Timing is everything!

It is often said that your purchase of real estate is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. This is true whether the property is your home, rental property, or your business location. Despite this truism, many people take a “head in the sand” approach to protecting their investment when finances are tight.

A recent Court of Appeals opinion follows the growing trend that limits the rights of mortgage debtors. The Court ruled that once a foreclosure runs its course (the redemption period has expired), the mortgage debtor no longer has standing to challenge any mistakes made in the foreclosure process. Other prior cases have indicated this result as well.

The result in this case emphasizes the need to review your rights and options early on and before it is too late. If you find yourself behind on your mortgage, your options should be reviewed before a mortgage foreclosure sale. In fact, the best time is when you first miss a payment on your mortgage.

Many mortgages come with rights to cure a default if you act promptly. You might be able to renegotiate the terms (do a work out agreement) to avoid foreclosure. You might have rights that can be protected through bankruptcy. The right to collect rents during the foreclosure process from some rental properties may be lost by waiting. Even the right to stay in possession will come to a quick and abrupt end without much notice if you wait too long. These rights lapse or fall away when you wait.

So again, the best course when finances get tight is to evaluate your options early on and map out a strategy of how to deal with a default.

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