Foreclosures hurt everyone involved. As the homeowner, you lose the security of your neighborhood and housing, quality of life, and possibly equity in the home. If your home remains vacant after a foreclosure, your community loses and stands to inherit a blighted property. In some states, if the bank has completed your foreclosure you have the opportunity to redeem your home, but in the state of Georgia, no redemptive period exists.
Georgia's Foreclosure Process
In general, lenders must follow the laws governing a foreclosure in their state. Depending on the state, lenders will follow either a judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure process. In the state of Georgia, the foreclosure process is nonjudicial. A nonjudicial foreclosure happens outside of the court system, and the lender need only make a notice of default with the county recorder to begin proceedings. Since you don't get an opportunity to formally dispute the foreclosure in court, the lender can complete a nonjudicial foreclosure in as short as six months. The state requires the lender to notify you 30 days before the sale of your property and publish it in the announcement section of the newspaper for four consecutive weeks prior to the sale. While you may not be able to stop the foreclosure process once it's begun, you do have until the date of the sale to pay the lender what you owe.
No Redemptive Period in Georgia
A redemptive period after a foreclosure, where one exists, allows you to legally get your home back by paying off the principal of the loan, late fees, and any additional interest the lender adds to your debt. In some cases, the redemptive period can last from one month to a year. Georgia law does not provide for a redemptive period, so you have no legal grounds or opportunity to get your property back after the foreclosure of your property.
Preventing a Foreclosure Before it Happens
If you're behind on your mortgage payments, there are several things you can do. Instead of waiting until after the foreclosure is completed, speak with the lender as soon as you miss a payment and explain your situation. In some cases, the lender may already have an in-house mortgage modification program set up for borrowers having trouble paying their mortgages. Consider giving the bank a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, which releases you from your mortgage obligation and protects your credit history. Bankruptcy may be an alternative if your financial situation is bleak and you're behind on several other loans. If the lender has not started a foreclosure on your home, a bankruptcy will effectively keep the lender from initiating it until the court creates a bankruptcy plan with all of your creditors.
If you're underemployed or unemployed through no fault of your own and struggling to pay your mortgage, HomeSafe Georgia can provide unemployment mortgage assistance if your loan was not in default before you lost your job. Several additional online resources exist to help you avoid foreclosure and assist you with counseling, including the HomeOwner Connect site, the Making Home Affordable program, and the Homeownership Preservation Foundation's Hotline.
Monica Dillon has more than 10 years experience in real estate sales, marketing, investing and appraising. She specializes in energy efficiency building practices and renewable energy. Dillon has been syndicated by the National Newspaper Publisher's Association. Her work has also appeared in the "Journal Of Progressive Human Services."