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How to proceed with a foreclosure in South Carolina

Though the recession is over and the real estate market has largely rebounded, there are still circumstances that may lead to homeowners defaulting on their mortgages. Perhaps they were laid off, are going through a divorce or maybe they are dealing with a large amount of debt.

Though you have sympathy for their issues, your company needs this money to continue doing business. If a homeowner stops paying a mortgage, he or she has broken the mortgage agreement. As a South Carolina lender, you have the right to foreclose on the property. Before your company begins the process, here are some things you and your team may need to know.

You take the borrower to court

South Carolina is a judicial foreclosure state. To proceed with a foreclosure, your company must sue the borrower and show that the property should be foreclosed on. The homeowner has the right to protest the foreclosure and mount a case arguing against it. The homeowner can ask you to prove the default occurred, ask you to show the amount owed and try to claim he or she is eligible for a mortgage modification.

Depending of the strength of the borrower’s case, this could significantly slow down the foreclosure process. Before you file a lawsuit, your business will likely want to contact an attorney with experience representing lenders during the foreclosure process. An attorney can help your company build a strong case for foreclosing on the property.

Time to pay off costs

If the court finds that the borrow is in default, it may give him or her a set amount of time to pay the amount that is past due, plus other costs. Assuming the homeowner cannot pay this amount, the court then decrees that the property will be sold.

A public sale occurs

The notice of sale must be published in several public places, typically one place is at the courthouse. It will also need to be published in a local paper. All these notices need to occur at least three weeks before the sale.

Often the sales occur at the courthouse, unless the court orders otherwise. On the day of the sale, the property is open to public bidding. The public sale only lasts for one day, but in South Carolina, the bidding remains open for 30 days after the sale. If there are no objections to the sale price, the sale of property is finalized within three months.

A borrower must leave the property

After the foreclosure sale, the former homeowner must vacate the property. Many lenders give the former homeowners ten days or so to pack his or her belongings and leave. If a former homeowner refuses to move out, you can apply for a writ of assistance that directs a law enforcement officer to remove him or her from the property.

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