The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that, in 2011, the state of Georgia suffered the fourth highest rate of foreclosures in the U.S. Of course, not every default on mortgage payments results in a foreclosure notice and not every foreclosure notice results in an actual foreclosure of the home. Some homeowners have been able to prevent foreclosure through modifications or "work-outs" through the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) (www.naca.com) or through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
New guidelines effective June 1, 2010, and later modified, streamlined the modification process by making it more orderly and ensuring participating lenders respond to homeowner inquiries in a timely manner. However HAMP has still fallen short of its goal of preventing foreclosures. If HAMP remains a viable and funded option, the guidelines which provide a HAMP modification cannot be denied solely because of a bankruptcy filing would most likely remain in effect. If so, HAMP would continue to be an option even though the homeowner had filed a Chapter 13 case or a Chapter 7 case.
Options are available
A homeowner concerned with falling behind on mortgage payments or who is facing foreclosure is clearly at a disadvantage in dealing directly with the mortgage lender or the lenders attorney. An experienced bankruptcy attorney on your side can make all the difference. At a time in Georgia in which homeowners have experienced depreciation of home values, homeowners often find that their home is "underwater" (the value of the home is less than the balance owed on the home). Depending on your situation, either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help preserve your home, get control of your debt and finally get closure with your creditors.
For example, if a homeowner has a 2nd mortgage and the value of the home is less than the loan balance on the 1st mortgage ("underwater"), a homeowner in a Chapter 13 case would be allowed to "strip off' the lien on the 2nd mortgage. The remaining loan balance on the 2nd mortgage would be treated as an unsecured debt (like a credit card or medical debt) through a Chapter 13 plan to adjust your debts.
In a Chapter 7 case, it may be possible to eliminate a homeowner’s personal liability for any mortgages on the home and still remain in the home. A free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys will allow you to discuss enjoying that option which best suits your particular situation and concerns.