If a borrower defaults on a mortgage, the lender may seek foreclosure on the property. In Texas foreclosures may be ordered by a court or without court involvement. Typically, a non-judicial foreclosure is conducted by auction "on the courthouse steps." Defaults that lead to foreclosure may be monetary or technical, and specified notice and other requirements must be followed if the foreclosure is to be valid.
Non-judicial foreclosure auctions are conducted on the first Tuesday of each month between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the courthouse of the county in which the property is located. Notices must specify a three hour period during which the sale will take place.
A "Notice of Default and Intent to Accelerate" which gives the borrower an opportunity to cure the default (at least 20 days prior). A "Notice of Acceleration and Posting for Foreclosure" must be given at least 21 days before the sale date. "Acceleration" is defined as the declaration by the lender that the entire amount of the mortgage now fully due and payable.
There are many legal requirements the mortgage holder must meet to foreclose on a property, but in Texas, a judge is not always involved and the responsibility to protect the borrower's rights may be that of the borrower.
The foreclosure process in Texas can be as quick as 41 days and there are no effective defenses to this process except for the borrower to block it with a temporary restraining order or file bankruptcy. For either option, the buyer needs an attorney.
If there are grounds for alleging that loan documents, notices, or some impropriety in the sale, the borrower may file a "wrongful foreclosure" lawsuit.
If you are facing a potential foreclosure or have received an "Notice of Default and Intent to Accelerate," you should act quickly. It is much easier to stop a foreclosure before it occurs than to get a remedy after the foreclosure is complete. If the property is sold to a third party there is little chance that the borrower will get the property back. If you are facing foreclosure, it is important to contact a wrongful foreclosure attorney as soon as possible.