The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many aspects of people’s lives. Layoffs, shutdowns, pay cuts, illnesses and the loss of family breadwinners have left millions of homeowners struggling to pay their bills. The federal eviction and foreclosure moratoriums have helped Americans get through these uncertain times, but those moratoriums have now come to an end. Now that the foreclosure moratorium has been lifted, homeowners in Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout Texas may have to consider different debt relief options to avoid foreclosure. At Leinart Law Firm, our seasoned foreclosure lawyers have helped thousands of Texans halt foreclosure and eliminate overwhelming debt.
How Did the Moratorium Help Dallas-Fort Worth Homeowners?
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, millions of Americans were financially impacted for many reasons. The federal government and some state and local authorities put rent and foreclosure moratoriums in place. This put a temporary stop to eviction and foreclosure proceedings.
Borrowers with government-issued mortgages such as FHA, VA, USDA, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae loans were able to take advantage of loan modification and forbearance programs that let them reduce or defer mortgage payments for months. Other lenders and mortgage servicers offered similar programs to their customers, which has helped millions of people stay in their homes. Banks were hesitant to put so many delinquent homeowners into foreclosure anyway because housing prices have been rising steadily for years, and many consumers have significant equity in their homes. Restructuring loans or allowing borrowers to tack on missed payments to the end of a mortgage saves lenders the aggravation and cost of foreclosure proceedings.
Although the federal moratorium has come to an end, there are still regulations that protect consumers who are struggling financially. Some mortgage servicers may not start the foreclosure process on homeowners in forbearance until January of 2022. If your loan is in forbearance or you’re worried about foreclosure, keeping in touch with your lender is important to stay on top of any issues you may encounter with paying your mortgage.
How the End of the Foreclosure Moratorium Has Affected Dallas-Fort Worth
Although economists predict that there won’t be nearly as many foreclosures as there were after the housing crash in 2008, homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are feeling the sting. According to a U.S. Foreclosure Market Report released by ATTOM Data, Dallas-Fort Worth was in the top five of major metropolitan areas with the most foreclosure starts that also had a population of more than one million. This area had 248 foreclosure starts in August of 2021. Houston also made the list with 322. In the third quarter of 2021, Houston saw a total of 866 foreclosure starts, and the state of Texas had a total of 2,827, second only to the number of foreclosures that were initiated in California in Q3 of 2021.
It’s important to keep in mind that these are unprecedented times, and these numbers simply provide a snapshot of what’s going on in the world of mortgages and foreclosures right now. As the economy recovers and the government and lenders continue to work with homeowners on loss mitigation efforts, many people will still be able to avoid foreclosure.
Is There a Mortgage Moratorium in Texas?
The short answer? No. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any help for Texas homeowners and renters. The Texas Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (TEMAP) received Community Development Block Grant CARES funds to assist certain homeowners and renters financially impacted by the pandemic. Those seeking assistance must contact a service provider in the area where the home is located. Other state, local and federal assistance programs may be also available to help homeowners in Dallas-Fort Worth avoid home foreclosure in Texas.
A Foreclosure Lawyer Can Protect You from Falling Victim to Loan Scams
Even if you’re considering applying for assistance programs, it’s still a good idea to seek the advice of a foreclosure attorney. Unfortunately, scammers have taken advantage of the financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought by preying on those who are desperate to save their homes or fix their credit. A good bankruptcy lawyer will be able to identify potential scams from a mile away and help ensure your interests are protected.
What Can I Do to Stop Foreclosure in Texas?
If you’ve tried working with your mortgage service and have exhausted all of your options to avoid foreclosure, filing bankruptcy can be an effective solution to help you stay in your home. Dire financial circumstances can be difficult and scary to face alone. Seeking the counsel of a Dallas bankruptcy lawyer can help ease your worries and give you hope that there are effective solutions for your financial problems.
How Filing Bankruptcy in Texas Can Help
When you file for any type of bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put on your debts. Creditors must stop all collection actions, including foreclosure. This gives you some time to find solutions for your financial woes and figure out what you want to do. Texas bankruptcy law also provides specific homestead and property exemptions that can help you hold on to equity and keep your home.
If you don’t want to keep your home or you’re struggling with other types of significant debt, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Texas could be the best option for you. Chapter 7 wipes out unsecured debts such as medical bills and credit card balances, giving you a fresh financial start. It can also prevent your lender from coming after you for any deficit on the loan balance after your home is sold at an auction.
Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you reorganize your debts and repay them over time — typically a period of three to five years. You can include any arrears on your mortgage loan in your Chapter 13 repayment plan, which will allow you to keep your home and get your finances in order.
How Can a Foreclosure Lawyer in Dallas-Fort Worth Assist You?
These decisions can be challenging, especially when you know they will have a critical impact on your financial future. Bankruptcy and other debt relief solutions affect your credit, so it’s vital to consult with the best bankruptcy attorneys in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to weigh all of your options. Federal and state mortgage and foreclosure laws are complex, so finding a bankruptcy law firm with attorneys who possess significant experience in this area of the law is critical. Your lawyer will explain all possible options to you and guide you through the process from start to finish.
If you are still eligible for forbearance or loan modification, your attorney may recommend you take one of those avenues to help avoid foreclosure. Some other options that can free up funds to bring your mortgage current are debt consolidation and debt settlement negotiations with other creditors. Many bankruptcy lawyers in Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout the state of Texas offer free case evaluations. Discovering your options won’t cost you anything, may help you save your home and can put you on the path to financial freedom.
Contact a Dallas Bankruptcy Attorney
For more than 15 years, the foreclosure lawyers at Leinart Law Firm have helped clients in Dallas-Fort Worth find debt relief solutions that meet their needs. If you’re worried about foreclosure or other financial issues, we provide the skilled and compassionate legal support you deserve. Use the convenient chat feature, fill out the contact form on our website or email us to schedule a complimentary consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer today. Leinart Law Firm serves clients in Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and throughout North Texas.