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2010-07-01 17:57:31

Has Your Bank Walked Away From Your Mortgage?

Has your bank foreclosed on your property but not followed through on eviction? Think you got a break and can stay in your house, rent free? Think again!

Because of the high number of foreclosures throughout the United States, banks sometimes walk away from homes they own. When the house is worth less than the cost of foreclosing, banks have little or no value to return to their investors. This means the residents can keep living there, basically rent free until the bank claims the property.

People in this situation should not get too comfortable. While having a free house sounds great, it may not be. In fact, when banks do this, they leave the property in a state of uncertainty. No one knows when they will actually take over the property. And if they decide to do that, eviction could happen suddenly.

If you are in this position, there are a few things you need to know:

  • The foreclosure process can start up again at any time.
  • The bank may sell the loan to a collection agency, and you will be asked – and possibly harassed – for the money owed.
  • If foreclosure was not completed, the title is still in your name. That means you are still responsible for taxes, as well as code violations and upkeep – even if you move out.

Ultimately, you want to resolve the situation. Take advantage of the breathing room you’ve been given. Make your move towards getting out of this uncertain position.

Some things you can do that will put you in the driver’s seat, instead of the bank:

  • Stay in the house, but try to put your mortgage payments in an escrow account. You can use this as sign of good faith if the bank later tries to foreclose and you want to keep the house. In the worse case, you will have some money built up to get settled elsewhere.
  • Regardless of whether you want to stay or go, stay in touch with bank or loan servicer to find out what is happening.
  • Try to work with the bank to see if you can get a loan modification or short sale. Make sure you communicate in writing and note the date and name of anyone you speak to, preferably in the presence of a witness.
  • Think about bankruptcy, which will stop the foreclosure.
  • Get help from a HUD-approved housing counselor  or from a lawyer. Even if you no longer want the property, you need help bringing the situation to a close.

If you find yourself heading for foreclosure, the time to act is now. Don’t wait until your get a notice from the bank. There is free help available to help you figure out your options, especially if you would like to stay in the home.

But if you want to sell your house before foreclosure starts, consider working with a home-buying company. Express Homebuyers offers answers to some frequently asked questions about working with a home-buying service. This might be just the answer you are looking for.


Abby Johnson works with Express Homebuyers-- which buys homes in Baltimore and Southern Maryland; the Metro Washington DC area; and Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia.

Since the inception in 2003, Express Homebuyers has helped more than 300 families sell their house quickly. During all these years we have gained extensive experience dealing with all types of situations. It doesn't matter what situation you are currently facing, our Homebuying Specialists have the necessary knowledge and experience to help you!


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