If you don’t understand exactly how foreclosure works, you’re not alone. Most homeowners don’t think about foreclosure until it becomes a possibility after they get behind on their mortgage payments.
If you receive a foreclosure notice from your lender, it’s essential to understand that this is simply the first step. The foreclosure process includes a mandatory waiting period that allows owners to take steps to avoid losing their home.
Unfortunately, some people simply move out of their homes when they receive this notice. They assume it means the lender now owns the property. That’s not the case.
When people leave a home vacant before the foreclosure process has been completed, this is called a “zombie foreclosure.” It can end up being extremely costly for the homeowner, whose name is still on the title — now considered a “zombie title.” They can face a multitude of financial and legal ramifications.
A home that’s left vacant in a zombie foreclosure can be broken into, vandalized and fall into disrepair. All of these things can lower the value of the home. If someone is injured on the property, the homeowner may be liable.
Further, if the homeowner belongs to a homeowners association (HOA), they still owe dues. They also still owe property and other taxes on the home and the land it’s on. If the home becomes an eyesore, it’s going to lower the property values in the neighborhood. The homeowner can end up owing fees and penalties as a result.
If you receive a foreclosure notice and want to try to keep your home, find out what your options are. If you decide to let the foreclosure proceed, it’s important to stay in the home until you’ve received your notice to vacate. It’s then essential to make sure that your name is no longer on the title before you completely walk away from the home. Whatever you decide, it’s wise to seek experienced legal guidance.
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