Foreclosure can be frightening, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a Cape Girardeau foreclosure defense lawyer working for you. You invested years of payments into your home, which was where your children grew up. This isn’t just a financial loss, it’s an emotional one. Despite the sadness and anger you may feel, get the legal help you need from a foreclosure defense attorney.
Kelvin Birk is a foreclosure lawyer and certified public accountant. He has more than 30 years of experience in accounting, and for more than 20 years he has helped clients in legal matters. If you’re facing foreclosure, call Missouri foreclosure defense lawyer Kelvin Birk at 573-332-8585 today for your free consultation.
Our Foreclosure Attorney in Missouri Can Get You Through the Process
What Is a Foreclosure?
It’s a legal process by which you, the property owner, lose your rights to the property because you haven’t kept up payments as required by the mortgage agreement. If you can’t pay off the outstanding debt, find alternative financing, or sell the property, the property will be auctioned off.
There are two kinds of foreclosures in Missouri, judicial foreclosure and non-judicial foreclosure.
- Judicial foreclosure: The lender files a lawsuit against you asking the court for an order allowing a foreclosure sale. If you do nothing in response, the lender wins. There could be a jury trial if you defend your case, where the outcome will be decided. Going to trial may be a good option if you’re not in default or the lender’s acting illegally. If the lender succeeds, it will get the order it seeks.
- Non-judicial foreclosure: The mortgage holder can avoid the court because your property’s deed of trust has a “power of sale” clause. It states that the loan can be accelerated and your property sold at an auction if you default (fail to pay).
Non-judicial foreclosure is probably your situation, because this is how most foreclosures take place in Missouri. No matter what type you face, mortgage foreclosure lawyers in Cape Girardeau can protect your rights, represent your interests, and ensure you’re treated according to Missouri law.
Can an attorney stop foreclosure? How do you fight foreclosure?
You may have a defense if facts show you kept up the payments and are current on your debt or there is evidence the lender broke the law in handling your mortgage. Otherwise, an attorney probably won’t be able to stop the process, though it may be delayed. Your attorney may:
- Help you find alternative financing
- Work out a way to sell your home without having to pay what’s owed if the price doesn’t cover your debt
- File for bankruptcy protection so you can better afford mortgage payments or make a fresh financial start.
Kelvin Birk does these things and more for his clients facing a home foreclosure.
Our Foreclosure Lawyer May Help You Navigate Through the Non-Judicial Process
What Are the Stages Of Foreclosure?
If you’re behind on your mortgage payments, you’ll have some time to try to address the situation, but don’t wait. The bank usually can’t foreclose until you’re more than 120 days past due (thanks to federal law), perhaps later if you apply for a foreclosure alternative (a mortgage modification, short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure). If the foreclosure process starts, it may only take 45 to 60 days.
Between your last payment and when the foreclosure process starts is the “preforeclosure” stage. The company servicing your mortgage will bill you for fees and charges. They can include brokers’ price opinions (like appraisals) and property preservation costs (lawn maintenance and upkeep of the building) if you abandoned the property.
As part of your loan and mortgage contract, you agreed to make your monthly payment on a set date. If you miss a payment, you’ve technically breached the contract. If you pay the past-due amount by a particular date, you “reinstate” the mortgage and stop the foreclosure.
If you submit a loss mitigation application during these 120 days, the foreclosure process can’t start until:
- The mortgage holder decides you’re not qualified for loss mitigation, and your appeal period expires
- You reject the loss mitigation choice offered or don’t accept it before the deadline, or
- You agree to the proposed loss mitigation, but you break the terms of the agreement (possibly by missing payments).
If you don’t seek a foreclosure alternative, the foreclosure process can begin after you’re 120 days delinquent. You can apply for a loss mitigation option even if foreclosure starts, but it’s better for you if you do it during the 120 days, so you don’t fall farther behind in payments.
If the bank sells your home at a foreclosure sale, but the price is less than what you owe, the bank might sue you for the difference and get a deficiency judgment. If you don’t pay it, the lender may garnish your wages, levy your bank account, or take other actions to collect what you owe. If your home sells for more than your debt, you’re entitled to that profit. If you’re still living in the house, the lender will sue you to force you out after the sale.
Mortgage Foreclosure Lawyers in Cape Girardeau May Prevent Foreclosure
You may have different options to prevent your foreclosure or get your home back afterward.
A loan modification should cut your monthly payments and prevent foreclosure if you can pay them on time. The lender changes the loan terms so the payments will be less, but there will be more of them over a longer period, possibly at a higher interest rate. The lender may add to the unpaid principal any overdue payments and fees. You may or may not qualify, based on the lender’s guidelines, which vary.
Your lender may consider:
- Your income, the loan payment amount, other financial obligations, and your circumstances.
- Guidelines usually require borrowers to have an economic hardship (a lost job, a failed business, or a divorce) that makes mortgage payments unaffordable.
- Though your income may be less than when you were originally approved, lenders want to know your income is regular and predictable.
Refinance Your Mortgage
This is more likely if you have enough equity to give you realistic refinancing options that allow you to prevent higher interest rates, fees and costs, and payments. This may be hard to arrange after you’re behind in payments, so if possible, you should try to refinance before keeping up payments becomes impossible. Avoid refinancing offers with high interest rates, fees, and costs.
Deed-in-lieu of Foreclosure
A foreclosure attorney in Missouri may be able to negotiate an arrangement where the lender agrees to accept the property deed and lets you vacate the property in exchange for canceling your debt. You will lose the equity you developed, and the forgiven debt may be considered income for tax purposes.
Sell Your Home
With the help of a foreclosure defense attorney, the lender may agree to give you a set amount of time to sell your home before the foreclosure goes forward. This will buy you some time, and if the sales price is what you owe, you can pay off the debt. If it’s more, you keep the excess. If it’s less, you still owe the lender the difference, but you may be able to work out a payment schedule.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Protection
If none of the above is an option, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection will stop the foreclosure process, and you’ll have a court-supervised workout of your payments. You may reduce or eliminate other debts, making these payments more affordable. You’ll have a three- to five-year period to keep up all the payments on your debts. If you can’t, your case will be converted to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If that’s the case, your home will be sold, and you’ll lose your equity, but you won’t have to pay a deficiency.
Redeem Your Home
This won’t prevent a foreclosure, but a Missouri foreclosure defense lawyer may help you to get your home back after a foreclosure sale. In limited circumstances, you may “redeem” your home (get it back after the foreclosure sale by paying the full debt, plus costs and fees) within a year of the lender’s buying your property. You must give written notice to the bank that you plan to redeem the property ten days before the sale and post a bond within 20 days after the sale.
We may be able to find an alternative to losing your home in foreclosure. Kelvin Birk can handle the paperwork, communicate and negotiate with lenders, and ensure your interests and rights are protected. We will lighten your load as much as possible during the process, allowing you to focus on your family and living your life.
Kelvin Birk is the Foreclosure Attorney in Missouri You Can Trust
To talk to a foreclosure defense lawyer in Cape Girardeau, contact the Birk Law Firm today at 573-332-8585. We’re here to help you and your family through this difficult time. We want the best outcome possible for you, and we’ll put in the work to make that a reality.
ALL YOUR LEGAL NEEDS
Why Choose Birk Law?
Birk Law Firm is a small firm by choice that is big on client services. Attorney Kelvin Birk and his team are responsive to their clients’ needs. When we sign on as your law firm, you can count on us for strong legal counsel, from negotiations to settlement to trial.
Our clients benefit from the intertwining of Kelvin Birk’s legal and CPA background and experience. We provide well-rounded advice to solve both legal and financial issues and to come up with creative solutions. We use modern technology to deliver legal services in a more efficient and client-focused manner than was previously possible.
We provide personalized and compassionate service. We believe that each client’s matter is the most important matter in the world to them, and we strive to treat it that way.