Foreclosure Law in Alabama
In Gulf Shores, 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 often is a forced sale of a house at auction, since those are the most common types of property bought through a mortgage. Banks will usually 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 allows 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).
Some states treat mortgages as "non-recourse loans." A non-recourse loan is one that is secured by the borrower's property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. Essentially, this means that a lender in a foreclosure can take the house that was mortgaged, but nothing else. If the house sells for less than the lender is owed, it cannot go after the borrower.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Gulf Shores, 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.
If you face sudden expenses, such as medical bills or a lawsuit, which put a serious but relatively short-term strain on your finances, you should notify your lender instantly. You might find that they are willing to accept lower payments, if this will keep you from defaulting.
As a last resort, you might consider a "short sale," which results in loss of the home, but it usually leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Essentially, a short sale in Alabama involves selling the house for whatever price it can fetch. The proceeds from the sale go to the lender, and if it sells for less than what's left on the mortgage, the balance of the debt is forgiven.
Can a Gulf Shores, Alabama real estate attorney help?
In Gulf Shores, Alabama, dealing with a possible foreclosure is never easy. However, the assistance of a reputable real estate lawyer can make the whole process much more bearable, and possibly delay or even prevent the foreclosure altogether.