We offer complete services for clients with mortgages, real property sale contracts, judgments or other liens against real property. From demand, pre-suit workouts, filing of a lawsuit, appointment of a receiver, all the way through Sheriff’s sale and eviction if necessary, we can assist every step of the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there other options available if the borrower simply wants to turn the real estate over to the lender?
If there are no other liens against the real estate other than the creditor’s mortgage and property taxes, it is possible to take a deed in lieu of foreclosure. However, the title search needs to be studied carefully to determine if this is a good option, and there are a number of other considerations that may determine whether the parties want to proceed in this fashion.
Can a judgment lien be foreclosed like a mortgage?
Yes. A judgment docketed in the county where the real estate is located creates a lien on real estate owned or acquired by the judgment debtor in that county for up to ten (10) years.
A title search must be obtained and reviewed carefully to determine the existence and priority of the judgment lien before foreclosing, and the value of the real estate must also be ascertained to determine if foreclosure is viable and worthwhile for the creditor.
Do we have to bid the full dollar amount of our judgment at the Sheriff's sale?
No, the creditor can bid less than the full amount of the judgment, leaving a deficiency balance to be collected from the borrower. Our firm handles a significant amount of collections and can provide an opinion on whether further collection efforts are advisable or allowed. If the debt has been discharged in bankruptcy, for example, then the creditor will be limited to pursuing the real estate.
Do we need to file suit to foreclose our mortgage?
Yes. Indiana requires judicial foreclosure of all mortgages; meaning a lawsuit must be filed and judgment obtained before the real estate can be sold at Sheriff’s sale. In some cases, the property can be sold by private auctioneer instead of the sheriff, but there still must be a judgment and decree of foreclosure before the sale can be requested by the creditor.
Does the creditor have to pay cash to bid at the Sheriff's sale?
The foreclosing creditor may credit bid from the amount of its judgment and does not need to bring cash to the sale, however the costs of sale, publication expenses, and all past due property taxes must be paid before the sheriff will proceed with a sale. The amounts paid for property taxes may typically be added to the amount of the judgment, and if a third-party is the successfully bidder then the sale and publication costs will be deducted from that bid amount and/or returned to the foreclosing creditor.
If real estate is sold on land contract, must the seller foreclose on the contract like a mortgage?
Usually, the seller files suit to foreclose like a mortgage lender. However, under certain limited circumstances, a real estate contract can be treated like a lease and the creditor may be able to pursue eviction of the defaulting purchaser rather than foreclosure. We can assist in determining which is appropriate for you.
If the borrowers or tenants remain in possession of the foreclosed real estate, how can they be removed?
The county Sheriff’s assistance can be obtained in evicting those wrongfully in possession. Recent developments in federal law place some restrictions on the ability of a purchaser at sheriff sale to evict “bona fide” tenants, meaning that they have a lease requiring them to pay rent and are not related to the prior owner. We would be glad to discuss the options available and requirements placed upon a foreclosing creditor in those instances.
Once we file suit, how quickly can we schedule the real estate for Sheriff's sale?
Even if judgment is obtained immediately, sale cannot be requested until at least 90 days have passed from when the lawsuit is filed. Sheriff sales are typically set 60-90 days from date the request for sale is filed, and cannot be held until at least 30 days after the first publication of the notice of sale.