Bankruptcy Attorney Kills Zombies in New York City

The New York City area has some of the highest number of Zombie Foreclosures in the country with over 266 acres of prematurely abandoned properties at last count. A zombie foreclosure is created when a homeowner stops paying a mortgage and vacates the property and the mortgagee bank refuses to take title and legally foreclose on the property. The foreclosure process in New York can be very drawn out, so these homes can sit vacant for months or even years before the bank decides to complete foreclosure proceedings. Structures start falling apart, yards and landscaping turn to weeds, squatters may appear and crime rates increase when homes are turned into zombies. These zombies may not take a literal bite out of you, but they will certainly eat into your property value if you happen to be in a neighborhood full of them. It’s bad for the neighbors, but worse for the people who have voluntarily left, because in most cases the home never should have been abandoned. It likely could have been saved through bankruptcy, especially in New York where mortgage modification and loss mitigation programs are built into the bankruptcy process.

It’s safe to say that most people will panic if they see a zombie coming, but just like in the movies it’s the people that keep a cool head that get away. While everyone else is screaming in terror and getting eaten alive there are always a few lucky souls who find a stair well to escape, or pick up a meat cleaver to take matters into their own hands. Zombie foreclosures are the same- most homeowners panic and run when they could have done something to save themselves and their home had they remained calm. Staying calm is the first step, but you might need a real hero to help you fight a zombie. In any zombie movie there is always one really tough, zombie hating, gun toting bad ass that sees the survivors through to a happy ending. When it comes to zombie foreclosures it’s an experienced bankruptcy attorney in this role.

A bankruptcy attorney can’t save every home that is facing a foreclosure, nor should every home facing foreclosure be saved. That being said, it usually does not makes good financial sense to leave your home before you are evicted. Lots of things can happen, and you have every right to stay in your home until you receive an eviction notice. Too many people are under the impression that the bank takes possession of a home at the start of a foreclosure proceeding. Underwater homeowners often abandon their home thinking it’s the bank’s problem, when in fact they are still on the hook for all the mortgage debt and back taxes they think they are walking away from. HOA dues will still be there, and you will start getting fined by the city for the state of the property. Not only will you be liable for the property if you skip out, it could be entirely unnecessary. Banks are increasingly walking away from foreclosures they have already started because there are simply too many underwater houses too deal with at this point.

In other words, you are not doing yourself or your neighbors any good by leaving before you receive an actual eviction notice. Even if you have received an eviction notice, an emergency bankruptcy filing will stall the foreclosure process and may help you find a way to keep your home indefinitely. New York City has built loss mitigation and mortgage modification programs into the bankruptcy process. You are not guaranteed a mortgage modification from your lender, but the court will make sure you are getting the answers you need from the bank that can be hard to come by without the court’s assistance. On the other hand, not filing a needed bankruptcy to simply walk away from a home you can’t pay for anymore is bound to cause more harm than good, and will certainly be worse for your credit in the long run than either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

If you see a zombie coming grab a bat and call a zombie killer. Don’t panic when you can still escape. Not everyone in financial trouble should file bankruptcy, but if you are on the verge of losing your home then you have nothing to lose by speaking to a bankruptcy attorney. Most consumers are pleasantly surprised when they get the facts for themselves. If you live in New York City contact the Law Offices of William Waldner online or at 212.344.2882. We primarily practice bankruptcy law and know how to protect or get rid of an underwater home through bankruptcy.

**** DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading no attorney-client relationship has been created. Prior results do not guarantee a similar result for future clients.