Legal resources for Missouri and Illinois residents

August 25, 2008

Since St. Louis Beacon ran this article last week about the legal process in Missouri foreclosures, I wanted to expand on those resources and also provide some information about the process in Illinois.

In Illinois

Because the foreclosure process has to go through the court system, Illinois foreclosures usually take about a year. Land of Lincoln Legal Services recommended I look at the guide on www.illinoislegalaid.org. It explains the Illinois foreclosure process very clearly. You can read it here. There are links to some non-profit legal organizations at the bottom of the page, too.

This is another guide published by Illinois Legal Aid that gives more detailed answers to those being sued for mortgage foreclosure.

In Missouri:

After Texas, Missouri has the fastest foreclosure process in the United States. I’ve read articles that say it happens in 60 days and others that say 21. To clarify, I spoke with Dan Claggett of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. Here’s a breakdown of what he told me:

When a homeowner misses 3 mortgage payments, the lender sends them a notice of default with a foreclosure date listed.

The lender has to publish the sale of the home at least 20 times before the sale date. So if a lender wants to move rapidly, they could publish a notice per day for 20 days leading up to the sale and the home could be sold on that 21st day. Bare minimum, the process can occur in 21 days from the time the lender mails the foreclosure notice.

What is more troubling is that the lender only has to send that one letter, and they need only drop it in the mail 20 days before the sale date. That doesn’t mean the homeowner receives it before then. If the mail is delayed for any reason, the borrower could be looking at a sale date within a week or two of when they get that letter.

Claggett adds that it becomes much harder to work out a plan with the lender if they’ve already mailed the foreclosure notice due to the money they’ve spent on legal counsel and publishing.

Here is a 2 minute video of Dan Claggett discussing the Missouri foreclosure process on KETC’s Facing the Mortgage Crisis live special:

Find more legal resources at the St. Louis Fed’s Foreclosure Resource Center.

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