Illinois homeowners face many challenges and complexities when dealing with what has come to be known as a zombie foreclosure. This type of foreclosure can cause multiple financial and legal problems for the homeowner if not correctly addressed. The following explains a zombie foreclosure, the negative impacts and how you can fight against it.
What is a zombie foreclosure?
A zombie foreclosure happens when a homeowner moves out of their property prematurely after they have defaulted on their mortgage loan. An individual may move out because they assume the foreclosure process will cause them to lose their home, so they proactively relocate. However, various issues can interrupt the foreclosure process, leaving the homeowner financially responsible for the property. Often, these homeowners are not aware that the foreclosure process has stalled.
The costly consequences
Leaving a home unoccupied and in a zombie state can create unintended yet costly consequences for a homeowner. The individual may still be held financially responsible for unpaid property taxes and bills for services or maintenance. They may face lawsuits from their homeowners association for unpaid fees and receive fines for violating zoning laws. Abandoned homes can negatively impact the value of other properties in the neighborhood as they fall into disrepair and can become vandalized or occupied by squatters.
Fighting a zombie foreclosure
To prevent a zombie foreclosure, the best foreclosure defense is to ensure you make your mortgage payments on time so the lender has no grounds to foreclose on the property. If foreclosure is inevitable in your situation, remain in the home until you have received official notification to vacate. Your continued presence can facilitate ongoing communication with the lender so that you know when the title transfers out of your name. You can also confirm the transfer of title by visiting the county recorder’s office or website. You can also work with your lender to pursue a deed in lieu of foreclosure to ensure the process happens without issues.
Understanding the impacts of a zombie foreclosure can help you protect your rights as a homeowner. You can battle one with research and specialized expertise to remedy the situation and secure your financial future.