Receiving a notice that you are facing foreclosure on your home is one of the more traumatic things a homeowner can face. In many cases, people facing foreclosure have had financial issues that threaten your continued ownership of the place that they call home.
Importantly, lenders cannot do whatever they want. Foreclosures are strictly controlled by state law, which must be followed at all times. It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney to learn about your legal options after you have received a foreclosure notice and whether you can fight back. Contact Richman & Richman to discuss your case and what you may be able to do to defend yourself.
A Wisconsin bank or financial institution is simply not allowed to just take someone else’s home if they have fallen behind on payments. There is a robust legal process that they must follow before foreclosure can happen.
State law governs foreclosures very strictly, and a lender cannot foreclose unless they follow them exactly. Not only may the lender not be allowed to foreclose, but they could even be liable when they commit serious violations of Wisconsin law.
Below is a brief overview of the foreclosure process and foreclosure requirements in Wisconsin:
- The foreclosure process is started when a lender files the summons and complaint in the Wisconsin circuit court in the county where the real estate is located. You must also be served with the complaint. You have 20 days to respond once you receive the complaint.
- You have the right to pay any past due amounts (along with interest) between the time that the complaint is filed and judgment is entered
- You would decide whether you have the legal ability to fight the foreclosure
- If you do answer the complaint, the court would schedule a hearing in which it would consider your evidence
- The court would enter a judgment that would give the other party the right to foreclose
- If the court grants the right to foreclose, the foreclosing party could sell the property through a sheriff’s sale. If the proceeds of the sale are less than the amount that you owe, you would have a further debt to satisfy
As a homeowner, it is vital to understand that you have the right to be heard and to challenge the action. You are entitled to due process. If you do not receive proper notice and the right to be heard, you may be able to challenge the foreclosure action,
There are three primary ways to prevent foreclosure on your property:
- You can negotiate a loan modification with the lender that either gives you new terms or more time to pay
- You can pay what is due, including interest and attorney’s fees
- You can find a way that the foreclosure is invalid because it violates Wisconsin law. Then, you can challenge it in court
You may even be entitled to extra relief under certain circumstances of which you may not be aware. For example, if your loan is backed by the Federal Housing Administration, there may be extra options available.
From start to finish, the foreclosure process can take between 6-18 months. You will not be foreclosed upon tomorrow without being given your say. If you have received notice that you are facing foreclosure, you can and should consult a foreclosure defense lawyer as soon as you can to explore your options.
There is a strong chance that the party attempting to foreclose on your property is familiar with the legal process. They may even be trying to take advantage of the fact that you do not know the law to quickly foreclose on your property. Even if the law is on your side, you need skilled legal counsel and representation to fight the action.
Here is how a Wisconsin foreclosure attorney can help you:
- Determining whether there are any defenses that you can use to foreclosure
- Drafting the answer to file in your case
- Representing you in court if your case goes to a hearing
- Taking legal action against the lender if they have violated your rights
- Challenging the amount of any debt that you may owe if the lender did not use reasonable procedures to sell the property
If you find yourself in financial distress, you may need to opt for bankruptcy. If you are in the bankruptcy process, you may even be able to put the brakes on the foreclosure process. You could obtain an automatic stay on enforcement and collection action on debts, which should at least give you some extra time to go through the legal process and get your financial house in order.
A foreclosure attorney can help you in several ways as you determine whether you can keep your home and the most effective way to do it. The first thing that a foreclosure attorney will do is help determine and explain your legal options. It may not be worth it to fight foreclosure. In other cases, there may be serious irregularities that would allow you to contest the process and win.
The most important thing that a foreclosure attorney can do is to come up with defenses that can help defeat the process. These defenses can include:
- The loan servicer ignored the proper legal procedures for foreclosing on your home
- The foreclosing party does not have the standing to foreclose on your home
- The loan servicer made a serious error regarding your account
You need someone who can distill these arguments and then present them to the court on your behalf.
If you are facing foreclosure, you should find an attorney as soon as you can. Here are some of the things to look for when looking for a Wisconsin foreclosure defense lawyer:
- A track record of success handling foreclosure cases
- A strong professional reputation
- A communication style that works for you
Importantly, you should act quickly when facing foreclosure. You only have 20 days to respond to a notice. By that time, you would need to inform the court of any defenses that you may have to the foreclosure action. Thus, you would need to be prepared to move as soon as you learn that you may be in danger of foreclosure.
It is only natural to seek advice from family or friends, but it is important to keep in mind that foreclosure is a complicated legal process that many people do not understand. Additionally, even if your friends and family have good advice, they are not able to represent you in court or deal with your lender on your behalf. For this reason, it is highly advisable to call a foreclosure attorney as soon as you realize you may be facing foreclosure.
If you are facing foreclosure, you need legal help throughout the process. You may not know your rights or that you could even have the ability to fight back. The attorneys at Richman & Richman will evaluate your case and determine whether the lender has grounds to foreclose and whether there is anything that you can do to fight their legal action. We can also investigate and determine whether you may have a right to sue the lender for any violations of your rights. To speak with a lawyer, you can call us today at 608-630-8990 or send us a message through our website.