Many people in Texas don't know that once they get a foreclosure notice in the mail, it could be several years before the bank repossesses their home. In some cases, banks change their minds about pursuing a foreclosure but fail to inform the homeowner. When a homeowner abandons their house because of an impending foreclosure, they could be unwittingly creating a 'zombie foreclosure."
A zombie foreclosure is a house that has been abandoned by its owner before the bank completed the foreclosure process. While these homes sit empty, they could fall into disrepair, get broken into and blight the neighborhood. Before the bank takes physical possession of the home and changes the title, the homeowner could face fines from the city and be held liable for any injuries that occur on the property.
It's important for people facing foreclosure to understand that their name is still on the property title until the bank sells the home. Although it may be tempting to walk away from an impending foreclosure, it's actually better to remain on the property and continue to pay real estate taxes and utility bills. If the owners do move out, they should make sure to check on the home regularly and keep their liability insurance current.
A lawyer may be able to help homeowners to stop a foreclosure so that they can continue living in their home indefinitely. Some foreclosures are unlawful, and a lawyer may help to prove that a foreclosure is illegitimate. Even if the foreclosure is valid, a homeowner may be able to keep their home by filing for bankruptcy under certain circumstances.