If you are dealing with financial stress, you understandably have a variety of concerns. However, one of your most-pressing concerns may be protecting your family home. Not only is your family home an investment, but it is also where you live. It is where you make memories with your children, and it is the foundation of your daily life. Fortunately, you may be able to protect your home with the help of a New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney.
Are you concerned about losing your family home (or any other real estate asset) to foreclosure? If so, it is important that you speak with an attorney promptly. In this type of situation, acting promptly can maximize the benefits of going through the bankruptcy process. Conversely, the longer you wait, the more stress and uncertainty you can face, and the longer you will have to deal with creditors calling and harassing you for payment.
Whether you have just missed your first mortgage payment or you have received a foreclosure notice in the mail, you owe it to yourself to speak with a New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney about your options. Filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can provide immediate and long-lasting relief, and you can most likely secure this relief without losing your home. If you want to stay in your home, your attorney will make this a priority. But, if you don’t, your attorney can use this to maximize the other benefits of the bankruptcy process.
A New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney can help you consider other options as well. There are a variety of ways to deal with financial stress, not all of which involve going through bankruptcy. While filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 will be homeowners’ best option in many circumstances, it is important not to overlook the other options you may have available.
How can a New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney help you? Depending on your financial circumstances, your options for dealing with real estate-related financial stress may include:
Filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is an option that allows you to eliminate certain debts while keeping your home and mortgage (if you wish to do so). A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a “liquidation” proceeding, which means that it involves disposing of certain assets in order to pay down what you owe.
However, many assets are exempt from this liquidation process. This can include your family home. If you could afford your monthly mortgage payments, if only you didn’t have so many other bills to pay, then filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 could be a good option.
Since filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 involves eliminating certain debts completely, not everyone qualifies. To be eligible under Chapter 7, you must earn less than New Jersey’s median income or satisfy the Chapter 7 “means test.” New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney Georgette Miller can determine your eligibility, and if you qualify, she can help you decide whether filing under Chapter 7 is your best option.
Unlike filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, filing under Chapter 13 does not involve liquidating certain assets in order to pay down your debts. Instead, when you file under Chapter 13, you “reorganize” your debts so that you can make affordable payments over time.
While filing under Chapter 13 could be your only bankruptcy option if you don’t satisfy the Chapter 7 “means test,” it can be a good option even if you qualify to file under Chapter 7. There are benefits to filing under Chapter 13—including the fact that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy only stays on your credit report for seven years (compared to ten years with Chapter 7).
When you file under Chapter 13, you can include your mortgage in your repayment plan. This way, as long as you can keep making your reduced monthly payments, you can keep your home. To ensure that you reorganize your debts with a monthly payment you can easily afford, it is important to work with an experienced New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney throughout the process.
While filing for bankruptcy will make sense in many cases, it isn’t necessarily your only option for protecting your home when you can’t afford to pay your mortgage. In some cases, it will be possible to reduce your monthly payment without going through the bankruptcy process.
For example, you may be eligible for a mortgage modification. This revises the terms of your existing mortgage so that you can afford to make your payments when they come due. A New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney can help you seek a mortgage modification from your lender, and your attorney can help ensure that the terms of your modification adequately reflect your financial needs.
If you are considering a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney may also be able to help you seek a reaffirmation agreement. This is an agreement that you enter into with your lender affirming your desire to pay. Not only can entering into a reaffirmation agreement help prevent foreclosure on your home, but in many cases it can be used to reduce your monthly payment as well.
If you owe more than your home is worth (and you are willing to part with your home), then you may also want to talk to your New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney about pursuing a short sale. Short sales require lender approval, and obtaining this approval can be a frustrating and difficult process. When you hire an attorney, your attorney can navigate the process for you, and your attorney can help ensure that you are making smart financial decisions with your long-term best interests in mind.
The Loss Mitigation Program is a formal process that allows homeowners to renegotiate with their mortgage lenders prior to pursuing bankruptcy. If this proves successful, then proceeding with the remainder of the bankruptcy process may not be necessary. Potential outcomes through the Loss Mitigation Program include mortgage modifications, refinancing and forbearance—among others.
Foreclosure mediation offers similar opportunities. If you are at risk for foreclosure and want to keep your home, then hiring a New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney to represent you in mediation with your lender may be a good option.
Along with helping you explore all of these options, there are a variety of other ways New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney Georgette Miller can help you as well. For example, whether through the bankruptcy process or other means, we can also assist you with matters such as:
Eliminating a Second or Third Mortgage – If you have a second or third mortgage on your real estate, it may be possible to eliminate these loans through bankruptcy. If this isn’t enough to manage your monthly expenses on its own, we can assist you with pursuing mortgage modification, refinancing and other options as well.
Regardless of your financial circumstances, if you are concerned about losing your home (or any other real estate you own), you owe it to yourself to speak with an attorney. You have options available—you just need to make sure you choose the right option for you.
Do you need to know more about your options for avoiding foreclosure in New Jersey? If so, we invite you to get in touch. To request a free, no-obligation consultation with New Jersey real estate bankruptcy attorney Georgette Miller, please call 866-964-6529 or inquire online today.