Foreclosures for unpaid property taxes vary widely by state and county. Sometimes the house is auctioned off to satisfy the taxes. Other times, a lien or certificate is sold to the high bidder. And in some areas, no sale is conducted and the property is simply transferred from the homeowner to the county or other tax agency. In most jurisdictions, homeowners have the right to redeem their property after the auction for delinquent taxes.
The following are some defenses homeowners can still raise after a sheriff sale to delay or challenge the foreclosure process and auction:
* Irregularity in conducting the sale
* Sale price at auction was grossly inadequate
* Homeowners did not receive notice as required
* Sheriff sale was not advertised as required
Any physical problems with a property make proceeding with a foreclosure much less desirable for lenders. An appraisal, Broker’s Price Opinion, or other type of valuation from a trustworthy source should be included with any workout proposal, loan modification, or short sale request homeowners make if there are deficiencies in the condition of the house.
If borrowers run into a brick wall dealing with the mortgage servicing company, they can go a step above and contact the holder of the loan. Large banks, institutional lenders, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, among others, will often push a servicer to intervene and work out a solution with homeowners to stop foreclosure, modify a loan, or delay a sheriff sale.
Most people think that Wall Street was primarily responsible for securitizing junk loans and unleashing the subprime crisis. In reality, though, over 50% of mortgage securitizations are guaranteed or issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (two government-sponsored enterprises), or Ginnie Mae (Government National Mortgage Association).
In a mortgage modification or other workout agreement, it is always easier to negotiate down interest charges, late fees, and other unexpended costs to the lender. These are costs the lender has not paid out of pocket, but has instead just tacked onto the loan balance. They can and should be negotiated away.
According to the Truth in Lending Act, homeowners can request their mortgage servicer to identify for them the person or company or organization that holds the mortgage. The servicer must comply with this request.
Sometimes homeowners are able to delay a sheriff sale over and over again. While this seems a little counter-intuitive, if the lender does not accept the request for a postponement, it may face liability for acting in bad faith. Pursuing foreclosure and using the courts is usually considered the last option, and if the owners are working on a mortgage modification or short sale, for instance, the county auction can be called off relatively easily.