What Happens to My House When I File for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a federal procedure to remove or reduce most of your debts. Whether you get to retain your house in bankruptcy is dependent upon a number of factors, including how much equity is in your house, if you’re current on your payments and what the existing California homestead exemptions are for insolvency. The chapter of bankruptcy you record may also play a part in what happens to your property.

Type of Bankruptcy

The two chief types of customer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as a”liquidation” bankruptcy because almost all of your assets are liable to be remanded to the bankruptcy trustee on behalf of your creditors. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is much more akin to a payment plan you workout with the bankruptcy court to pay back your debts over a three- to five-year period. If you’ve got a house of any substantial price and you file Chapter 7, then you’re liable to lose the home to the bankruptcy procedure. If you can afford a payment strategy as structured at a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will probably be able to maintain your property.


If you would like to maintain your house when you file bankruptcy, you have to file a reaffirmation agreement with the court. A reaffirmation agreement says that you consent to your current mortgage’s liability regardless. In other words, you merely keep making the payments on your home as though you had never filed for bankruptcy and also hold on to your property. A reaffirmation agreement is effective only if you’re current on your mortgage. You can not claim your mortgage debt after registering for a reaffirmation.

Equity in Home

If you have limited equity in your house, you may still file a Chapter 7, along with a reaffirmation agreement, and possibly keep your property. California allows you to exempt up to $75,000 of equity within your home if you’re single or $100,000 if you’re married, even at a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you’re submerged in your mortgage or have restricted equity, you might be able to exempt that equity at a Chapter 7 proceeding and reaffirm your mortgage.


The state where you file bankruptcy may play a huge part in the way your home is handled. While bankruptcy is a federal process, each state decides its own exemption amounts, and some countries are more generous than others. By way of example, while California’s homestead exemption runs up to $100,000 as of 2010, some countries may allow you to maintain a house of any value at a bankruptcy proceeding.


Especially if you’re submerged in your mortgage, then you may simply file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, stop making payments and walk away from the mortgage. That is true in most countries, including California. Assuming you qualify for bankruptcy, you will lose your home in this situation, however you’ll also no longer be responsible for the mortgage debt.

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Rules & Regulations on 2nd Mortgages

For some homeowners mortgages are a great deal. By borrowing against the equity in their own home –the value of this house less the dimensions of the mortgage–owners can take out money at lower prices than most other consumer loans. That makes second mortgages a good way to handle an emergency expense or to repay credit card debt. A second mortgage may be either a home equity loan or a home equity credit line (HELOC).


Federal law, including the Truth in Lending Act and the Home Equity Loan Consumer Protection Act, requires creditors to give anyone looking to take out a second mortgage with complete facts about the rates of interest, fees and closing costs and other expenses involved. Lenders must also show borrowers an annual percentage rate which translates the overall interest and fees –or using a HELOC, only the interest–into a predetermined interest rate, which makes it easier to compare the cost of different supplies. Before this loan is agreed to by them, borrowers are entitled to see this info. When the amounts have changed from the time of closure, they are entitled to back out and ask a refund of any application fees, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp..


In addition to the very low rates of interest, another benefit of taking out a second mortgage is the interest on up to a $100,000 loan or HELOC is tax-deductible, the Investopedia website says. Some lenders will provide high-interest second mortgages for up to 125 percent of the borrower’s equity; in those cases, interest on the portion of the loan which isn’t secured by equity isn’t deductible. In case the proprietor has $60,000 in equity and also occupies $75,000, for example, interest on the extra $15,000 would not be deductible.


The lender can begin foreclosure as the first-mortgage holder may, if a homeowner defaults on a second mortgage. The bank’s interest is authorised to the first mortgage, the NOLO legal website says, so no matter who initiates the sale, the senior lender must be paid off first before a second- or third- mortgage lender receives any money. Junior creditors can sue in court if the foreclosure sale does not recover the money that they lent the homeowner. If a homeowner proposes a short sale–finding a purchaser with a better deal than the creditors could expect to get in a foreclosure auction purchase –all mortgage holders must agree to the sale.

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Can I Sell My House in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is consumer bankruptcy for those who have sufficient money to repay at least part of their debts. In Chapter 13, even in case you’ve got a house, you’re likely to have the ability to maintain it, since your bankruptcy statute will establish a repayment plan to your creditors, such as your mortgage holder. If you decide to market your house while in Chapter 13, you need to inform your lawyer early in the process and prepare for a lot of paperwork.

Inform Everyone Involved

Whether you are in the middle of your Chapter 13 case or to your repayment program, notify your lawyer as soon as you are aware that you intend to sell your property. There is a good deal of paperwork involved in selling a house while you are in Chapter 13, along with your lawyer needs time to inform your bankruptcy statute and put the documentation together. Additionally, you should inform your real estate agent and the potential buyer that you are in Chapter 13. It’s likely your lawyer will craft language in the sale agreement that the sale depends upon the trustee’s acceptance.

Don’t Start Late

Time is of the essence if you are in the middle of your bankruptcy case, or when the trustee hasn’t approved your plan. Jonathan Ginsburg, an Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer, says you ought to offer your lawyer anywhere from 30 to 45 days to negotiate the deal with your trustee. Your lawyer will need time to put the paperwork in movement. Additionally, your creditors have the right to object to the sale, as they’ve the right to object to a repayment program.

Motion to Boost

The move to sell is the significant piece of paperwork that you need if you are trying to sell your house while in Chapter 13. Peter Orville, a New York state-based lawyer, says that the movement to market documentation should include the selling price of the house, the property’s worth, the house examination or other documentation to validate the house’s worth and a proposal for dispersing what you get from the sale. Generally, the proceeds have been applied to paying off the mortgage and closing prices. Here is the record that your trustee bases approval upon. If the trustee approves, the sale can proceed.

Record of Sale

Once you’ve closed on the house, you’ll need to provide your lawyer with a copy of what is known as the statement of sale. This record, like the movement to market, is important to get to your trustee as soon as possible. The statement provides the house’s final sale price, any closing-related deductions and how much is left over from the sale. Also at this time you are needed to make any payments the trustee ordered during the movement to sell phase.


If the house’s sale can repay your repayment program, then it is possible to anticipate a release of your Chapter 13 soon after the sale. The trustee will order the release, which will be signed by a bankruptcy judge and then delivered to you in the form of a final decree. This record is crucial to maintain, as it proves you are outside of bankruptcy. If your payment plan called that you make automatic payments into the trustee, these payments will be deducted before the trustee can cancel the electronic transfer. Any money paid to the trustee after the discharge will be repaid to you.

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What's a Pre-Foreclosure Home?

A pre-foreclosure property has a delinquent loan and the owner is in imminent danger of losing his house because of foreclosure. His property was listed as delinquent and will shortly be taken into the custody of the lending company. Buyers may be able to obtain a pre-foreclosure for 40 percent less than the home’s market value, and the deal would shut faster than would a foreclosure. The competition for the house may be fierce, though, and the home is sold in”as is” condition.


A pre-foreclosure home’s loan is in default. The defaulted loan was listed in public records, starting the pre-foreclosure procedure. This procedure lasts from 90 days to 10 months or more and culminates with a public residency or auction sale. The pre-foreclosure period goes fast and the vendor will be motivated to sell. The seller needs to sell the property prior to the foreclosure procedure is complete or he loses control of their property. A pre-foreclosure deal occurs between a purchaser and a seller, but the lender needs to approve the buyer’s offer.


Buyers, sellers and lenders benefit from a pre-foreclosure deal. The seller is able to get rid of her unaffordable property without suffering from the charge damage of a foreclosure. A purchaser may be able to obtain the property for below market price. The lender benefits when the loan is acquired by a more financially stable buyer. Having a pre-foreclosure property, a purchaser is able to inspect the property until she makes an offer. At foreclosure auctions, this may not be possible.


Buying a pre-foreclosure property may take longer that purchasing a traditional property. The lender’s approval is essential for the purchasing process to begin. Pre-foreclosed homes may come with liens and unpaid taxes, which the new owner will be responsible for paying. Title searches will disclose any liens on the property. Pre-foreclosed homes may be in bad condition. Prior to buying a pre-foreclosed home, a buyer may want to think about how much it will cost to make repairs on the house. If he plans to quickly resell the home for a profit, he may want to consider that expensive repairs will quickly diminish his profit margin.


If a purchaser possesses basic home repair abilities, she has the potential to purchase a pre-foreclosure property inexpensively, fix it up and resell the house for a comfortable profit. The home does not have to be in bad shape to do this. By adding desired amenities and curb appeal to a decent pre-foreclosure house in a wonderful area, the purchaser can increase the home’s value and resell it at above market value. Pre-foreclosure earnings are better for creditors than foreclosures, so they want to close on the deal quickly. A purchaser may be able to negotiate lower closing costs, down payments and mortgage prices on a pre-foreclosure property than he would on a traditional sale.

Beginning the Buying Process

1 method to locate pre-foreclosures is to read default listings. When a purchaser locates a property of curiosity, she is able to contact the homeowner directly. If the homeowner has listed the property for sale, the purchaser contacts the listing agent. Realty Trac suggests contacting the homeowner by email with a postcard first, allowing him know you’re interested in purchasing the home and working out favorable conditions. After this, the purchaser or her real estate agent may try to speak to the homeowner in person or by telephone. A real estate agent can assist the buyer through the whole purchasing procedure.

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How Can I Fix Sale Credit?

A short sale has the exact same impact as a foreclosure. When the bank or lender reports your short sale to the credit bureaus, they generally treat the foreclosure as well as the short sale as a delinquency. The credit bureaus, in turn, submit their data to Fair Isaac & Business, the people that compile the FICO score from your credit bureau records. FICO makes no distinction between foreclosures, short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. In fact, they lump them all together and treat them accounts”not paid as agreed” Fixing your credit after a sale will take time and discipline.

Pay your bills on time. FICO weighs recent credit history over ago, so a year or two of on-time payments might help erase a past filled with late payments.

Maintain low charge card balances. This raises your available credit amount, which helps you appear to have disposable income enough to take on more debt.

Keep old charge cards with great payment histories open. Should you have to close credit card accounts, then shut the newer ones.

Utilize the credit cards sparingly, but do utilize them. Make certain that you can cover the purchases through the next billing cycle. This will help construct a history of payments.

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How a Second Amendment Works

A second mortgage is a loan based on the equity an owner has built up in his house since he’s made payments on his principal mortgage. It’s a way to use your house’s worth to borrow a large sum, with the house itself as security. Equity is the amount of money your house is valued at over the mortgaged amount. This puts a limitation on how much you can borrow using another mortgage, but for most homeowners it may still be a substantial source of capital.

Figure out the total amount of equity you have in your home. Subtract the amount you owe on your principal mortgage from the appraised home worth as of your last property tax or personal appraisal. This outcome is your home equity. It is the maximum amount you can borrow using a mortgage.

Locate a lender who deals in home-equity loans, another term for second mortgages. Start your search with your current lender or the lender who holds your principal mortgage.

Find out the sum against equity the lender is prepared to lend you. Many lenders will lend just a proportion of the available equity to avoid a loss should your house collapse in value. In case of a default due to non-payment to either the principal mortgage lender or the secondary lender, the principal mortgage is paid initially, followed by the next mortgage. That is why it’s important to the lender that the actual equity in the house at default is sufficient to pay for the loan.

Determine the best loan conditions for the next mortgage. Pick between fixed-rate payments that remain consistent over the life span of the loan and adjustable-rate payments that change according to market conditions. Ensure that you can afford adjustable-rate payments if they rise significantly before. The interest rates are generally higher on second mortgages compared to mortgages due to the higher danger from non-refundable due to changing home worth.

Prepare the loan repayment provisions with the lender. Produce a payment system that suits your requirements. Choose a standard loan payment in one lump sum should you want a great deal of money immediately. This determines a payment program that is easy to follow and expect. Proceed with a revolving line of credit if your requirement for those funds extends over a long period or if you’re unsure of the total sum required. The line of credit lets you withdraw money against your house equity, with payments being based on the amount withdrawn rather that the maximum worth of this loan.

Shop around to find the best rates and loan conditions possible. A lender other than your principal mortgage holder may require a new appraisal before providing you with the loan.

Apply to your next mortgage with your favorite lender. Provide any financial advice required and go through the new appraisal if necessary. Wait for the next mortgage to close. You will want to cover closing costs, but they will be lower compared to those of a primary mortgage, since there’s less legwork in collecting background information. And the principal mortgage holder did the title search.

If your loan is approved and you receive the cash your the lender will put a lien against the house for the loan amount.

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Fixed Rate Second Mortgages

Second mortgages are loans against your property that are recorded on the deed at 2nd place after the first mortgage. Most frequently these loans come in the form of home equity lines of credit or the more conventional lump sum second mortgages. The strong popularity of home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) have darkened the luster of conventional lump sum second mortgages, but fixed-rate second mortgages nevertheless exist and serve valuable purposes for some homeowners.


Second mortgages are a main source of funds for homeowners because the early 20th century. Even banks and credit unions that do not make first mortgages regularly provide second mortgages and home equity lines of credit. Smaller banks, credit unions and lenders can better afford to make second mortgages because they are smaller in quantities than first mortgages. Fixed-rate next mortgages, as long as interest rates are low, stay the loan of choice for many homeowners.

Time Frames

The time period from application to approval to closure can be critical to homeowners who need funds quickly for emergencies and other unplanned expenses. The time frame for repayment of second mortgages might help homeownersthe longer repayment periods of up to 15 or twenty years are usually favored.


Fixed-rate second mortgages comprise timely, often quite quickly approvals and closings. Borrowers face no undesirable surprise interest increases because the rate and payment amount are steady throughout the period of their loan. Repayment periods typically range from five to 20 decades, permitting borrowers to exchange monthly payments that match their income stream. Interest expenses are usually tax deductible, helping homeowners reduce the real cost of their next mortgage.


Adding another lien into a main residence is almost always a serious consideration. Think about your need for the funds, your regular monthly income, job security and if you plan to maintain your house for the very long term or market it in a few decades. It’s crucial to understand that in the event that you suffer financial hardship and cannot keep the next mortgage payments in a timely manner, the second-mortgage lender may foreclose on your house just as the mortgage holder may, forcing you to lose your house.


Fixed-rate second mortgages are rewarding income resources for lenders so be certain that you know your creditor or diligently research unfamiliar resources of loans. Avoid making any written commitments until you’ve got confidence in the potential lender. Carefully read all of second mortgage documents before registering any notes. Get whole disclosure concerning fees and loan terms. Demand answers that you may understand to some language that appears confusing or misleading.

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Will Bankruptcy Prevent Foreclosure?

If you are closing in on 3 months behind in your mortgage obligations, it might be time to consider bankruptcy as an option. Financially, bankruptcy is considered a last-resort option, but it does include a few advantages, including the ability to hold off creditors–including your mortgage company–while you handle your financial difficulties. But foreclosure will be only prevented by insolvency .

When to Consider Bankruptcy

The ideal time to consider bankruptcy is when you’ve fallen a minimum of three months behind in your mortgage obligations. At this point, your lender is very likely to locate your loan in default and begin foreclosure proceedings, of which you will be notified. With this point, your choices to refinance the loan or to work out a new payment plan with your creditor have likely dwindled. Foreclosure means your creditor needs the whole sum for the home, and if you do not have the money to cover it, you’ll end up on the hook for a significant sum of money.

Filing Bankruptcy Before the Foreclosure Sale

If you declare bankruptcy ahead of the foreclosure sale of your home, you’ll get what is called the automatic stay. For the most part, an automatic stay offers you protection against foreclosure. It means you can stay in the home. It also means your creditors can’t come after you to get cash until your case is discharged. Your creditor has the choice of attempting to get the automatic stay lifted, yet this process typically takes 2 to 3 months. So even if your creditor has the stay lifted, most bankruptcy cases are done within 90 days of filing, which means that you could be discharged prior to the purchase.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually means that you don’t have the financial means to cover any of your bills. When you are discharged, you are released from your obligation to pay your debts. However, Chapter 7 doesn’t prevent foreclosure on your property. The reason is that while your obligation to repay is released, the lien on the home is not canceled. The lien is the thing that takes you to give the home as collateral if you cannot repay. Therefore, in Chapter 7, the understanding is that you are likely going to concede your home to the bank anyway.

Chapter 13

In Chapter 13, there is an opportunity to keep your home and protect against foreclosure. During the automatic stay, you’ve got a chance to work out a fresh agreement with your lender. This agreement will likely consist of paying off the late payments and late interest during a period of around 5 years as part of a new loan agreement. You must have the money to manage the new payments and you must make all your payments in time. However, in case you can do this during the 3- or 5-year repayment period, you can keep your home. 1 benefit in Chapter 13 is that your trustee has the choice to get rid of second and third mortgages and convert them into unsecured debt, meaning that you likely won’t have to pay them off. This could occur if you do not have sufficient equity in your home to secure the rest of the mortgages.

Tax Liability

If you go through insolvency, the law as currently written doesn’t hold you accountable for unpaid taxes as a consequence of the defaultoption, which would be another reason to consider bankruptcy if you’re in default on your property. There are exceptions in Chapter 13, such as nonmortgages, with home equity capital for extra-curricular activities such as vacations, or loans for nonprincipal homes. But filing for Chapter 7 allows you to use these exemptions too, meaning that the losses won’t go on your tax return.

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FSBO Agreement

When homeowners sell their property, some of them prefer going FSBO–for sale by owner–to paying a real estate agent tens of thousands of dollars in commissions. A successful FSBO requires you to dedicate much more time into the sale, but it might generate more profits. If all goes well, the potential purchaser will be ready to sign a purchase agreement.


A FSBO purchase arrangement is just another name for a real estate sales contract: It places all of the terms which you and the purchaser agree on in writing. Contracts will include the purchase price, the date of closure, the size of this down deposit, a valid description of the house and a guarantee that your name is good, according to the Lawyers web site.


Your arrangement should also come with a list of contingencies, says FSBO Easy–conditions under which the deal could be called off with no penalty. In the event the purchaser needs a mortgage, as an instance, the agreement will depend on her finding financing in a set time. A purchaser who has his own house may insist upon a contingency that he has to sell his house before the sale goes through.


Check out the contract and the rest of the necessary paperwork ready before you meet with any buyers, FSBO Easy advocates. If a purchaser is amazed enough to create an immediate offer, you don’t wish to miss the chance or provide him the idea you don’t understand what you’re doing. You can download legal forms for your nation from multiple sites.


States not only have special formats such as contracts, they require other paperwork together with them. In California, as an instance, you must provide the purchaser with disclosure forms if you reside in an earthquake fault zone, a fire hazard zone, a flood zone, or even if there is an abandoned military site with live ordnance in a mile of your property.


If the buyer’s offer isn’t exactly what you want, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Don’t become emotional, even if you’re desperate for cash or you believe the offer insults your house: To negotiate successfully, you have to act as though you were a real estate specialist, with no personal stake on the market. If the purchaser agrees to modifications, or convinces you to alter, you are able to write the fluctuations on the arrangement, FSBO Easy states.

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What Exactly Are HUD Loans?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Federal Housing Administration insures home loans made by private lenders. These loans, generally called FHA loans, develop. Before taking out an FHA-insured loan, it is important for consumers to know how they differ from traditional mortgage loans.

HUD vs. Conventional

The most important difference between loans issued via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, and traditional loans issued by private lenders, is that HUD loans are insured by the FHA. This implies that if you default on an FHA-insured loan, the government will pay the creditor the cash it would have otherwise lost. As a result of this, these loans are less risky to lenders. This means that consumers can be charged lower interest rates for HUD loans by lenders. They don’t have to charge higher prices to supply them with increased financial protection.

Down Payments

FHA-insured loans issued by HUD include another main benefit over traditional mortgage loans: They need smaller down payments. Lots of home buyers could afford monthly mortgage payments. They struggle, however, to come up with the down payment dollars that many traditional mortgage lenders need. Lenders vary, but many ask borrowers to get a down payment of 10 percent to 20 percent of a home’s purchase price. For a $200,000 home, that may run from $20,000 to $40,000, a significant quantity of money. FHA-insured loans, however, need just a 3.5 percent down payment. For the same $200,000 loan, then, debtors could only come up with a down payment of $7,000. That is a simpler financial burden to bear.

Reduced Closing Costs

Closing expenses, the fees that traditional lenders charge borrowers, can earn a mortgage loan even more expensive. According to Bankrate.com, closing prices average $2,732 on a $200,000 mortgage loan. FHA loans, however, include reduced closing costs. Lenders can charge a maximum of 1% of the amount borrowed when originating an FHA loan. That usually means that closing prices might be a maximum of $2,000 on a $200,000 mortgage loan.

No Immediate Originating

HUD does not directly arise its loans. It only insures loans. Private lenders, banks, thrifts and other financial institutions actually originate these loans. Consumers who apply for FHA loans, then, must do so via a private lender that’s licensed to utilize the government. Fortunately, most lenders are HUD-registered.

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