Foreclosure Law in Alabama
In Birmingham, Alabama, foreclosure is a legal process through which an entity which has issued a mortgage takes possession and/or ownership of the property that secured the mortgage, because the individual who took out the mortgage has consistently failed to make payments on it. The property in question is usually a house.
Foreclosure most frequently is a forced sale of a house at auction, since those are the most common types of property bought through a mortgage. Banks will typically try to get rid of the property as quickly as they can, selling it for as much money as they can get in a short period of time.
Like every other state in the U.S., Alabama permits homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a procedure through which a court oversees the sale of the house by the lender. The purpose is to see that the lender takes reasonable steps to notify the public of the auction, and other steps to ensure that the house sells for the highest price possible. This is meant to protect the borrower, making it less likely that they'll have to pay a large deficiency judgment (the remaining amount due on the mortgage if the house sells for less than the remaining balance).
In a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan identified as a "non-recourse loan." While the regulations governing these loans are complex, it most essentially means that, once the house is sold, and the sale price doesn't cover what the borrower owes, the lender can't go after the borrower for the remainder. They simply have to take the loss.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Birmingham, Alabama
Communication between you and your lender is perhaps the most significant way to prevent foreclosure. Ignoring the issue is guaranteed to be counterproductive. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to dealing with lenders.
You should be mindful of the fact that your bank wants you to make your monthly mortgage payments - they likely aren't scheming to trick you into giving up your home. This isn't out of altruism, it's due to the fact that foreclosure is almost never as lucrative for the bank in the long run than a mortgage that is paid in full over a period of years or decades, with interest accruing the whole time. For a bank, a foreclosure is just a last resort to cut their losses.
Because banks don't specifically enjoy foreclosing, they will probably be willing to work out an alternative payment plan with you, if necessary. Nonetheless, if you think that this might be needed in the near future, you should contact your lender immediately. The sooner they know about it, the more options you have.
Some buyers in Alabama, when none of the above options have worked, resort to a "short sale." This includes selling a house which is about to be foreclosed, typically for less than its market value. If the house sells for less than what's left on the mortgage, the homeowner is relieved of the duty to pay the balance. If you have decided that you have no hope of making your mortgage payments, and foreclosure seems inevitable anyway, this might be the way to go.
Can a Birmingham, Alabama real estate attorney help?
If you are worried that your Birmingham, Alabama house is going to be foreclosed, and want to try and stop this, a reliable real estate lawyer can help.