When a homeowner is first served with a foreclosure summons or complaint, the initial reaction can be overwhelming. Homeowners must not delay when answering a foreclosure summons or complaint or you could be at risk of losing your home before the fight even begins. The homeowner needs to file an answer by either the date listed on the summons or complaint or within the time frame that is required by state law. The time frame depending on the state varies between 20-30 days.
The homeowner has one of two options when filing an answer to the foreclosure summons or complaint.
- The Answer- This is the homeowner’s response to the lenders claims listed in the summons or complaint. Your answer must cover 3 areas:
- Your statement either denying or admitting the allegations made by the lender.
- The list of affirmative defenses that will be used against the summons or complaint.
- Any counter-claims you might want to bring against your lender.
- 2) Motion to Dismiss- If you have grounds for a dismissal of the foreclosure, then this motion can be filed in place of the answer.
Filing an answer is a complicated process if you are not familiar with the foreclosure laws in your state. You need to review the foreclosure paperwork and familiarize yourself with the foreclosure laws in your state so you can come up with the affirmative defenses you will need to file with your answer. Your answer does not have to go in depth, just state the defenses you are planning to use.
If you end up missing the deadline, you can request an extension of the time frame to file the answer. When filing your answer, you should file the answer with the Clerk of the Court. By filing with the Clerk of the Court, you will receive immediate proof that you filed your answer and you can keep a copy that is stamped by the Clerk of the Court for your records. Also make sure you mail a copy of the answer to the attorney of record that is representing your lender in the foreclosure.
If you do not file an answer and just ignore the foreclosure summons or complaint, a summary judgment will be filed against you and you will lose your home. Hiring an experienced foreclosure defense attorney to file the answer and defend your home against foreclosure is your best course of action. Your foreclosure defense attorney will have the knowledge to be able to formulate the best possible answer and defense on the road to saving your home.