If the house is vacant you may want to ask the bank to take a deed in lieu of foreclosure or try a short sale In certain circumstances you can even rent the house during the foreclosure process.
Generally, it is up to the lender to decide when to foreclose. Too bad you didn't just keep living there and saving the rent!
However, you may have liability for vacant property (trip and fall or "public nuisance" if drug dealers take it over or burn it down). Often, lenders don't want to foreclose because they do NOT want to be responsible for mowing the lawn, fixing broken windows or personal injury for anyone who comes on the property. They'll just leave you on the hook.
I have had some success in such lingering situations by recording a quitclaim deed back to the lender. You need to prepare a quitclaim deed on the forms acceptable to the County Recorder (legal description, notarization, etc.) and pay the County Recorder to record it. Usually the total is less than $100.
LEGALLY a deed is not valid until the grantee accepts it, so from a HYPER-technical point of view, this deed may be INVALID. It is not a perfect solution. However, it has worked a few times for me.
If you need further clarity, please email me at MICHAEL@MIRELAND.US Answers to questions are for general information purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. This is not legal advice, simply information. You SHOULD NOT act on this information without consulting a competent bankruptcy attorney in your area and providing ALL relevant information.
There is nothing you can do to force the mortgage holder to foreclose. You MIGHT be able to sign a quitclaim deed over to them and file it with the county recorder's office. But check with a real estate attorney first.
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I agree with the other responses. Unfortunately, the best course of action is usually to continue living in the home until foreclosure. Once the house is vacant more than 30 days, most homeowners insurance policies have an exception for coverage. I would contact the Sheriff to find out when a Sheriff Sale is likely. Note that when lenders get "force placed" insurance, it does not protect you. There are steps you can take to make the lender responsible for maintenance.
The foregoing answer is for informational and educational purposes, not for purposes of legal representation. This answer is based on New Jersey law and is necessarily general in nature.. Laws in other states may be different, and each situation is different, so this answer might not apply accurately to you. No attorney client relationship is to be implied from this answer. Always seek independent legal advice.
Can I ask a question of you? I understand that you appear to have vacated the property 2+ years ago, but would you consider keeping the house if you could get the mortgage under control?
The lender can take forever to catch up post mortgage and may have lost it in the shuffle between the foreclosure department and the bankruptcy department. Are you certain that they have started the foreclosure process? Do you know how far into the process they are?
My firm focuses on loan modification and bankruptcy and everything in between. The HAMP programs create realistic mortgage plans for homeowners. If the terms of the agreement don't meet your satisfaction, you can just walk away.
The above should not be construed as legal advise. You should make an appointment with a qualified attorney in your state to discuss the specifics of your case. Additionally, nothing in this writing should be construed as a retainer agreement. Should you wish Veitengruber Law to be your attorney, please contact us to make an appointment.