Foreclosure Law in Iowa
In Storm Lake, 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 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 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 a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan identified as a "non-recourse loan." While the regulations governing these loans are complex, it most basically means that, once the house is sold, and the sale price doesn't cover what the borrower owes, the lender can't go after the borrower for the remainder. They simply have to take the loss.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Storm Lake, Iowa
First and foremost, you need to communicate with your lender, and not ignore the issue. Ignoring a problem with your mortgage will not make it go away, and can only make things worse. You should be forthright with your lender, and stay in touch with them as much as possible.
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 typically leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Typically, 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 Storm Lake, Iowa real estate attorney help?
If you are worried that your Storm Lake, Iowa house is going to be foreclosed, and want to try and stop this, a knowledgeable real estate lawyer can help.