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Understanding Foreclosures

It is an unfortunate commentary, but when economic activity declines and housing activity decreases, more real property enters the foreclosure process. High interest rates and creative financing arrangements are also contributing factors.

When prices are rapidly accelerating during a real estate “bonanza”, many people go to any lengths available to get into the market through investments in vacation homes, rental housing and trading up to more expensive properties. In some cases, this results in the taking on of high interest rate payments and second, third and even fourth deeds of trust. Many buyers anticipate that interest rates will drop and home prices will continue to escalate. It is possible that neither will occur and borrowers may be faced with large balloon payments becoming due. When payments cannot be met, the foreclosure process looms on the horizon.

In the foreclosure process, one thing should be kept in mind: as a general rule, a lender would rather receive payments than receive a home due to a foreclosure. Lenders are not in the business of selling real estate and will often try to accommodate property owners who are having payment problems. The best plan is to contact the lender before payment problems arise. If monthly payments are too hefty, it may be that a lender will be able to make some alternative payment arrangements until the owner’s financial situation improves.

Let’s say, however, that a property owner has missed payments and has not made any alternate arrangements with the lender. In this case, the lender may decide to begin the foreclosure process. Under such circumstances, the lender, whether a bank, savings and loan or private party, will request that the trustee, often a title company, file a notice of default with the county recorder’s office. A copy of the notice is mailed to the property owner.

If the default is due to a balloon payment not being made when due, the lender can require full payment on the entire outstanding loan as the only way to cure the default. If the default is not cured, the lender may direct the trustee to sell the property at a public sale.

In cases of a public sale, a notice of sale must be published in a local newspaper and posted in a public place, usually the courthouse, for three consecutive weeks. Once the notice of sale has been recorded, the property owner has until 5 days prior to the published sale date to bring the loan current. If the owner cures the default by making up the payments, the deed of trust will be reinstated and regular monthly payments will continue as before.

After this time, it may still be possible for the property owner to work out a postponement on the sale with the lender. However, if no postponement is reached, the property goes on the block. At the sale, buyers must pay the amount of their bid in cash, cashier’s check or other instrument acceptable to the trustee. A lender may “credit bid” up to the amount of the obligation being foreclosed upon.

With the recent attention given to foreclosure, there also has been corresponding interest in buying foreclosed properties. However, caveat emptor: buyer beware. Foreclosed properties are very likely to be burdened with overdue taxes, liens and clouded titles. A buyer should do his homework and ask a local title company for information concerning these outstanding liens and encumbrances. Title insurance may or may not be available following a foreclosure sale and various exceptions may be included in any title insurance policy issued to a buyer of a foreclosed property.

Your local title company will be happy to provide additional information.

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SALLIE CHESTER, REALTOR®
EXIT Real Estate Consultants
5175 Sunset Blvd, Ste 3
Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: 803-707-8595
Fax:  803-358-0889
Email: salliechester@exitrec.com

Client Testimonials

We, of course, are very happy and blessed to have had Sallie sell our home. Her team is wonderful also. We highly recommend Sallie Chester!  Melissa B. ~June 2019
Sallie and her team were very helpful and 100% on top of the entire selling process of our condo. From our original meeting, Sallie gave us great advice on selling quickly and for a fair price. She worked tirelessly to negotiate terms with the buyers' agent about the conditions of the transaction and kept us up-to-date with any changes that had come about. We used Sallie to both purchase and sell our condo and I would be happy to recommend her to anyone buying or selling property in the Columbia area. I truly appreciated her expertise and persistence in everything she did. Joshua S. ~June 2019
Sallie was very professional and dependable in all of our dealings.  We appreciated her counsel and experience, and would recommend her highly. Karen and Eddie W. ~May 2019
We recently purchased a house in Harbour Watch, that we absolutely love, through Sallie Chester.  Our relationship with Sallie began with a get to know each other phone call where trust was soon established.  We then made the trip from Virginia to South Carolina to meet Sallie in person, and she showed us several lots and houses that weekend, one of which we ended up purchasing.  The purchase took longer than anticipated because it was initially contingent on the sale of our house in VA.  Sallie was extremely patient and responsive to all of our needs throughout the entire process.  Sallie is honest, hardworking and provides excellent customer service.  We highly recommend using her services. Ann and Barry N. ~February 2019
Sallie Chester was everything we could have hoped for in the sale of our house; very knowledgeable with good advice and with such a friendly attitude. I would highly recommend Sallie to anyone who is seriously wanting to sell or buy property on Lake Murray. Shirley and David S. ~February 2019
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