It is very scary when you can’t pay your mortgage and might lose your home in a foreclosure in NJ. The stress of this situation can lead you to make mistakes-either by not doing anything, or by doing the wrong things. Below are 8 tips on how to avoid foreclosure in NJ.
1. Identify the Problem
When you realize you won’t be able to make your mortgage payments the first step is to identify the cause of the problem. For instance, has your income decreased because of a job loss or less hours, are there health issues, a divorce, or another unforeseen situation? Will the problem be short term or long term? Is it possible that after you review your budget you realize you can change your spending habits and pay the mortgage? For example, are you able to decrease some optional expenses such as cable-tv, entertainment, eating out, etc.? Knowing why you can’t pay the mortgage is the first step to finding a solution.
2. Contact Your Lender as Soon as You Think You Won’t Be Able to Pay
As soon as you know you might have trouble making your mortgage payment and know why, you should contact your lender or mortgage servicer. Many lenders will help you by offering short term and long-term solutions, such as a forbearance agreement, mortgage modification or repayment plan. The sooner you contact your lender the more options that might be available.
3. Understand How the New Jersey Foreclosure Process Works
If you can’t work out a solution with your lender, it is important to know what can happen next. New Jersey is a judicial foreclosure state which means that if you default on your mortgage, your lender must go to court to take back your home. By understanding the process of a New Jersey foreclosure, you’ll be better prepared and know what to expect at each stage of the foreclosure process.
New Jersey requires all lenders to send a Notice of Intention to Foreclose 30 days before a New Jersey foreclosure lawsuit is filed. In this notice the lender must include information about financial assistance that may be available to you to prevent foreclosure.
4. Open And Review All Correspondence From Your Lender And The Court
You should open all mail that you get from your lender. The mail will contain important information and dates. Your failure to open the mail will not be an excuse to the foreclosure. Carefully read the notices you get and keep track of all deadlines. Do not throw these materials away. Ignoring the situation can only make it worse.
5. Make A Record Of All Communications With Your Lender
Anytime you speak to your mortgage lender you should keep notes of the date of the call, who you spoke to and what was said. You should also keep a folder with every piece of mail or documents you get from the servicer, lender, or the court.
6. Do Not Wait Until The Last Minute To Try And Save Your Home
There is federal law in place which does not allow lenders to begin foreclosure until you are behind in paying your mortgage for at least 120 days. However, the sooner you act to save your home, the more options may be available to you to stop the NJ foreclosure, including mortgage modification, forbearance, and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Bruce Levitt, the experienced New Jersey foreclosure defense attorney can discuss all your available options during your free consultation.
7. Do Not Move Out Early
There is no reason to move out early. If you are not able to save your home, you can technically live there for free until the foreclosure is completed. Also, if you are attempting to save your home, many assistance programs require you to be living in the house.
It is also important to know that you are still responsible for the property until the property is sold at Sheriff Sale. It is therefore important to maintain homeowner’s insurance on the property until that time.
8. Avoid Foreclosure Prevention Scams
There are “rescue” companies that may ask you for large fees and promise to help you save your home. They may also tell you to pay your mortgage payments to them instead of to your mortgage provider. Do not do this, as they may be a foreclosure scam and may take your money without doing anything to stop the foreclosure. Never sign away rights to your home to get help.
Facing Foreclosure in NJ? We’re Here to Help You
We know that if you are facing the loss of your home, it can be scary and overwhelming. Please know that the experienced and compassionate NJ foreclosure defense attorneys at Levitt and Slafkes are here to help you understand and navigate the difficult foreclosure process and work to help you save your home.