“What is the timeline on an Alabama foreclosure?”
My name is John Watts. I’m an Alabama consumer protection attorney and today we’re going to answer, “I’m afraid I may be foreclosed. What is the timeline or the timetable in Alabama for a foreclosure?”
It’s a great question. It’s one that we get quite a bit, so we wanted to address it in this video.
There is before the foreclosure.
There is the actual foreclosure sale itself.
Then there’s after the foreclosure.
Stage one is before the foreclosure.
What happens first in that stage?
Typically you get a “default letter.”
This comes from your mortgage company. It could come from a foreclosure lawyer, but almost always from your mortgage company. It will say, “You are in default.” That almost always is “for failure to pay.”
There are a few other reasons but we will focus on failure to pay. It says, “You have not made your payments and if you do not fix this or cure this within 30 days, then we’re going to move to the next step.”
What do you have to do to cure it?
Typically, you have to pay the past due amount. If you’re two months, or so, behind, which would be pretty early for a default letter, but we do see that. So you are 60 days behind. Let’s say your mortgage payment is $1500 a month. It says, “Look you are in default. To cure this you have to pay $3000.”
It will typically give you 30 days to cure it or fix it.
If you don’t cure it or fix it, then you move into what’s called the acceleration letter.
About half the time this is from the mortgage company. The other half of the time, it’s from a foreclosure law firm like Sirote and Permutt. There’s about 4 or 5 firms in Alabama. This acceleration letter will say, “Look, you did not cure the default, so instead of having 30 years to pay off your mortgage, it’s all due right now.”
Within a certain period of time, it has to be at least 30 days, your mortgage company or the foreclosure lawyer will say, “We will conduct the foreclosure sale.”
To conduct the foreclosure sale, there has to be three weeks of advertisement in a paper in your county.
Let’s start to put all of this together. To get up until the foreclosure, you have to be at least 120 days past due.
Typically, you get that default letter, and the earliest I’ve seen is 60 days, normally it’s more like 90 days. Let’s say you get it at day 90, then they give you 30 days to cure it. Now you’re at 120 days. Then the acceleration letter comes and it has to set the foreclosure at least 30 days out.
That puts you at 150 days.
There’s a rule under RESPA, The Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, that says you cannot start the advertisement in the newspaper until you’re 120 days late. There’s a little bit of controversy over exactly how do we figure that. That’s the safe way to read that law. The foreclosure itself, which is stage two, is really going to be at least 120, more likely about 150 days past due to give you an idea on the time frame.
Stage two is the actual foreclosure.
This is literally the day of the foreclosure when the person is standing at the front entrance of the courthouse outside. Typically it’s a set of steps, and the person reads the auction, or conducts the auction.
Normally the mortgage company is the one that bids on the property. This has got to be at least 120 days past due, more likely we’re talking 150 days past due.
Occasionally we’ll see a mortgage company say, “We’re going to foreclose on you on day 60.” Not in Alabama you’re not, unless RESPA, that federal law does not apply. Again, you’re at least 120 days, more likely 150 days, when this takes place.
Stage three is after the foreclosure.
After the foreclosure, you typically get a “10 day vacate letter”, a letter that says, “You’ve got 10 days to vacate or leave the premises.” If you don’t do that, then you’re typically sued in what’s called an ejectment lawsuit. It’s kind of like an eviction lawsuit. That gives you the stages of the foreclosure.
So what do you do now if you are behind?
What do you do if you go, “I’m behind, and I just got the default letter” or “I’m afraid I’m about to get the default letter” or “maybe I got the acceleration letter” or “maybe I’m being advertised in the newspaper. What do I do?”
If you’re very close to the foreclosure date, then you may not have time to do this, but if you have just received the default letter, maybe you have not even received the default letter yet, then let me make a suggestion. We have a very comprehensive set of videos at www.ForeclosureDVD.com.
If you go there, you can enter in you name, email, phone number, and you’ll get access to those videos along with a workbook.
Let me say this, If you’re looking for a 5 minute answer to how to save your home, you will not like this.
It is very, very detailed. I believe the videos range from may 20 minutes to 45 minutes in length and they’re really built around the workbook that we send out. It’s only going to do you good if you’re very serious about it and you want to really put in some effort to save your home. Ultimately, this comes down to you either have to spend time or you have to spend money to save your home, really to do anything.
With a foreclosure, the odds are you’re going to have to spend time and spend money.
There’s no money investment required. There’s a pretty significant time investment, but if you’ll go through this video series, you’ll have a really good understanding of where you are and what you can do. I would be more than happy to speak with you if you’re in Alabama.
We’ll do a short consultation, and we waive our consultation fee. Let’s figure out, “Okay what do you need?”
Sometimes the answer is, “You know what, you’re on the right path. Just keep on doing that.” Hopefully things will work out. If they don’t, get with me and we’ll talk about suing the mortgage company.
Other times we say, “You know what? It’s going to be better if you hire either my firm or some other lawyer that knows what he’s doing about this type of stuff so that you can have the best chance possible of saving your home.”
Check out that video series ForeclosureDVD.com. I think you’ll find it very useful and I hope that this video has been helpful. If you have questions, comments, you can put them below this video. You can fill out a form to contact us, or you can call us, 205-879-2447.
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