Foreclosure Law in South Carolina
In Charleston, South Carolina is a process authorizing a lender of a mortgage to take possession or ownership of the property that secured the mortgage in the first place, to cut their losses when a borrower defaults on his or her loan.
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.
Like every other state in the U.S., South Carolina permits homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a procedure 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).
Some states treat mortgages as "non-recourse loans." A non-recourse loan is one that is secured by the borrower's property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. Essentially, this means that a lender in a foreclosure can take the house that was mortgaged, but nothing else. If the house sells for less than the lender is owed, it cannot go after the borrower.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Charleston, South Carolina
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.
Bear in mind that banks aren't in the business of real estate speculation - they're in the business of lending money, and making profits through interest on their loans. In short, the bank doesn't really want your house - they'd much rather have you continue making your mortgage payments. For banks, foreclosing on a home is a last resort. Essentially, nobody likes foreclosures, and everyone wants to prevent them.
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.
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 South Carolina 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 Charleston, South Carolina real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in Charleston, South Carolina, 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.