Often people come to see us after they've done everything they can to stop foreclosure. Many try to get loan modifications from their lenders, but after lots of runaround, most are denied. For some strange reason, the lender just won't allow the borrower to get out of default and get back to making payments. With a foreclosure sale (often called a sheriff's sale) on the horizon, many people are looking for a way to stop foreclosure and force their lender to accept payments. Chapter 13 reorganization can be a fix in this situation. Here are some of the advantages:
1. The automatic stay will stop foreclosure. The automatic stay protects you from creditors and prevents foreclosure from taking place, even if the bankruptcy case is filed just minutes before the sheriff's sale. If the clock is ticking on your foreclosure sale and you're out of options to stop foreclosure, filing bankruptcy may give you the time you need.
2. You can force a lender to accept overdue payments over time. Chapter 13 involves repaying a portion of your debt over time to stop foreclosure. In a Chapter 13 case, you pay your mortgage arrears back over the life of the plan. To figure out if this is feasible, we do some simple math. We take the overdue amount on the loan (arrears), and divide it over the length of your Chapter 13 plan (three to five years). Let's say your mortgage payment is $1000/mo and you are overdue $10,000 on your mortgage. In a five-year Chapter 13 plan, we would divide the $1,000 arrears by 60 ($166.67). If you can pay your regular mortgage payment plus an extra $166.67 per month (for a total of $1166.67/mo), the lender will have to accept your repayment plan.
3. In some cases, we can "strip" your second mortgage. We can "strip" a second mortgage that is fully underwater. Here's how lien stripping works--if you have two mortgages, and the balance of your first mortgage is more than the current value of your house, then your second mortgage is "unsecured" because there's no equity in the home to back it up. When that's the case, the lien can be removed and the value of the second mortgage is paid pro rata with the rest of your unsecured creditors (medical bills, credit cards, etc.) Because you only pay the unsecured debt you can afford in a Chapter 13, and the remaining debt is wiped out after the plan has ended, this can save you truckloads of money.
Lien stripping be a huge benefit to borrowers over-stressed by two mortgages. If you're facing a sheriff sale and feel like you're out of options to stop foreclosure, give us a call.