Homeownership. It has been called the key part of ‘The American Dream.’ Having a piece of land, even if a small one, and a house to call one’s own, is something many Illinois residents have envisioned since they were children. Since very few people these days can afford to purchase a home outright, this usually means that aspiring homeowners must borrow money to achieve their dreams. This is often in the form of a mortgage, which is a type of loan secured by the property which is being purchased. Unfortunately, this means that if something happens and a homeowner cannot pay his or her mortgage payments, the home can be taken by the lender to satisfy the loan.

The economic crisis of 2008 saw a dramatic rise in the number of people who were in danger of losing their homes to the foreclosure process. While this situation has eased a bit, unexpected events can occur to anyone that can interfere with the ability to afford house payments. Whether sudden unemployment, or a serious illness, the loss of income can have devastating consequences for a family’s living situation.

Losing a home to foreclosure can create a huge amount of stress, as having little or no income and a foreclosure on one’s record can make it difficult for a family to procure a place to live through renting or other means. Contemplating homelessness is a situation no one wants to be in. Illinois residents should realize, however, that there are alternatives to foreclosure. There are some legal defenses to foreclosure, as there are fairly strict rules that mortgage holders need to follow in order to complete the process. Further, there may be other alternatives to foreclosure, such as a ‘short sale’ where the house is sold for less than the mortgage, but without a formal foreclosure, or filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, which might allow a homeowner to keep a home.

The foreclosure process can be intimidating, emotional and complicated. Those facing this stressful time may wish to consider the fact that they don’t have to face it alone. Experienced foreclosure and bankruptcy attorneys at our firm may be able to work with Illinois residents to determine the best way forward to either keep a home, or minimize the damage that will be done by losing it.