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House Repossession: Does it Have to Happen?


It is a good thing when we can realize the American dream of home ownership. Along with the home ownership comes a lot of financial responsibility. Unfortunately due to circumstances some people may find themselves unable to maintain the biggest responsibility; the payments. When the homeowner is unable to keep up with the payments he is at risk of house repossession.

When and if the legal action of house repossession is started it will occur in several stages and can take weeks or months to from start to finish. At any stage during the process the homeowner may be able to stop the process. If the homeowner can bring the mortgage payments up to date the process will immediately end. It is actually to the advantage of the mortgage company to keep you in the house paying off your mortgage and house repossession is usually a last resort for them. The quicker action is taken once the process has begun the more options and lower legal fees for the homeowner. Each stage has its own rules and procedures and if they are not followed the house repossession may not proceed as planned.

For a house repossession to occur there must be a sound legal reason. The most common reason is for delinquency of mortgage payments. The lender will work with the homeowner to try to refinance, modify the mortgage or come up with some other repayment plan. Once the lender plans to go forward with house repossession a letter requesting that the payments be made current will be sent to the home owner. If the issue is not resolved at this point the lender will then send a letter informing the homeowner of the possibility of court action. If no resolution comes from that action, the homeowner will be notified of the court order seeking possession of the house.

The court will notify the owner if the time and place of the hearing. At this time if the owner has not done so previously, it would be a good idea to seek qualified legal advice about the situation. The homeowner must reply to the courts; failure to do so would not be in the best interest of the homeowner. The homeowner should obtain legal counsel to represent them in court.

At the hearing the judge will listen to both sides and a decision will be made as to what should happen next. The judge has several options, some of which include allowing the homeowner to stay in the home under certain conditions, like repayment of the arrears; allowing the homeowner time to avoid house repossession by selling the house themselves or the judge may follow through with eviction.

If the judge decides to allow the house repossession, the homeowner will be given a date to vacate the house. If they do not leave voluntarily by the date set, the lender may have law enforcement to assist in having the house vacated.

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