Foreclosure & Alternatives Law
The worst thing that you can do when confronted with a foreclosure is to go into it uninformed. At its root, the foreclosure process means that the lender who initially gave you your mortgage is attempting to take back full possession of your home due to missed payments. The lender will then most likely try to sell the home, usually through an auction, combining this money with the payments you have already made to get the money back for the loan.
However, no matter how dire things may appear to be, there are legal steps that have to be followed and legal options that you have as a resident of New Hampshire. Make sure that you know exactly how things work so that you and your legal team can seek a favorable outcome.
In quite a few cases, bankruptcy and foreclosure are going to be tied together; if you do not have enough assets or income to balance out your debt, that could be a big part of the reason why you have defaulted on your payments in the first place. If you'd like, you can file for bankruptcy, which then initiates a stay on your foreclosure. Until the bankruptcy case has been resolved, the foreclosure must wait.
Bankruptcy does not entirely get rid of a foreclosure lawsuit, though. You still must pay your mortgage. Since bankruptcy can both slow down the process and eliminate your additional debt, though, you may be able to reinstate the loan, make up for the defaulted payments, and avoid losing your house.
Don't worry about a foreclosure coming out of nowhere; the lender must contact you far in advance, giving you time to respond. Under New Hampshire law, you will get a notice of sale at least 25 days prior to that sale. This notice will be served to you in person or mailed to your house. The notice will also be published in a local newspaper three times -— once a week, for three weeks in a row. This has to start at least 20 days before the house is sold.
To reinstate your loan is to pay off what you owe before the sale, and to redeem the home is to reclaim it after a sale. While other states have laws regarding how long you have to do this, New Hampshire does not. This means you probably will not be able to redeem the house, but you still may be able to reinstate the loan if your mortgage lender allows it. This decision is up to them and your mortgage agreement.
New Hampshire has passed a law so that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a federal act, is offered to National Guard and other local military members. If you have been called up and placed on active duty for 30 days in a row —- or longer -— the foreclosure lawsuit will be put on hold until you return from that service.
While it may be wise to do what you can to stave off a foreclosure, if you'd like to keep your home, you still may end up facing eviction. Even if you do, you still have some rights that must be respected. To begin with, the home's new owner -— often, this is the bank or mortgage lender -— is obligated to provide you with a notice to leave the home in the next 30 days. Only after that time period can an eviction be sought. After law enforcement tells you of the eviction, you then have seven more days to leave the property.