Foreclosure Law in Missouri
In Belton, Missouri, foreclosure is a process through which a lender that issued a mortgage loan retakes possession of the property that was purchased with the mortgage in the event that the borrower has defaulted on his or her payments.
If an ordinary consumer faces foreclosure, it normally involves a home that was purchased with a mortgage from a bank. The bank will normally 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.
Like every other state in the U.S., Missouri 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).
In a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan recognized 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 Belton, Missouri
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 straightforward 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 normally leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Basically, a short sale in Missouri 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 Belton, Missouri real estate attorney help?
If you live in Belton, Missouri and believe that your house is in danger of being foreclosed, you may have more options and protections than you think. You may not know what all of them are, but an accomplished real estate lawyer probably will.