Aging in Place: Avoiding NJ Foreclosure in Retirement

NJ foreclosure

Entering retirement can be a time of celebration and relaxation, but it can also lead to financial stress. You’ve spent your whole life working towards this moment, but managing your finances on a fixed income can be hard to get used to. While ideally you would be living debt-free in retirement, many homeowners are taking their mortgages and other debts with them into their senior years. If you are worried about how to continue to pay for your home after retirement, there are some steps you can take to avoid facing a NJ foreclosure.

No matter how much you plan for retirement, one unexpected event can throw everything off balance. Unforeseen expenses are some of the biggest reasons retirees struggle to make their mortgage payments. Medical bills can quickly amount to a small fortune. Divorce can leave one person struggling to make mortgage payments alone. Loss of income can affect homeowners even after retirement, due to loss of a part-time job or loss of invested funds. If you find yourself facing even one of these hardships, it may be difficult or impossible to make a mortgage payment.

If you believe a lower monthly payment would allow you to stay in your home, you should consider a loan modification. With a loan modification, your interest rate can be lowered, the loan term can be extended, and/or the principal can be reduced to make monthly payments more affordable. In order to be eligible for a loan modification, you need to prove to your lender that you can’t afford your current mortgage payment, but could if the payment was lowered.

When applying for a loan modification, it is really helpful to have an experienced attorney advocating for your interests. When applying alone, homeowners inexperienced with the process can make mistakes or neglect to provide sufficient evidence of their income. Lenders will reject applications if they believe the requester doesn’t have enough income to meet the lower payments. However, it may just be that you have not listed all of your income, or have have failed to describe your income appropriately. Any money you are receiving has the potential to help your chances of getting approved for a loan modification. At Veitengruber Law, we know what lenders are looking for and how to create an application will be approved.

While you are working to avoid foreclosure, it might be worth looking into increasing your income. If you have the space, renting a room to a relative or friend or renting out an unused space for storage can help supplement your retirement plan. Many retirees hold part-time jobs like dog walking, babysitting, elderly care, and freelancing. Even if you only take a job long enough to get your loan modification approved and pay off some debts, you can resume a carefree retirement once the threat of foreclosure is no longer looming.

The State of New Jersey has made efforts to give retirees a better chance of maintaining their standard of living while continuing to live in the garden state. Law makers have stepped in to help struggling seniors with the Property Tax Reimbursement Plan, also known as the “Senior Freeze.” For seniors who meet a list of requirements, this program freezes property taxes at the amount paid at the time of retirement. Under this program, any increases in NJ property taxes paid since retirement will be reimbursed. This program helps struggling seniors achieve a more consistent, lower cost of living.

Your retirement years should be stress-free and happy. Veitengruber Law is experienced in offering expert legal and financial advice to carry you through retirement with financial security. Enjoy your golden years the way you should—in the comfort of your own home.

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After Foreclosure: What is the Legal NJ Eviction Process?

nj eviction

What is a Sheriff’s Sale in NJ?

At Veitengruber Law, we understand the intricacies surrounding losing a property or navigating the options one may have when their property is in jeopardy. Part of understanding New Jersey law and the legal NJ eviction process may also involve understanding what a Sherriff’s Sale is, and we can help.

 

A Sheriff’s Sale in NJ is a sale handled by a Sheriff that is ordered by a court when the owner has unsuccessfully paid the judgment. According to New Jersey law, a Sheriff’s Sale is navigated within the local rules of each County Sheriff’s Department, and takes place at each said office. Anyone interested in purchasing a Sheriff’s Sale property can easily find the list of real estate properties available online at the county court website or at the actual Sheriff’s Department during normal business hours.

 

A Sheriff’s Sale (when referring to real estate) generally involves a property that is in danger of/or in foreclosure. The property is sold “as is” and any money generated from the Sheriff’s Sale is applied toward the outstanding lien owed on the judgment. If someone were to become the highest bidder at the sale, they would be required to place a deposit on the property, while understanding the risk of losing the property and part of the deposit in accordance with New Jersey law. The risk of the buyer losing the property has to do with the New Jersey law that states the debtor has a 10 day redemption period in which they may try to pay the lien and recover their property or object to the sale formally through court. If the 10 day redemption period expires and the new buyer pays the the sale price in full, the transaction is deemed complete and the title will then be given to the buyer.


What Happens Next?

The process following a Sherriff’s Sale can be confusing and frustrating, but we can expertly help you navigate this next phase. Once the new owner is in possession of the deed to the home, they cannot simply “kick you out” – this is illegal and would be considered an Unlawful Detainer. New Jersey law has specific rules about the eviction process and the steps that must occur for official eviction to take place.

 

The first step the new buyer must take is to file for a Writ of Possession which allows the County Sherriff to evict any occupants of the home. The County Sherriff then has to deliver notice to the occupants, at which point you have several choices. You could wait out the 30-90 day time-frame and attempt to save money to be prepared to move out of the property. Another option for you may be to ask for “cash for keys” where the new buyer may be inclined to cover moving out expenses for you to leave the home sooner. Veitengruber Law could also help you navigate other options such as a hearing to stay the eviction in front of a judge where you would appear before the judge with valid concrete reasons to postpone the eviction. The final resort could be filing a bankruptcy petition, in which case an automatic stay would occur and the eviction process would be halted indefinitely.

 

How Do I Determine What is the Best Option?

 

Veitengruber Law can help you understand all of your options, and we strongly urge you to take advantage of our expertise! Call today for your FREE one-hour comprehensive consultation to start understanding what the right answer is for YOU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facing NJ Foreclosure? Why You NEED a Foreclosure Defense Attorney

nj foreclosure defense attorney

If you’re facing foreclosure proceedings, it can seem like the worst has already happened to you. In such circumstances, some New Jersey homeowners elect to represent themselves (via filing a pro se answer), skipping meeting with a foreclosure defense attorney at all. The question sometimes seems to be why someone who has already begun to lose their home would need—or choose to spend money on—a foreclosure defense attorney?


You NEED a foreclosure defense attorney in New Jersey!


 

The frank truth is that a defendant who chooses to file a pro se answer is almost certainly wasting both their time and their money at a time when both are most needed. New Jersey Court Rules that speak to mortgage foreclosure are wholly different from those governing other matters, so an individual’s or family’s attorney (who specializes in other areas of the law) may not be able to provide adequate legal advice in such cases.

Did you know that having a modified home loan isn’t a valid defense against foreclosure in New Jersey? So even if you’ve already rearranged your finances and have come to an agreement with the holder of your loan (good luck with that), the court is really only interested in the agreement you had, how much you owed, and the legal right of the plaintiff to foreclose on  you. If you’re expecting compassion and empathy when you get to court, think again.

There are even times when a homeowner HAS had valid legal ground on which they could have based a strong defense, yet due to their lack of information, they have missed this life-altering opportunity entirely. Instead of saving their homes, they have lost their opportunity to influence the foreclosure proceedings at all.

Occasionally, defendants may look through prior foreclosure case outcomes here in New Jersey and conclude that a foreclosure filed this year will follow the same trajectory, from legal hurdles that must be cleared to causes of delays. However, the cause of delays and catalysts for prior successful defense can be entirely different now than they were even five years ago. Furthermore, a competent review of such cases often reveals that mitigating factors were not at all what a lay defendant has taken them to be, thus a defense based on the factors the cases may have in common is not going to prove at all helpful.

If you’re looking for legal advice online, skip the dubious sources of information and instead connect directly to our experienced New Jersey foreclosure defense attorneys.

At the writing of this article, there are no active delays in place that would serve to restrain a foreclosure plaintiff seeking judgment.

Defendants in New Jersey foreclosure cases should not develop their own defense strategies. We absolutely recommend meeting with an experienced foreclosure defense attorney who can ensure that any actions taken are in their client’s best interest.

In particular, we must reiterate that attempting to navigate the New Jersey Court Rules and New Jersey foreclosure laws is always an error that can only consume your time, your money, and perhaps your opportunity to save your home.

By contrast, meeting with an experienced foreclosure attorney can result in you having more options, a full understanding of the impact of each of these options on your finances long-term, and the peace of mind that comes along with knowing you’ve protected yourself. The legal system is not designed to take care of you; that’s our job.