Foreclosure Law in Alabama
In Madison County, 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 person who took out the mortgage has consistently failed to make payments on it. The property in question is usually a house.
Foreclosure most commonly is a forced sale of a house at auction, since those are the most common types of property bought through a mortgage. Banks will normally 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 authorizes homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a process 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. Basically, 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 Madison County, Alabama
It's extremely important that you engage in continued communication with your bank. Lenders are surprisingly willing to make accommodations if it means they still get paid something, but in order to accommodate your situation, they have to know about it.
You should be mindful of the fact that your bank wants you to make your monthly mortgage payments - they probably 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 simply a last resort to cut their losses.
It's possible that your lender is willing to negotiate a plan that results in temporarily-lower payments on your mortgage, especially if this means that they will be able to get some payments, instead of none at all.
Finally, there is the "short sale." Normally considered a last resort, a short sale results in the borrower losing their home, but discharges almost all of their remaining mortgage debt. If the house is worth far less than the balance of the mortgage, this might be a good option. In Alabama, when a house is sold in a short sale, the proceeds go to the lender. If it sells for less than the mortgage balance, whatever's leftover is forgiven. If it sells for more, the surplus goes to the homeowner.
Can a Madison County, Alabama real estate attorney help?
In Madison County, Alabama, dealing with a possible foreclosure is never easy. However, the assistance of a brilliant real estate lawyer can make the whole process much more bearable, and possibly delay or even prevent the foreclosure altogether.