Foreclosure Law in Arkansas
In Fort Smith, Arkansas, 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.
In all states in the U.S., including Arkansas, borrowers have the option of foreclosure by judicial sale. This permits a court to oversee the sale of the property by the bank. The purpose of this is to get the house to sell for the highest price possible. While this might seem like something that would only benefit the bank, it is also a great benefit to the borrower, since it increases the likelihood that the sale will encompass the full balance of the mortgage, preventing them from having to pay it.
In many states, mortgages fall into a category of loans identified as "non-recourse loans." This means that, if the house is sold by the lender, the entire debt is eliminated, even if the sale price was less than the remaining balance on the loan. While the loss of one's home can be personally devastating, treating a mortgage as a non-recourse loan at least means that the homeowner will be more or less free to move on with their life once the property is foreclosed and sold.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Fort Smith, Arkansas
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 remember that the bank doesn't really want your house. They authorized a mortgage hoping to make a profit from interest, and that's what they'd much rather do. They aren't in the business of buying and managing real estate. Therefore, banks will sometimes go to surprising lengths to accommodate your financial hardship, especially if it's temporary.
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 Arkansas, 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 Fort Smith, Arkansas real estate attorney help?
If you are facing foreclosure in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and want to do everything practicable to save your house, the assistance of a reliable real estate lawyer might prove invaluable.