Foreclosure Law in South Carolina
In West Columbia, South Carolina is a process permitting 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 commonly is a forced sale of a house at auction, since those are the most common types of property bought through a mortgage. Banks will normally 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.
In every U.S. state, including South Carolina, a borrower has a right to a judicial sale of their foreclosed property. A judicial sale is just an auction supervised by a court. The purpose of this is to make sure that the lender takes reasonable steps to sell the home for the highest possible price, and to ensure that the homeowner has an opportunity to bid on the house, if he or she is able. It is in everybody's interest for the bank to get the highest price possible for the house, even the borrower's. If the house fetches a higher price than what's left on the mortgage, the buyer can keep what's leftover. On the other hand, if it fetches less, the buyer might have to pay the deficiency.
In many states, mortgages fall into a category of loans recognized 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 West Columbia, South Carolina
First and foremost, you need to communicate with your lender, and not dismiss 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 mainly 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 you experience a sudden change in your financial situation, your lender, in an effort to keep you from defaulting, might be willing to accept lower monthly payments, at least temporarily.
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 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 West Columbia, South Carolina real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in West Columbia, South Carolina, and want to try to prevent this, the advice and assistance of an accomplished real estate lawyer can mean the difference between keeping or losing your home.