Our Oak Park foreclosure defense attorneys understand that the increasing foreclosure numbers that have frequently been reported in the news may alarm struggling Chicagoland residents. We realize that your home is an investment worth protecting.
Recent changes to Illinois foreclosure law make it more important than ever to contact a legal professional if you are feeling overwhelmed or if you are concerned about losing your home. However, things are not always as hopeless as they may seem—even in these hard economic times—and understanding a little bit about the foreclosure process may help alleviate many of your worries.
A foreclosure proceeding consists of several stages, including default (i.e. failure to make a payment or payments), filing of a foreclosure proceeding by the lender, foreclosure sale, and eviction. The process of foreclosure differs from state to state. In non-judicial foreclosure states, a notice of default is the first stage of the foreclosure process. Once it is sent out, a homeowner may be in danger of losing his or her home. In non-judicial foreclosure states, foreclosures do not go before a judge. This can leave distressed homeowners vulnerable when lenders attempt to cut corners or do not follow the proper procedures required by the mortgage foreclosure process. Other states—like Illinois—are judicial foreclosure states, so foreclosure actions are heard by a judge. Even in cases where lenders act properly or in judicial foreclosure states where a judge is involved in the process, it is still crucial for Illinois homeowners to be aware of their rights. There are many legal nuances to mortgage foreclosure defense, and this area of the law frequently changes.
According to reports by CNBC News this week, the overall number of foreclosure actions rose sharply this August. In particular, there were huge surges in the number of notices of default that Bank of America sent to borrowers. In fact, the bank’s number of notices of default was up over 200 percent more month-to-month. It is possible that the increase in overall foreclosure actions was driven by the surge in Bank of America’s foreclosure processing.
The CNBC News reports cited new data from RealtyTrac that confirmed a surge in overall notices of default in August. Although RealtyTrac did not specifically cite Bank of America as the reason for the surge, CNBC News noted that the national bank recently bought Countrywide Financial, thereby assuming millions of “troubled” loans.
It was also explained that the surge could be due to lenders addressing loans that have been delinquent for some time, but that had not been acted upon previously. Mortgage foreclosure processing was delayed in many states when the robo-signing scandal was uncovered last year. Many lenders failed to follow protocol and frequently filed illegal or suspicious paperwork in an effort to hurry the foreclosure process along and abrogate homeowners’ rights. As a result, some of the foreclosure proceedings that were delayed in our area in order to investigate the fraudulent Illinois mortgage practices may now be resuming.
One important concern is that other banks will soon follow Bank of America’s lead. With one major lender pushing a high number of loans to foreclosure, more properties could be up for sale, which will likely push property prices down even further than they already are. While another “flood” of foreclosure properties added to an already saturated housing market is a concerning prospect, a spokesman for Bank of America stated to CNBC News that the bank is on an “ongoing path to return foreclosures to normal levels.” In particular, the spokesman reported progress in judicial foreclosure states.
If you are concerned that you may lose your home in a foreclosure action and you live in the Chicago area, you should know that you are not alone and that there are many legal options available to you. Our Chicago foreclosure defense lawyers work with homeowners to best meet their needs, including defending them in foreclosure suits or by helping them use loss mitigation strategies where appropriate, such as loan modification or bankruptcy. While our lawyers cannot make any guarantees or promises, they work hard to protect Chicagoland residents’ rights and will make every effort to save your home.
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