Foreclosure Law in Iowa
In Polk County, 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 person 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 usually involves a home that was purchased with a mortgage from a bank. The bank will usually 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 type 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 protect 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 known 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 Polk County, Iowa
It's very 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.
Throughout all this, you should remember one thing: the bank doesn't really want your house. After all, banks aren't real estate speculators, they're primarily money lenders. They stand to make a great deal of money if you are able to make your mortgage payments until it's paid off. They're likely to make much less if they're forced to sell your house.
If your financial situation suddenly changes, your lender may be willing to change the terms of your loan, at least temporarily, allowing for lower monthly payments. If this means that they will be able to get some money from you, with default as the alternative, it can become an attractive option for everyone involved.
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 Iowa 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 Polk County, Iowa real estate attorney help?
In Polk County, Iowa, dealing with a possible foreclosure is never easy. However, the assistance of a good real estate lawyer can make the whole process much more bearable, and possibly delay or even prevent the foreclosure altogether.