Foreclosure Law in Iowa
In Ottumwa, Iowa, 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.
If an ordinary consumer faces foreclosure, it typically involves a home that was purchased with a mortgage from a bank. The bank will typically try to sell the house at a public option, with the hope of at least covering the remaining debt, to avoid taking a large loss.
In Iowa, and every other state, foreclosed homeowners can go through a "foreclosure by judicial sale." In this form of foreclosure sale, a court supervises the sale, ensuring that the bank makes every reasonable effort to get the highest price possible for the house. The purpose of this is to maximize the chances that the bank gets, at the very least, the remaining balance of the mortgage. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, it is intended to safeguard the borrower: it helps prevent them from still owing money after the house is sold at auction.
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 Ottumwa, Iowa
It's quite 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 case, they have to know about it.
You must keep in mind that banks are in the business of lending funds, not flipping property: the bank doesn't really want your house. To that end, they'll occasionally go to great lengths to accommodate your financial situation, whatever it may be. For banks, foreclosure is a last resort.
It's possible that your lender is willing to negotiate a plan that results in temporarily-lower payments on your mortgage, particularly if this means that they will be able to get some payments, instead of none at all.
Some buyers in Iowa, 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 Ottumwa, Iowa real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in Ottumwa, Iowa, and want to try to prevent this, the advice and assistance of an efficient real estate lawyer can mean the difference between keeping or losing your home.