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A foreclosure is the process where your mortgage company takes back the title to your house. Title is a legal term and essentially means who owns what. I have title to my house. If I look it up in the town’s records, you see my name right next to it just like yours. In New Jersey we have judicial foreclosure, which means a complaint has to be sent into the court, the judge reviews it, and the judge ultimately determines if the property should be foreclosed. If the judge decides it should be, then the judge puts in an order saying title and the property is going to go to bank X on such and such a date at a sheriff sale. The sheriff sale is where the sheriff stands on the courthouse steps and auctions off the property. Anybody can buy the property. Nine times out of ten the bank ends up with it because for somebody else to buy the property they have to pay off the entire mortgage all at once.

If your property is being foreclosed, it’s important that you see an attorney right away because there’s only a very limited number of defenses to that. Essentially either you pay the money or the mortgage is invalid for some reason like you didn’t sign off on it, you never heard of it. Barring those two defenses, really your next step is to file bankruptcy and get the automatic stay imposed. The automatic stay is a federal court process where everybody you owe money to including your mortgage company has to stop pursuing you, has to stop foreclosure, lawsuits, or any other action, and go to the bankruptcy court to sort things out. It gives you the opportunity to propose a repayment plan, modify your mortgage or otherwise work out your debts.

If you are in need of experienced legal counsel in New Jersey, please contact Tomes & Hanratty, P.C. and we will be happy to assist you.