Understanding Foreclosures

Understanding ForeclosuresThe term foreclosure refers to a lawsuit brought, usually by a financial institution, against a homeowner. The legal proceeding is brought in the Supreme Court of the County in which the property is located. The financial institution is always represented by a law firm. The law firm is not an in-house law firm. It is always a law firm hired by the financial institution that specializes in bringing foreclosure actions against homeowners.

Judgment to Sell the House

The purpose of the foreclosure lawsuit is for the financial institution to obtain an judgment from a Supreme Court judge. This will allow the financial institution to have a referee appointed to sell the homeowner’s home at a public auction. The money received from the sale of the homeowner’s home goes to the financial institution to pay them what they are owed on the note and mortgage.

The Note and Mortgage

There are 2 documents of importance in a foreclosure. The first one is the note. When you buy a home you sign a note. The note is simply an IOU. The note is an agreement that basically states the financial institution is loaning you money and you agree to pay it back. There are various terms and obligations maintained in the paperwork regarding the note.

The Mortgage

The mortgage is a separate document from the note. It is actually a separate contract. It is a security agreement which gives the financial institution a security interest in your property as collateral for the money you borrowed pursuant to the note. The mortgage states if you don’t make the payments pursuant to the terms of the note and mortgage, the financial institution can bring a foreclosure lawsuit for failure to make the payments.

The Acceleration of the Mortgage

Before a financial institution can bring a foreclosure lawsuit against a homeowner they must send an Acceleration Letter to the homeowner. The letter simply states that the lender is calling the entire amount of the mortgage and all the arrears due and payable by a specific date.

Default in Making Payments

A homeowner is generally considered to have defaulted in the payment of his or her mortgage when they are at least one payment late. However, Acceleration Letters are generally not sent to homeowners until they are 90 days behind on the payment of their mortgage.

90 Day Pre-Foreclosure Filing Notice

The law in New York has a special requirement before a foreclosure lawsuit can be initiated. The financial institution must send the homeowner notice a minimum of 90 days before they file a summons and complaint in a foreclosure lawsuit. The notice has specific language and states at least 5 non-profit housing counseling agencies located near the borrower that the borrower can go to. The notice conveys to the homeowner they are behind in their mortgage and they are going into foreclosure. The homeowner then has 90 days to try to take some action to avoid the foreclosure lawsuit.

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. Our law firm represents homeowners throughout the Metropolitan New York area with regard to the defense of foreclosure lawsuits. We have been helping homeowners keep their homes for more than 3 decades. We can be reached for a free consultation at 800-344-6431 or e-mailed at: Elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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