What Do I Do If…I’m Facing Foreclosure?

by Brett Weiss, Esq.

March 20, 2008

You’ve gotten the letter from your mortgage company. It’s threatening foreclosure. What do you do?

The first thing not to do is to ignore it. Putting your head in the sand won’t make the problem go away, and can result in your losing your home.

Typically, mortgage companies spend a fair amount of time “leading up” to actual foreclosure. You will get a number of letters and lots of phone calls before anything actually happens. And these days, most lenders are more than willing to work with you. Restructuring your loan, deferrals, and plans to catch up your payments are all possibilities.

Things change when you get a letter from a lawyer. This doesn’t mean that your home is lost, it just means that the time is shortening. Every state has different foreclosure laws and different time frames. Some can stretch out the process for months, while others (such as my state of Maryland) allow foreclosures as soon as 45 days after the first notice. When you get a letter from a lawyer, you still have the same options you had with your mortgage company, but you need to move more quickly. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option to give yourself 5 years to catch up the arrearages.

Even after the foreclosure, you may still be able to save your home. Some states allow you to “redeem” the property after foreclosure; others (such as Maryland) do not. Check with your lawyer as soon as you can to find out what your options are.

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Brett Weiss, a senior partner at Chung & Press, LLC, represents people and businesses in all phases of bankruptcy. He has experience in complex individual Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, and in Chapter 11 small business restructuring and reorganization. Mr. Weiss lectures nationally on bankruptcy issues. He has testified before the Federal Bankruptcy Rules Committee, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and has twice testified before Congress on bankruptcy and credit issues. Brett Weiss is the co-author of Chapter 11 for Individual Debtors, and has written Not Dead Yet: Bankruptcy After BAPCPA, for the Maryland Bar Journal, as well as hundreds of blogs for the Bankruptcy Law Network. With his law partner, he recorded a 13-hour basic bankruptcy training series, and leads intensive three-day Chapter 11 training boot camps. Mr. Weiss has received international media attention in connection with his work. He was interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View, has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, ABC News with Peter Jennings, the Montel Williams Show, National Public Radio, AARP-TV, the BBC World Service, German state television, and numerous local radio and television programs, and been quoted in Money magazine, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun, among others. Brett Weiss is the Maryland State Chair for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a founding member of the Bankruptcy Law Network, on the board of the Maryland State Bar Consumer Bankruptcy Council, and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, and the Civil Justice Network. He has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” every year since 2007 for Maryland and the District of Columbia, and in 2011 received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for his work on behalf of consumers across the country. Mr. Weiss is admitted to practice before Maryland and District of Columbia federal and state courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the DC, Fourth and Eighth Circuits, The United States Tax Court, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been practicing law since 1983.

Last modified: January 3, 2012