The Foreclosure Procedure: Dos And Don'ts

Foreclosure can be a scary thought. For many people, the home represents the center of the family and is crucial for stability.

Understanding The Wisconsin Foreclosure Procedure

Foreclosure is the name of the process that ends with the sale of the real estate used as collateral for a mortgage note. The mortgage note requires timely installment payments on the debt in the manner set forth in the mortgage note. The mortgage requires that the real estate taxes are paid each year and that the property is insured. Failure to make payments when due, failure to pay real estate taxes when due or failure to keep the property insured are all defaults under a mortgage loan agreement. As the homeowner, you must be in default before a foreclosure can be filed to take your property.

The mortgage note and the mortgage require that notices be given before a foreclosure may be filed against you. It is important to review the note and mortgage terms to see if the proper notices are given. It is also important to keep good records of mortgage payments as the records of the mortgage servicer may not always be correct.

DO: Always Answer The Complaint

  • Once you are served with a foreclosure complaint, you have 20 days to file a formal answer in court in the first step to save your home. If you, the homeowner, do not file an answer, you have defaulted on the foreclosure and the lender is entitled to a judgment of foreclosure. Most counties in Wisconsin require that a hearing be scheduled before the default judgment is entered, but showing up at the hearing is not enough to stop the foreclosure. As the homeowner, you need to file an answer within 20 days after being served with the foreclosure complaint to be heard on any defense to the foreclosure.
  • If you answer without an attorney, it is important to respond to each allegation in the complaint. Any mistakes the lender has made should be explained in detail and any inaccuracies should also be detailed. A homeowner may have strong defenses and the lender is not always 100 percent right. It is important to obtain legal assistance.
  • It is also important that, as the homeowner, you are able to afford to stay in the home. Many lenders have loan modification programs or temporary payment forbearance. If the foreclosure is in a county with a mediation program, that program should be used. IT IS STILL IMPORTANT TO FILE AN ANSWER. Do not ignore the complaint.

The Reinstatement Period (Redemption)

Wisconsin foreclosures are judicial. This means the lender must take you to court to foreclose on your home. No one knocks on the door in the middle of the night and drags you out from your bed before a foreclosure judgment is entered and the redemption period has expired. In addition, federal law prohibits the filing of a foreclosure action before you are at least 120 days delinquent on your mortgage. This 120-day period is critical. At this point, there is still time to save your home. The lender is required to contact you during this 120-day period and assist you with options to foreclosure.

At Wolk Law Office, we have helped hundreds of homeowners stay in their homes. We may be able to help you, too. Contact foreclosure attorney Christine Wolk at Wolk Law Office in Oshkosh today at 920-385-5621. You can also contact us through email.