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Is New Jersey's foreclosure rate on the rise again?

According to a recent article, New Jersey’s home foreclosure rate ranked among the highest in the United States last month. To be precise, it was the third highest. Lenders repossessed nearly 1,800 properties in August 2015.

Yet the data may not be as dire as it seems. Compared to one year ago, the number of homes starting the foreclosure process was down 38 percent.

Since New Jersey has a judicial foreclosure process, some time elapses between the court filings and the ultimate repossession. Fortunately, that time period may also present opportunities for debt management and avoiding a foreclosure. For example, the filing of a bankruptcy will put a stop to any repossession efforts by creditors.

Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 might be utilized to help a struggling homeowner keep his or her house. The options depend on whether the bankruptcy filer is current on his or her mortgage payments and the amount of equity in the home. In a Chapter 7, too much equity might influence a trustee’s decision to sell the house to pay off creditors. For such individuals, a Chapter 13 might be a better option.

Generally speaking, the exemptions offered by Chapter 7 are lower. For that reason, a Chapter 13 might help an individual to stop foreclosure and repay his or her mortgage debt over a more manageable schedule, up to five years. A Chapter 13 plan does not always have to propose repayment, however. Chapter 13 filers may also propose a plan that calls for the sale or refinance of the home. The bottom line is that a bankruptcy may help a debtor take control of his or her situation, instead of being at the mercy of a judicial foreclosure process.

Source: nj.com, “N.J. foreclosure rate again ranks among top in U.S. as repossessions spike,” Erin O’Neill, Sept. 17, 2015

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