A recent study estimates that nearly 50% of foreclosed properties are still occupied.
Let that sink in. Half of people (ok, technically 47%) who are foreclosed on are still living in their homes! When you first see that stat you may be surprised… but we’re not.
What most people don’t realize is that banks aren’t in the business to own homes.
They are in the business to loan people money (and to collect the valuable interest on that loan). But when they have to foreclose on a house… the bank is forced to own the home until they’re able to sell it to get all or most of their money back.
But, what they had found is that when a Chicago foreclosed house goes vacant… there is a much greater chance that the house will fall into disrepair. That makes that valuable asset a liability.
More often than not, the bank would rather have you in the property even after you stop paying your payments and the foreclosure is started because it keeps away vandals and the house remains in good working order.
There’s been a lot of “talk” on social media about people living for free after foreclosure – and even many stories about banks “abandoning” properties.
In those stories, people are avoiding house payments for months, weeks, even years.
Well, doesn’t that sound great? Let’s all live for free. (wink, wink)
Wait… it can’t be that simple, right?
No bank would purposely stop collecting payments. The only way that you get to live without making any payments is when some major mistakes were made.
But let’s face it. It’s not exactly legal to avoid payments that you signed for, and it can get you in serious trouble.
So back to the question at hand: why are so many foreclosed homes occupied? It’s important to remember that no one wants the house to be vacant. Vacant homes are targets for vandalism and crime.
Staying in the property can help the bank keep up the value of their investment, so it’s actually in their best interest to keep someone in it. Partly because of the ways that the foreclosure laws are structured in , banks may ask you to leave while (somewhat privately) wanting you to stay.
So what’s the answer or way forward for you?
There are a few perfectly legal ways to remain in your home, even after foreclosure.
How To Stay In My Home After Foreclosure In Chicago
Not all these options are available (depending on your situation and your lenders), and you’ll need some expert advice along the way to help you get through.
1) Wait it out. Honestly, this is a pretty bad option, but it seems to be increasingly common. You definitely shouldn’t run away and abandon your house when the first notice of default shows up. Remember that the proceedings and the process takes months and sometimes years. It’s not over until it’s over, so don’t give up too early. On the other hand, don’t wait until the sheriff shows up to evict you to start packing up your stuff. As tempting as it is, burying your head in the sand will not make the problem go away.
2) Go to court. In extremely rare cases, judges are granting stays and delaying evictions. This is really only a valid option if you (and your attorneys) can prove that the bank has neglected one of their legal requirements during the process of your foreclosure. During the past few years, a lot of fraud at banks has been uncovered – so it’s possible we’ll see an increasing trend of using the courts to stop foreclosure. Fighting banks with lawyers is very difficult, expensive and time-consuming, even if you’ve got a perfect case. Your average person most often doesn’t stand a chance, and you’re better off spending the money on a move versus an attorney who could lose.
3) Propose a move-out bonus. Often buyers of occupied foreclosure properties spend thousands of dollars on lawyers and other costs of eviction, so why not save everyone the time and expense by taking some of that money yourself? It’s commonly known as “Cash for Keys”. It sounds a little greedy, but greasing the wheels does help everything to run more smoothly. And let’s face it, you could use the money! Plus, you can help out the bank and the buyers by not abandoning the house to vandals or squatters before they’re ready to take possession. It’s often a win-win in this situation, as much as one can be.
4) Rent it back. It may sound crazy, but some banks are willing to take on previous homeowners as renters in their property. That’s only a short-term fix, as they’ll want your agreement to vacate the premises as soon as they find someone to purchase the house. In some cases, we can even buy the property and rent it back to you.
It’s really good that you’re reading this page and exploring your options. We help homeowners like you to find creative solutions and get a fresh start.
We can’t help everyone, but we might be able to help you.
We buy local Chicago houses like yours from people who need to sell fast.