How Can Homeowners Reverse a Sheriff Sale?

Published: 09th November 2009
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Too many homeowners who have already lost their homes are looking for one final chance to get them back. They have contacted nearly every loss mitigation company, nonprofit organization, and government agency in the country, all of which have informed them that they do not qualify for any plan currently available to help them get their properties back after a foreclosure already been completed.

Is this true? Is there really no hope for borrowers whose homes have been sold and the auction has been confirmed? In most cases, this is not true, as there are still some remedies available after a foreclosure where a sale can be reversed and the owners given back ownership of their house. One of the main problems is that few companies or foreclosure specialists know about these last resort methods.

However, homeowners should be aware that these methods to get a home back after foreclosure may be very difficult to pull off. They should not be relied upon as the first option to stop foreclosure, as it can be much easier to qualify for a refinance, loan modification, or repayment plan. For the borrowers looking for one final opportunity, or those just trying to delay eviction for as long as possible, though, challenging the sale may be worth considering.

There are a number of grounds on which a foreclosure auction can be set aside, just as there are numerous claims to bring up in defending the lawsuit in the first place. In most cases, homeowners will have to bring their claims into the local court and attempt to have the sale reversed before they are evicted or the house falls into disrepair. The different types of claims that homeowners can bring into court are discussed more below.

The first way to challenge a trustee sale is based on irregularity in the conduct of the auction itself. This is often due to a lender or trustee not following the correct notice requirements to have a house sold through the auction process. Material violations of notice requirements may be enough to set aside the sale, although small technical violations may be ignored by the court unless they adversely affect the foreclosure or have the possibility of encouraging fewer bids or lower bids.

The inadequacy of the sales price may also be grounds to set aside a foreclosure auction, although the common definition of "inadequate" has been taken to mean shocking the conscience of the court. Courts in many different areas have either set aside or refused to set aside foreclosure auctions due to low sale prices at auction. It may be wholly dependent on the judge in the case to decide whether or not to reverse the sale.

For instance, some courts have decided cases such as these: $875 for a property with $27,000 in equity was not set aside. $2,000 for a property worth $18,000 was set aside. $10,304 for a property worth $57,500 was set aside. Thus, it may be very difficult to determine whether a price at auction is inadequate without bringing the issue into court.

An inadequate price coupled with irregularity in the conduct of the sale may make an even stronger case for the court to set aside the auction. Courts have decided over time that the lower the price of the property, the more any technical or minor irregularity or procedural violation will be taken into account. This may give homeowners strong motivation to challenge their trustee sale.

A final reason to set aside a sale may be an inadequate price plus unfairness to the borrowers. The definitions of "inadequate" and "unfair" will have to be fought out in court, but properties which sell for far less than they are worth may be a sign of bad faith on the part of the lender, which has a duty to obtain the highest price possible for a property it auctions. Especially if the lender turns around and sells the home for more soon after the sheriff sale, unfairness may be determined.

Homeowners who are relying on such defenses to save their home, however, may find themselves disappointed in the end. The further along the process their home goes, the more difficult it will be to hold onto it and get another chance to make on-time payments. These challenges to a sheriff sale may be successful, or they may not be. But they should be considered one of the last resorts after everything else has been tried, but before moving out of the house completely.
Nick publishes articles on the ForeclosureFish website, which aims to teach borrowers how they can stop foreclosure on their homes while they still have time. The site describes various methods to save a house, including foreclosure refinancing, cash for keys, mortgage modification, filing bankruptcy, and more. Visit the site today to read more and find out what alternatives you can use to prevent the loss of your home:

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