Iowa Foreclosure Survival Guide, Part 1

If you fall behind on payments on your Iowa home, odds are you'll end up in foreclosure. How do you get through it?

The first thing to know is that a foreclosure doesn't start until you're at least several months behind on your mortgage. One missed payment won't do it.  You lender also has to send you two notices before foreclosing: a "Notice of Right to Cure" putting you on notice of how far behind you are and giving you 30 days to catch up. If you don't get caught up, then they send a "Notice of Acceleration" calling your entire loan due.  If you've received these notices, that's a good sign foreclosure is coming soon.

Your lender's attorney then files a foreclosure action in court.  They have to send a process server or sheriff's deputy to personally hand you the foreclosure petition.  The petition will be a thick stack of papers and it will warn you on the front cover that you have 20 days to respond.  You should write on the petition what day you got the papers so you don't forget.

If you do nothing, the bank can go to the court in 21 days and ask for a default judgment.  A default judgment says the bank wins because you did nothing.  Sometimes this can be a good thing if you've already decided you want the house to go back to the bank.  Speeding foreclosure along can be good if you just want to end your responsibility on the house quickly.

If you don't want to lose your home quickly, then there's work to be done.