Challenging a lender’s effort to foreclose on your home can give you time to set up your next home and plan a move. It might even allow you to work out a solution with the lender to prevent the foreclosure, such as a loan modification. In general, a homeowner will be able to delay a foreclosure for longer if the lender pursues a judicial foreclosure than if the lender pursues a non-judicial foreclosure. Fighting a judicial foreclosure can be less complicated and costly as well. Before going to court, though, you will want to find out whether you have a legitimate defense. If you do not, you may lose money unnecessarily and not significantly delay the foreclosure.
Delaying a Judicial Foreclosure
You will have a few weeks to respond to a foreclosure lawsuit filed by the lender. Failing to respond will result in a default judgment for the lender and an order to proceed with the foreclosure sale. If you have a defense, you can prevent the lender from getting a default judgment. If your defense is strong, you may be able to extend the process to a trial. You may be able to prevail at trial if you have adequate evidence to support your defense. This would result in the judge dismissing the case. A dismissal usually will be “without prejudice,” which allows the lender to start over from the beginning.
If your defense is not strong, you may be able to delay the process by responding to the lawsuit, but the delay may be shorter. The lender probably will bring a motion for summary judgment and will get a judgment that ends the case unless you can show that there is a genuine factual dispute.
While it might take years to resolve a foreclosure lawsuit when a homeowner has a strong defense, it might be a matter of months before summary judgment ends a case. Still, this gives you more time than a default judgment, which might happen about a month after the lender files the case. You can also try to delay the process as much as possible by waiting until near the deadline for responding before filing your answer. However, you will not want to run the risk of responding too late and waiving your rights.
Delaying a Non-Judicial Foreclosure
The process of fighting a non-judicial foreclosure involves bringing your own lawsuit in state court and seeking an injunction to stop the foreclosure sale. In some cases, a homeowner may need to post a bond to compensate for the delay caused by this action. A bond can be a substantial amount of money, so you may want to think twice about challenging a non-judicial foreclosure if your only goal is delaying the process.
You probably will want to retain an attorney to bring this type of case, especially since you have the burden of proof. Legal fees can add up quickly, which can be another reason to hesitate about bringing this action unless you have a strong defense. Also, if you do not have a strong defense, challenging a non-judicial foreclosure may result in only a few months of delay before the court dismisses your case.