Guide to the Foreclosure Process in Illinois
Illinois homebuyers have been hit hard during the recent recession and the collapse of the housing market. You may find yourself underwater on a mortgage or unable to make your usual payments. This guide can help you to understand the foreclosure process in Illinois and how you can stop foreclosure with the help of your mortgage lender or a foreclosure/bankruptcy lawyer.
Step 1: Missing Payments
When homeowners fall behind in their mortgage payments, they are often reluctant to call their mortgage lender. Many people become afraid to talk to their lender, hiding from phone calls and throwing away letters. This is the worst thing you can do—your lender has no desire to begin the foreclosure process in Illinois. Mortgage lenders make money on mortgages, not foreclosures, and often your lender can work out a deal with you that keeps you in your home with your credit score mostly intact.
You may be able to set up a payment plan to pay off late payments, or ask for a forbearance that can let you delay your payments until you have a little more money. Your lender will talk to you about your financial situation and help you come to an agreement. You may also be able to renegotiate the terms of your mortgage to lower your payment.
Step 2: The Foreclosure Complaint
Usually, your lender will file a foreclosure complaint after you have missed three or more mortgage payments consecutively. The foreclosure process in Illinois courts begins when your lender files paperwork with your county clerk to start a lawsuit against you. The document where this lawsuit starts is called a foreclosure complaint, and you will be served with a copy of the complaint at your residence.
You will have 90 days to reinstate your mortgage after receiving the notice. Your right of reinstatement means that you can keep your house if you pay back all money owed on the mortgage within 90 days. While this might seem impossible, remember: you can still sell your house to avoid the damaged credit that comes with a foreclosure action. Selling your home in a “short sale” may also be possible if you want to sell quickly and get out from your mortgage obligation.
Step 3: Trial and Judgment
The next step in the foreclosure process in Illinois is the trial. You will be given a trial date along with the foreclosure complaint you are served with. At the trial, you may wish to hire a lawyer who can advocate for you and bring up any problems with the foreclosure or mortgage paperwork. Lawyers experienced with the foreclosure process may be able to defend you against your lender's foreclosure action.
Step 4: Redemption Period and Foreclosure Sale
If you lose at the trial, you will have a 3-month period called the redemption period in which to pay your mortgage balance in full. If you do not do this, the final step of the foreclosure process in Illinois is called the foreclosure sale. Your house will be sold at auction and you can be forced to leave the premises by the new owner.