Foreclosure Law in Texas
In Travis County, Texas is a process allowing 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.
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 Texas, and every other state, foreclosed homeowners can go through a "foreclosure by judicial sale." In this form 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 safeguard the borrower: it helps prevent them from still owing money after the house is sold at auction.
In some states, original mortgages are regarded "non-recourse" loans. This means that once the house or other property that secured the mortgage is sold, and if it sells for less than the balance of the mortgage, the lender has to absorb the loss, and cannot sue the borrower for the remainder. This usually does not apply to second mortgages or refinanced loans.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Travis County, Texas
To prevent foreclosure, communicating with your lender is key. Let's face it - if you're in a case where foreclosure looks like a possibility, your life is not going to be easy for some time. While it's challenging to step up and acknowledge unpleasant facts, doing so will make your life much easier in the long run. If your lender is aware of your situation, it's far more likely that you'll be able to work something out with them.
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.
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.
In Texas, some buyers have no choice but to resort to a short sale. This is simply the sale of the house, and using the funds to pay off the remainder of the mortgage. One benefit of a short sale is that, if the house sells for less than the mortgage balance, the remaining debt is discharged, and the borrower is free and clear.
Can a Travis County, Texas real estate attorney help?
If you live in Travis County, Texas 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 experienced real estate lawyer probably will.