If your home is in foreclosure and you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you are likely wondering if doing so will help you keep your home. The following are a few other questions to consider, as well: Will you still have to make mortgage payments after you file? Will your mortgage lender be able to foreclose on your home after your file?

Although filing for bankruptcy might be a worthwhile option to buy some more time, it likely won’t be a permanent fix to your foreclosure, unless you continue making mortgage payments. Before making a final decision to declare bankruptcy, understand what will happen to your home after filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 .

What You Need to Know About a Bankruptcy Discharge

When you file for bankruptcy, you do so to obtain a discharge or relief from certain debts. With a Chapter 7, this discharge is usually granted once the time for creditors to object the filing has expired. The average time in this case is four months from the filing date. With a Chapter 13, the discharge is granted after a payment plan has been completed. The average time for Chapter 13 is three to five years. But what about liability for a mortgage debt?

Although a bankruptcy discharge of a mortgage debt eliminates your personal liability to it, a mortgage lender can still foreclose on your home if you fail to make mortgage payments. As a result, a mortgage lender can’t hold you responsible for repaying the deficiency–the difference between the unpaid mortgage debt and the foreclosure selling price) following a foreclosure.

In some states, mortgage lenders have the ability to sue homeowners for this difference and receive a deficiency judgment. However, mortgage lenders can’t receive this judgment if your mortgage debt was discharged in bankruptcy court.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

Every foreclosure is different, and so is every bankruptcy. What you may or may not owe your foreclosure attorney will depend on the terms of your bankruptcy. Start by checking the contract or agreement you had with your foreclosure attorney. Then, contact your bankruptcy attorney for help. In most circumstances, you will not be responsible for any debts that were discharged during bankruptcy. That will include your foreclosure attorney fees if they apply.

Another important factor is whether a reaffirmation was included in the bankruptcy. If it wasn’t, you shouldn’t expect to pay attorney fees after you declare bankruptcy. When your mortgage debt was discharged, the costs associated with that debt should go away. Take a look at the judgment that was finalized in court during your filing. You should be able to access a list of the debts that were discharged as well as any that were reaffirmed. Make sure everything is correct and then use that judgment to notify your foreclosure attorney that you are not responsible for the outstanding debt.

Again, all bankruptcies are different and the circumstances of yours will dictate whether you are required to pay the fees your foreclosure attorney may be demanding. Talk to your bankruptcy lawyer and if you are being illegally pursued for collection of that debt, get the help you need to fight back. If you aren’t able to get anywhere with your bankruptcy attorney, get additional legal help before you pay a bill that isn’t clear and you might not owe.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida foreclosure attorney, can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

On March 22, 2013 Administrative Order 3.312 became effective. This order states that any cases filed more than three years ago were being set for mass trials. The purpose of this is to help move cases along and reduce foreclosure backlogs. However, it can also flood the market with foreclosure sales.

A non-jury trial in a Florida foreclosure means that you are just facing the judge and they decide if they are going to grant the foreclosure. It is best to attend these trials if you plan to fight for your home and they are known to be short trials.

Since they are trying to clear a bunch of cases at once, judges are trying to withhold from extending or cancelling a trial. If you have a trial date approaching and need more time to prepare a defense, get a loan modification, close a short sale, or move from the property, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy before the foreclosure trial you may be more likely to have your trial cancelled thus allowing you more time to explore your options.

Foreclosures can be hard to deal with so make sure you understand what the process entails and what is being asked of you. Remember, a non-jury trial in a Florida foreclosure case means that you will just be in the presence of the judge and they will decide whether or not to grant the foreclosure.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Foreclosures can be a lengthy, stressful process in which all sides stand to lose. Chances are your lender wants to work it out as much as you do; it is easier and cheaper to come to an amicable agreement then to have a drawn out slugfest play through the court system. But if you’ve been hit with a final notice of sale, it’s time to think outside the box.

In the ideal scenario, getting a loan modification (renegotiating the terms of your loan in order to achieve a lower, more affordable payment) is the best option for underwater homeowners. Still, attaining a loan modification on your own isn’t always easy or possible. A foreclosure prevention counseling service can help ensure your bank is reviewing the facts of your case fairly. These services are federally sponsored and completely free of charge, so be wary of any company promising to help you keep your home for a fee.

Delaying the sale

Filing lawsuit for a separate claim, such as force insurance, is not a viable postponement strategy as it will have no effect on the foreclosure proceedings. If your sale date is looming close, then it is time to seriously consider filing bankruptcy. Any type of bankruptcy will put an automatic stay on your foreclosure. However, unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would release you from liability for the mortgage debt, Chapter 13 bankruptcy affords you the opportunity to reorganize your debt into a manageable, affordable payment plan. In essence, a Chapter 13 not only halts the foreclosure sale, it can help you get the loan modification you need.

The most secure and effective way to ensure you’re being treated fairly and that you’re doing everything you can to come out a winner is to have proper legal representation. With the help of a capable attorney, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can ultimately help you craft a reasonable deal with your lender. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you assess your unique financial position and explore the best options for your situation.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

The statute of limitations on any action by a creditor to collect a debt must be made within five years from the date of default or acceleration.  If the statute of limitations expires your lender cannot foreclose.  Nevertheless, the lien remains a burden on the property for at least another 15 years from the date it was originally recorded.  Here’s a closer look at how a discharge of mortgage in bankruptcy affects your property and your creditor’s ability to collect a debt.

When a mortgage is discharged in bankruptcy, the debtor no longer bears personal liability for the loan whether or not the lender was deeded back the property during the bankruptcy proceedings.  Therefore if your mortgage was discharged in bankruptcy you are in fact no longer liable for the debt.  Likewise, any deficiency judgment is wiped out by the bankruptcy and your lender is barred from harassing you for the difference.  However, the lien remains stacked against the property, which means your lender may still legally foreclose on the property as a way to wipe out secondary liens and cover losses.

Even though your lender may proceed with a foreclosure, post discharge, and you may be named as a party of interest in their filing, the foreclosure action is solely against the property, as you’ve been released from liability.  The foreclosure should NOT appear on your credit reports unless it began prior to your bankruptcy filing.

If your lender is attempting to collect from you, they may be in violation of the discharge or state consumer laws, but bear in mind that when it comes to matters of foreclosure it’s always best to consult qualified professionals for guidance.  To learn more about Florida foreclosure laws reach out to your county consumer protection offices or contact your bankruptcy attorney.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.
This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

After a foreclosure, you may be surprised to find that the nightmare is far from over, but if your mortgage lender is unable to recover their entire loan balance after a foreclosure sale, you’re still very much along for the ride.

A deficiency occurs when a mortgage lending institution is unable to cover its investment with the proceeds from the sale of a foreclosed home.  In the state of Florida, your lender can file suit against you in order to collect the difference.  If you paid for private mortgage insurance (PMI), the insurance company will pay off the deficiency to the bank; but the PMI company has a right to hold you accountable and seek repayment.  Don’t panic!  Deficiency laws are complex and generally do not allow lenders or related parties to flippantly pursue borrowers to cover their losses once a foreclosure’s taken place.

Florida’s statute of limitations for deficiency judgments resulting from foreclosures on or after July 1, 2013 is one year, beginning the very day your home is sold in foreclosure and the new owner is issued a certificate of title. Nevertheless, sitting back and ignoring a deficiency may only make things worse and even result in garnished wages; so do consider your options!  Deficiency judgments are unsecured debt, therefore filing chapter 7 (or chapter 13) bankruptcy can eliminate your personal liability to repay them.  Before making any final decisions however, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to assess your unique financial situation and determine whether filing bankruptcy is the best course of action for you.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help you navigate this process and make the most of a difficult situation. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

Though one can file a petition for relief under a number of chapters in the Bankruptcy Code, consumers most commonly file for liquidation under Chapter 7, which involves a court-appointed trustee collecting nonexempt assets from the petitioner or debtor in order to pay its creditors.  Generally a trustee can in deed claim a security deposit in a bankruptcy, albeit with certain limitations.

A landlord, for example, may contest the courts for a tenant’s security deposit in order to cover unpaid rent or damages to the property as outlined in their lease.  Therefore a trustee may not automatically compel a landlord to turn over or reimburse a security deposit to the bankruptcy estate.  Similarly, a tenant may seek to be reimbursed for her security deposit in the event that their landlord has filed for bankruptcy.

Given a landlord’s interest in a security deposit, courts often rule in their favor as a trustee’s claim is limited to property that is incontestably property of the bankruptcy estate.  Conversely, a tenant may find recovering their security deposit more trouble than it’s worth as security deposits are dischargeable debt, which means that a landlord is not responsible for returning the security deposit once the bankruptcy petition’s been filed.  Assuming estate assets exist, a tenant would be refunded by the trustee through the bankruptcy process.  Unfortunately, many estates lack the assets to refund creditors, including a tenant’s security deposit.

Bankruptcies can be a complex, drawn-out, intimidating process for everyone involved; however, whether you are a tenant or a landlord, the best way to protect your interests is to be proactive and stay informed!  For more facts on bankruptcy proceedings consult with your attorney. Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney can help your wade through this difficult process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.

This post was written by Stephen Hachey. Follow Stephen on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.