Gwinnett County Foreclosures (and how to prevent them)

February 24, 2009

As the bad news about the economy continues to inundate us, the percentage of home sales classified as either short sales or foreclosure sales is skyrocketing. What’s the difference? That’s a great question!

A foreclosure is the end of the road for a homeowner with an unaffordable loan. When a homeowner stops making payments to the lender, the lender sends them a letter. “Hey – Dude (or Dudette) – Where is our money? Please pay us the overdue amount and some fees!” When that letter arrives, you have become a blip on the lender’s radar screen.

Most lenders will send out more letters of this type, hoping to get the payment stream started. These letters are pretty non-threatening and they always include plenty of contact information for the lender. This is the time to pick up the phone and start negotiating with the lender. You can do it yourself or have one of our professionals do it for you. Call 770-682-7735 and ask about a loan workout.

If you ignore these letters, eventually you are going to get a letter that is not so friendly. This letter says “OK. We asked you to pay us and you didn’t. Now we are accelerating your loan. You are in default. Pay all of it plus interest and fees by such and such date or we will take your house.” This letter isn’t quite so non-threatening, is it? In fact, this letter is pretty darned scary! First of all, they say they might take your house (where will you go?) On top of that, they want all of the money you borrowed! Last month they wanted $8000, now they want $245000! Don’t panic. It is not too late. Call 770-682-7735 and ask about a short sale review.

The next letter you will get is the scariest. In this letter they will restate the demand for the entire balance of the loan and will tell you that they plan to sell your home on a certain date. That date will be a Tuesday, and in fact it will be the first Tuesday of a month. In Georgia, foreclosure sales can only occur on the first Tuesday of the month. Time is definitely getting short, but this is not the time to be the turtle in the shell – call 770-682-7735 and ask about having a foreclosure sale postponed. 

If nothing happens to forestall the foreclosure, the home will be sold to the highest bidder in front of the Gwinnett County Courthouse on the appointed day. In the next article, I will explain what happens next.

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