Home Foreclosure In Georgia: A Comprehensive Guide.

By Kelly Sollinger

What Is The Foreclosure Process In Georgia?

Georgia is a “non-judicial foreclosure” state.  That means the lender can foreclose on your home without filing suit or appearing in court before a judge.  The procedures for foreclosure are spelled out in the Official Code of Georgia, Sections 44-14-162 through 44-14-162.4. 

Foreclosure is the legal process by which a lender takes possession of a property when a borrower defaults on their mortgage payments. In Georgia, the foreclosure process is generally a non-judicial process, meaning that it does not go through the court system. Here are the basic steps of the foreclosure process in Georgia:

Notice of default: 

When a borrower misses a mortgage payment, the lender will typically send a notice of default, informing the borrower that they are in default and giving them a certain amount of time to cure the default.Notice of sale:

If the borrower does not cure the default, the lender will send a notice of sale, which sets a date for the property to be sold at a public auction. The notice of sale must be published in the county legal organ (newspaper) for four weeks prior to the sale.Trustee’s sale: 

On the date of the sale, the property is sold to the highest bidder at a public auction. The sale is conducted by a trustee, who is appointed by the lender. The winning bidder must pay the full amount of the bid in cash or certified funds.Redemption period: 

After the sale, the borrower has a right of redemption, which allows them to buy back the property by paying the winning bidder the full amount of the bid, plus interest and fees, within a certain amount of time (typically one year).

It’s important to note that the foreclosure process in Georgia can be complex, and there are many rules and regulations that must be followed. If you’re facing foreclosure, it’s important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process.How To Avoid Foreclosure In Georgia.

Foreclosure is the legal process that lenders use to take possession of a property when the borrower is unable to make payments. If you’re a homeowner in Georgia who’s struggling to make mortgage payments, there are several steps you can take to avoid foreclosure. Here are some options:

  • Contact your lender: The first step is to contact your lender as soon as possible if you’re having difficulty making payments. Explain your situation and see if they can offer any temporary relief or loan modification options to help you catch up on your payments.
  • Consider a forbearance plan: A forbearance plan is an agreement between you and your lender to temporarily suspend or reduce your mortgage payments. It’s a short-term solution that can give you some breathing room and allow you to get back on track with your payments.
  • Contact your lender or servicer and make arrangements for a “short sale.” A short sale in Georgia refers to the process where a homeowner sells their property for less than the outstanding balance on the mortgage, with the approval of the lender. The process involves negotiating with the lender to accept the lower sale price, and the lender typically forgives the remaining debt. In Georgia, the process of a short sale can be complicated, and it’s important to work with a real estate agent who is experienced in this area. Additionally, it’s essential to understand the tax implications of a short sale in Georgia and how it may impact your credit score. If you’re considering a short sale in Georgia, it’s recommended that you consult with a real estate attorney or tax professional to fully understand the legal and financial ramifications.
  • Contact your lender or servicer and make arrangements for a “deed in lieu of foreclosure.” In Georgia, a deed in lieu of foreclosure is an option for homeowners who are unable to keep up with their mortgage payments and facing foreclosure. With a deed in lieu, the homeowner voluntarily transfers ownership of the property to the lender in exchange for forgiveness of the remaining debt. This option can be less damaging to the homeowner’s credit score than a foreclosure, but it may still have some negative impact. To qualify for a deed in lieu in Georgia, the homeowner typically needs to demonstrate financial hardship and an inability to make the mortgage payments. The lender will also need to agree to the deed in lieu, and there may be tax implications and legal considerations that need to be taken into account. It’s recommended that homeowners considering a deed in lieu consult with a real estate attorney or a tax professional to fully understand the legal and financial implications of this option.
  • Consult a private attorney to see if a bankruptcy petition is advisable. If you are facing home foreclosure in Georgia, it may be advisable to consult a private attorney to determine if a bankruptcy petition is a viable option for you. Bankruptcy is a legal process that can help individuals and businesses who are struggling with debt. Depending on the type of bankruptcy filing, it may be possible to prevent or delay foreclosure proceedings, discharge certain debts, and restructure remaining debt payments.
    A private attorney can evaluate your individual situation and advise you on whether a bankruptcy petition is the right course of action for you. They can also guide you through the bankruptcy process and help you understand the potential consequences, including the impact on your credit score and any legal or tax implications.
    It’s important to note that bankruptcy should not be taken lightly, and it may not be the best option for everyone. If you’re considering bankruptcy as a means to avoid foreclosure, it’s essential to speak with a private attorney who is experienced in bankruptcy law in Georgia to fully understand your options and the potential consequences.
  • Apply for a loan modification: A loan modification is a permanent change to your mortgage terms, such as a lower interest rate, longer repayment period, or a reduction in the principal amount owed. This can make your payments more affordable and help you avoid foreclosure.
  • Sell your home: If you’re unable to keep up with your mortgage payments, consider selling your home to a company like Georgia Fair Offer before foreclosure proceedings begin. This can allow you to pay off your mortgage and avoid damage to your credit.
  • Seek assistance from a HUD-approved housing counselor: HUD-approved housing counselors can provide free advice and guidance on how to avoid foreclosure. They can help you understand your options and negotiate with your lender on your behalf.

The best way to avoid foreclosure is to act quickly and communicate with your lender as soon as you know you’re unable to make payments. There are several options available, so it’s important to explore them and find the one that’s right for you.What Is A Deed In Lieu Of Foreclosure In Georgia?

A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a legal document signed by the homeowner to voluntarily transfer ownership of the property to the lender in exchange for a release from the loan. This is sometimes referred to as “giving the property back to the bank.” This option is only available if the lender agrees to accept the deed and to cancel the mortgage.    

In some situations, if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae, you may be able to lease your home after signing a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. Even if your loan is not owned by Fannie Mae, there may be a similar leasing option offered by your lender. 

What Is A Short Sale In Georgia?

  • A short sale occurs when you sell your home for less than the balance remaining on your mortgage. It is important to understand that a short sale must be approved in advance by your lender. If it is approved, the holder of your mortgage agrees to accept the proceeds of the sale and to cancel the mortgage. 
  • You may also be eligible for the federal government’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (“HAFA,”) which offers short sale and deed-in-lieu options. For more details on HAFA eligibility requirements, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.

What Is A “Loan Modification” In Georgia?

  • A loan modification is a written agreement between you and the holder of your mortgage to change the original terms of your mortgage (such as the length of the loan, principal balance, or interest rate). If you obtain a permanent loan modification, then your monthly payment may be reduced to a more affordable amount. You apply for a modification in much the same way that you apply for a loan, by providing personal and financial information, tax returns, proof of employment, etc. If your numbers meet the numerical formula used by the lender, then your application will be approved and your loan terms will be changed. If not, then your application will be denied, and you will still be bound by the terms of the original loan. Please be aware that in some cases, the length of the loan or the principal balance may be increased in return for a lower interest rate and monthly payment.
  • Some lenders allow homeowners to participate in a trial modification program while their application for a permanent modification is being considered. Please be aware that if your application for a permanent modification is denied, the lender may demand that you pay the difference between your original monthly payments and the trial program payments. Moreover, if the homeowner is delinquent in making payments under the trial modification program, it is almost certain that the application for a permanent modification will be denied. 
  • Many lenders have their own loan modification programs, with their own formulas and requirements.  The federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”) is designed to help homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship. If you are found to be eligible for HAMP, then your loan may be modified to make your monthly mortgage payment no more than 31% of your gross monthly income. For more details on HAMP eligibility and requirements, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
  • But be warned: applying for a loan modification may not stop a foreclosure. There have been instances where homeowners have had their homes sold at foreclosure while their modification applications were still pending. You should take action immediately if you receive a notice that your home will be foreclosed on by the holder of the mortgage.  

How Can A Bankruptcy Petition Help Me In Georgia?

Under federal law, the valid filing of a bankruptcy petition acts as a “stay” of legal proceedings against the debtor, including a non-judicial foreclosure. Such a petition will suspend the foreclosure proceedings if it is properly filed with the Clerk of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court before the property is sold on the courthouse steps. However, in some cases, the mortgage holder may seek permission from the bankruptcy judge to resume foreclosure proceedings. Moreover, if you want to keep your house, then you will have to continue paying the mortgage during the bankruptcy proceedings.

The filing of a bankruptcy petition has serious consequences. You should seek legal advice before making that decision to ensure that it is in your overall best interests. Bankruptcy As A Foreclosure Defense In Georgia.

In Georgia, bankruptcy can be used as a foreclosure defense. Filing for bankruptcy will trigger an automatic stay, which prevents creditors, including mortgage lenders, from taking any collection actions against the debtor. This includes foreclosing on the debtor’s property. However, it is important to note that bankruptcy is not a guaranteed defense against foreclosure and should be considered in consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.

One option to stop foreclosure in Georgia is to file for bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be given a 3 to 5-year payment plan to catch up on the home’s arrearage. This means that if a lender is pursuing foreclosure, they will be ordered to stop, giving you time to get on top of your finances. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also an option, but it involves liquidation and is not always the best choice for homeowners.What Is Pre Foreclosure In Georgia?

The period after you fall behind in payments, but before a foreclosure officially starts, is generally called the “pre foreclosure” stage. (Sometimes, people refer to the period before a foreclosure sale actually happens as “pre foreclosure,” too.)How Long Does It Take For A Bank To Foreclose On A House In Georgia?

In Georgia, the foreclosure process can vary depending on your circumstances. However, on average, it takes about one to three weeks to complete. If your property was sold at a foreclosure auction, the eviction process takes about 14 to 30 days.How Many Months Behind Before Foreclosure In Georgia?

The foreclosure process begins when the homeowner misses a payment. Under federal law, lenders must wait for a homeowner to be delinquent for at least 120 days before beginning the foreclosure process.Notice Of Foreclosure Letter In Georgia.

A notice of foreclosure letter is a legal document that is typically sent by a lender to a borrower when the borrower has defaulted on their mortgage payments. In Georgia, the foreclosure process is governed by state law and typically involves several steps.

The notice of foreclosure letter is typically the first step in the foreclosure process. This letter will inform the borrower that they have defaulted on their mortgage and that the lender intends to foreclose on the property. The letter will also provide information on the amount of the default and the actions the borrower can take to try and avoid foreclosure.

In Georgia, lenders are required to send the borrower a notice of foreclosure letter at least 30 days before the foreclosure sale date. The letter must be sent via certified mail to the borrower’s last known address.

If the borrower fails to cure the default within the 30-day period, the lender may proceed with the foreclosure sale. The foreclosure sale is typically conducted by a public auction, with the property going to the highest bidder.

It is important for borrowers who receive a notice of foreclosure letter in Georgia to take immediate action to try and avoid foreclosure. This may involve contacting the lender to negotiate a repayment plan or seeking the assistance of a housing counselor or attorney.How Long Do Your Have To Move Out After Foreclosure In Georgia?

While many homeowners choose to simply move out after their houses are sold in foreclosure, if you don’t move out on your own, the new owner must make a demand for possession of the property and begin eviction proceedings. In Georgia, the eviction process usually takes between 14 to 30 days.Deficiency Judgement In Georgia

A deficiency judgment in Georgia is a court order that allows a lender to collect the remaining balance of a mortgage or loan from a borrower after the collateral has been sold at a foreclosure sale or auction. In other words, if the amount of the sale does not cover the outstanding balance on the loan, the lender can seek a deficiency judgment to collect the difference from the borrower.

In Georgia, a deficiency judgment can only be obtained if the foreclosure is a non-judicial foreclosure, which means it is conducted without going through the court system. If the foreclosure is a judicial foreclosure, the lender cannot seek a deficiency judgment.

To obtain a deficiency judgment in Georgia, the lender must file a separate lawsuit within six months of the foreclosure sale. The lawsuit must show that the sale was conducted properly and that the proceeds of the sale were not sufficient to cover the outstanding balance of the loan.

It is important to note that Georgia has certain laws that protect homeowners from deficiency judgments. For example, if the foreclosed property is a homeowner’s primary residence and the loan was a purchase money loan (used to purchase the property), the lender cannot seek a deficiency judgment.What Is The Redemption Period In Georgia?

In the state of Georgia, the redemption period refers to the amount of time a homeowner has to redeem their property after it has been sold at a tax sale.

The redemption period in Georgia is one year from the date of the tax sale. During this time, the homeowner can pay the delinquent taxes, interest, and any other costs associated with the sale and reclaim their property.

It’s important to note that if the property is not redeemed within the one-year redemption period, the purchaser of the tax sale certificate may apply for a tax deed to take ownership of the property. Therefore, it’s crucial for homeowners to act quickly if they want to redeem their property after a tax sale.

With regard to foreclosure tax sales, the right of redemption essentially means that you have the right to pay off the total debt, including the principal balance, along with certain additional costs and interest, in order to reclaim your property.What Effect Does Foreclosure Have On My Credit?

Foreclosure is a severe negative credit event, resulting in a significant drop in credit score, according to FICO, with the score potentially falling by 100 points or more. Foreclosure stays on the credit report for seven years, starting from the date of the first missed payment that led to the foreclosure.

Having a foreclosure on your credit report means that you did not manage to keep up with your financial obligations, which can have a significant impact on your credit score. The impact of foreclosure on your credit score could serve as a red flag to future creditors that you may not be a reliable borrower.

The house doesn’t go back to the bank and it’s over…that’s just the beginning.

For 7 years, you can’t qualify for loan.

For 7 years, you can’t qualify for a car loan.
For 7 years, you can’t qualify for apartment rental.
For 7 years, you can’t even qualify for some jobs.
For 7 years you get calls from bill collectors.

5 Stages of Foreclosure Grief

  1. Denial – the first reaction many people have when they learn that they might be losing something important to them is to deny that it’s happening. “There must be a mistake. I’m not going to lose my home.”
  2. Anger – when you understand that this is really happening and denial can’t last forever, you get angry at whomever you think is to blame or the closest person to you. “Why is this happening to me? It’s not air. Those greedy banks are to blame!”
  3. Bargaining– involves you trying to avoid the cause of the grief entirely through some action. “Maybe if I work really hard and tell the bank about my hardship they’ll let me keep the house.”
  4. Depression – you are typically saddened by the reality of your situation. “I have so many good memories in this house.”
  5. Acceptance – you accept the reality of your situation, have stable emotions about it, and look for a solution. “This is really happening, I wonder if there’s anything I can do about it.”

No matter what stage you may be in, Georgia Fair Offer can help to provide a solution & guide you through this confusing time. Once you’ve accepted your situation, the next best move is to speak with knowledgeable professionals with experience like us that help people in your situation everyday. This is not as uncommon as you think.

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