A recent study estimates that 47% of foreclosed properties are still occupied.
When you first see that stat you may be surprised… but don’t be.
What most people don’t realize is that banks aren’t in the business to own homes.
They are in the business to loan people money. But when they have to foreclose on a house… the bank is forced to own the home until they’re able to sell it to get all or most of their money back.
Some quick facts about Virginia:
- Virginia foreclosures are nonjudicial. Virginia law doesn’t require a lender to do a whole lot to complete an out-of-court foreclosure. The minimal steps are to send you one notice and publish a notice of the sale in a newspaper.
- Lenders could use a judicial procedure, but it is not necessary.
- When your home is foreclosed, you have the right to remove all your personal property in the home.
- A new Virginia law, H340, which went into effect on April 22, 2020, provides the right to get a 30-day foreclosure stay (halt in legal proceedings) to homeowners who’ve been affected by the coronavirus outbreak during the governor-declared state of emergency.
Often, banks have found that when a Portsmouth foreclosed house goes vacant… there is a much greater chance that the house will fall into disrepair. Often times banks would rather have you in the property even after you stop paying your payments and the foreclosure is started because it fends of vandals and keeps the house in decent working order. But that’s not the primary goal of the bank.
There’s been a lot of talk in the media about people living for free after foreclosure – and even some stories about banks “abandoning” properties.
In those stories, people are avoiding house payments for months, even years.
That sounds great, doesn’t it! Let’s all live for free 🙂
It can’t be that simple, right?
No bank would purposely neglect to collect payments. The only way that you get to live without making any payments is when some major mistakes were made by the banks.
But you might get lucky! It’s possible, and it’s happened before. However, it’s not exactly legal to avoid payments that you owe, and it can get you in big trouble.
So why are so many foreclosed homes still occupied? It’s important to remember that no one has an interest for the house to be vacant. Such homes are targets for vandalism and crime.
Staying in the property can help the bank maintain the value of their investment (somewhat), so it’s actually in their best interests to keep it occupied. Partly because of the ways that the foreclosure laws are structured in Virginia, banks may ask you to leave while wanting you to stay.
There are a few perfectly legal ways to remain in your home, even after foreclosure.
How To Stay In My Home After Foreclosure In Portsmouth VA
Not all these options are available (depending on your situation and your lenders), and you’ll need some expert/legal advice along the way to help you get through.
1) Wait it out. Honestly, this is a pretty bad option, but it seems to be increasingly common. You definitely shouldn’t run away and abandon your house when the first notice of default shows up. Remember that the proceedings take months, sometimes years. It’s not over until it’s over, so don’t give up early. On the other hand, don’t wait until the sheriff shows up to evict you to start packing up your stuff.
2) Go to court. In some very rare cases, judges are granting stays and delaying evictions. This is really only a valid option if you (and your lawyer) can prove that the bank has neglected a legal requirement during the foreclosure process. In recent years, a lot of fraudulent behavior at banks has been uncovered – so we may see an increasing trend of using the courts to stop foreclosure. Fighting banks with lawyers is very difficult, expensive and time-consuming, even if you’ve got a perfect case.
3) Propose a move-out bonus – “Cash for Keys”. Often buyers of occupied foreclosure properties spend thousands of dollars on lawyers and other costs of eviction, so why not save everyone the time and expense by taking some of that money yourself? It’s known as “cash for keys”. It sounds a little greedy, but greasing the wheels does help everything to run smooth. Plus, you can help out the bank and the buyers by not abandoning the house to trespassers before they’re ready to take possession.
4) Rent it back. Yes, it sounds crazy, but some banks are willing to take on previous homeowners as tenants in their property. That’s only a short-term fix, as they’ll want your agreement to vacate the premises as soon as they find someone to buy the property. In some cases, we can even purchase the property and rent it back to you.
It’s really good that you’re reading this page and exploring your options. We help homeowners like you to find creative solutions. One of them is the consider selling the property, but that may work only in certain conditions with a certain minimum level of equity to make sense for an investor to take over the property/payments.
We can’t help everyone, but we might be able to help you.
We buy local Portsmouth VA houses like yours from people who need to sell fast.