Zombie Foreclosures

Zombie Foreclosures


Zombie ForeclosuresZombie foreclosures aren’t much of a problem in Omaha, but over the last year Oklahoma has seen problems. Zombie foreclosures is a term describing properties where owners have moved out but the banks have yet to take over. These properties often become eyesores as the weeds grow and the vandals take over.

Zombie foreclosures? That’s when the owner of a foreclosed home leaves only to find out years later that he or she still legally owns the home, the banks never officially foreclosed on these properties. The owner finds that he/she is on the hook for property taxes and other fees, such as fines for not complying with housing codes and ordinances (and even face jail time in some instances if you don’t meet repair deadlines), or the local government may send you a bill for yard maintenance, repairs, trash removal, and/or graffiti scrubbing.

In a typical foreclosure, the bank takes possession of the home and title, then auctions it off to the highest bidder. But when foreclosures soared after the 2008 housing crash, banks had trouble unloading certain properties. So to save on the taxes and other costs associated with seizing a home, the banks never officially foreclosed on these properties. That leaves the former owner with the legal obligation to pay those expenses.

There are even “vampire foreclosures” where the owner still lives in the foreclosed house. The vampire problem is more prevalent than you might think. According to RealtyTrac, 47% of bank-owned homes across the U.S. still have prior owners living in the property.

If you are in trouble and feel defeated notify your servicer before you leave the property, it may be possible to work out a plan of action that would be beneficial to both parties. There are many loss mitigation programs (short sales, deeds in lieu, deeds to leases, etc.), you need to understand all your options.

What should you know before selling your house as a short sale?

  • Short Sales Don’t Always Cancel the Remaining Debt on the Mortgage. – When a lender approves a short sale, what is the lender agreeing to do? At the very least, the lender is agreeing to remove or release the lien on the property. A seller would have a near impossible task in selling a property without this lien release.
  • Is the lender also agreeing to cancel the seller’s obligation to repay the loan in full? – Not necessarily. Some lenders ask sellers to sign new, unsecured promissory notes before approving the short sale. Other lenders, without asking for new promissory notes, reserve their right to collect thedeficiency — the remaining balance of the debt. While both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure processes are available, the majority of foreclosures in Nebraska are nonjudicial. Lenders may obtain a deficiency judgment after either type of foreclosure. The lender must commence a lawsuit within three months after the foreclosure sale date to obtain a deficiency judgment.
  • You May Owe Taxes on the Deficiency – If your lender forgives you for a deficiency after a short sale, you may owe taxes on the forgiven amount. That’s because it’s considered income by the IRS, upon which you may owe federal and state income tax. Under the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from your income all or a portion of the amount of forgiven debt in a short sale.

We are Styl Properties, Inc. here to help homeowners out of any kind of distressed situation.  As investors, we are in business to make a modest profit on any deal, however we can help homeowners out of just about any situation, no matter what!  There are no fees, upfront costs, commissions, or anything else.  Just the simple honest truth about your home and how we can help you sell it fast to resolve any situation.

Give us a call today at 402.909.0608 to let us know what YOU need help with!

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