Iowa Foreclosure Survival Guide, Part 2

You've been served with foreclosure papers and you want to keep your house. What to do?

Answer the foreclosure lawsuit and demand a delay of sale! This is a job best done with help from a lawyer. Iowa's court filings are now done electronically, so between navigating the online filing system and understanding exactly what an answer is supposed to say, there are lots of chances for error.  Call a lawyer as soon as you get the papers.  They will want to review with you your situation, how far you're behind, and whether your lender has made any mistakes.

Once you've filed an answer, you've bought yourself some extra time. The lender will now have to try and get a foreclosure judgment against you. They could do that either at a trial, or, much more commonly, by filing a motion for summary judgment. That motion asks the court to decide in their favor without a trial. Every lender is different in how fast they work. Some may move to this right away, others may take many months.  Ultimately, when the lender gets a judgment, your delay of sale kicks in. If the property is your house and you've asked for a delay, Iowa gives you six months, no questions asked, before the lender can schedule a sheriff sale to sell your house.

During this process, you can still keep working with your lender on options like modification or a short sale. It can be a very long and frustrating process, but you are free to keep trying.  Sometimes, though, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be a better option to catch up and stay in the home.