be afraid to walk away if they don’t. 

3. There Are Many Possible Defenses

All foreclosures are different and so your attorney will need to analyze your unique situation and decide how best to prepare and argue your defense. There are various defenses that your attorney may be able to argue which can help you save your home from repossession. They may be able to show that the initial complaint filed against you was completed incorrectly or that the information in the complaint is not accurate. There are only certain people who are legally permitted to file a foreclosure complaint so your attorney will check that it was an eligible person or the judge may rule in your favor.

Your attorney may also be able to argue that the foreclosure is not valid because the original mortgage itself was issued or sold incorrectly. Many banks and mortgage lenders have been found to have sold mortgages to people they knew would not be able to afford them and this can be a cause for having a mortgage negotiated and a foreclosure complaint dropped. There is so much that goes into a mortgage agreement and if your lawyer is able to find anything that was done incorrectly, it can save your home from repossession.

4. How to Avoid Foreclosure in the First Place

Your mortgage rates are calculated based on your earnings and financial history at the time of purchasing your home. If these details change, if you lose your job or something occurs which you know will make repayments difficult, it is so important that you reach out to your mortgage lender before you miss a payment. They may be willing to renegotiate your mortgage rates or even give you a temporary “mortgage vacation” while you get your finances back under control. While there is no guarantee or legal obligation for them to do so, it is also better to speak to them to see if anything can be arranged rather than waiting for the foreclosure complaint and summons to come through your mailbox.

The prospect of your home being repossessed is a terrible ordeal to face. It is really important that if you receive a complaint that you hire an experienced attorney and prepare your response immediately under their guidance. There are various arguments they can make in your defense that will enable you to win the foreclosure case. If you are worried that you are going to miss a mortgage repayment because you are having financial difficulties, make sure to contact your mortgage lender and see if there is an agreement that can be reached.