Foreclosure is the legal process by which the lender in a mortgage arrangement takes possession of the property (typically a house) that secured the loan. This is done when the Athens, Alabama debtor has repeatedly failed to make their payments. Foreclosure typically requires the house to be sold at an auction. Typically, banks want to rid themselves of the property as soon as they can, in order to collect as much money as possible.
In all states in the United States, including Alabama, foreclosure by judicial sale is an option. This allows the sale to be conducted under the supervision of a court, to ensure that the bank makes a good faith effort to get a fair price, and that the proceeds above and beyond the balance of the mortgage (if there are any) go back to the debtor. In some states, original mortgages are "non-recourse loans," meaning that the lender can only recover ownership of the house in the event of default. If the house is now worth less than the balance of the mortgage, the lender has to take the loss. You should speak with a Athens, Alabama lawyer to see if this state is one of them. However, it is almost always the case that this protection does not apply to loans which have been refinanced.
How Can I Avoid Foreclosure in Alabama?
First and foremost, you should not ignore the possibility of foreclosure. Failing to respond to collection calls from your lender will not make the problem go away. As unpleasant as this might seem, you should stay in contact with your creditor, and be forthright with them. It is crucial to remember that the bank does not really want your Athens house - they expected to make a profit through the interest on your loan, and that's what they'd prefer to do. Accordingly, they will probably make reasonable accommodations to your financial situation if it means that you will be able to make some form of payment to them.
If no deal can be worked out, or the mortgage payments have become prohibitive, you might consider a "short sale". While the lender has to consent to it, many will take a moderate loss if it means avoiding foreclosure (which lenders usually treat as a last resort). This allows you to sell the house for whatever price it can fetch on the current market, and hand the proceeds over to the bank. If the sale nets less than the balance, some or all of the deficiency might be forgiven. You might also consider a "short refinance" which allows a chunk of the debt to be forgiven, and lets you refinance the rest.
How Can A Athens, Alabama Attorney Help?
If you are worried about foreclosure, a good Athens, Alabama real estate lawyer might be able to help. A lawyer can increase your chances of keeping your home, and help minimize the financial impact if keeping it proves impossible.