The Georgia Foreclosure Process
The foreclosure process can be an overwhelming experience. Whether you are behind on property taxes or missed a few mortgage payments, foreclosure can put your lifestyle at risk. But homeowners in Georgia need to know that they do have rights. Foreclosure can wreck havoc on your life so it’s important to get ahead of the process.
Here’s what Georgia homeowners need to know about the foreclosure process and what they can do to avoid losing their home.
Homeowner Rights During Georgia Foreclosures
Homeowners with a mortgage have a responsibility to pay that mortgage on time, but failure to do so does not remove all of a homeowners rights. Even during foreclosure, borrowers have rights that should be protected. For instance, lenders must follow all of the rules and regulations surrounding foreclosure, or the home’s owner has the right to file a claim of wrongful foreclosure. If you are facing foreclosure and feel that something was done wrongfully, you have the right to seek the help of an attorney.
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The Georgia Foreclosure Procedure in a Nutshell
Notice of Default
Georgia offers both judicial and non-judicial foreclosures. Non-judicial foreclosures are the most commonly used type. Should a homeowner default on a loan, typically by failing to repay the loan as required, the lender will notify the borrower with a Notice of Default.
Notice of Sale
Next, the lender must publish notice of the foreclosure sale for four consecutive weeks before the property goes to foreclosure auction.
A foreclosure auction is held between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month on the steps of the courthouse. The highest bidder, which may be the lender, receives a deed of foreclosure signed by the lender and becomes the property’s new owner.
Vacate the Property
After foreclosure, the homeowner must leave right away. It typically takes two to 4 weeks for the bank to file the eviction action. If the property is a rental and is occupied by tenants, they have 90 days to vacate the property.
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Georgia Foreclosure Facts
Georgia foreclosure law allows for deficiency judgments; requiring the borrower to pay any remaining balance on the loan that was not covered by the home’s sale.
Georgia does not offer a statutory right of redemption. Once the deed is issued to a successful bidder at the foreclosure auction, the property cannot be reclaimed.
Homeowners can also lose their homes in a similar foreclosure process if they fail to pay their Georgia property taxes.
Probate does not stop foreclosure. The lender can still seek to foreclose on the property of a deceased debtor unless the estate continues to make payments.
A Georgia foreclosure will drop your credit score significantly, often by as much as 100 points. The higher your credit score, the worse the potential damage will be.
On average, a foreclosure will stay on your credit report for seven years. This can make it harder to get a new mortgage or rental agreement.
Alternatives to Foreclosure in Georgia
Because foreclosure happens very quickly in Georgia, homeowners considering selling should start the process before the foreclosure process starts. Banks will often agree to a short sale, selling the home for less than what was owed as full payment for the loan, to avoid the hassle and expenses of foreclosure.
Georgia homeowners can file for bankruptcy to stall or potentially halt foreclosure proceedings. When a bankruptcy is filed in Georgia, an automatic stay stops collection actions against the homeowner.
A foreclosure can be stalled or stopped completely if the homeowner and lender can come to an agreement. Often this means a temporary reduction in the monthly mortgage payment.
Selling your house in as is condition is a fast and stress-free alternative to foreclosure. This option is ideal for homeowners who are looking to get out from under the threat of foreclosure quickly and move on with their life.
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