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Unemployed and No Income. Will Creditors Come After My House? – Chris

By on September 3, 2014

“Dear Steve,

I lost my job (no advance notice) in June 2007. I was unemployed for 75% of the next 5 years. I worked for 23 months (4-2012 to 3-2014) and again lost my job. I work as a consultant primarily for Caltrans as an Inspector (bridges).

In the last 6 months I’ve worked less than 60 hours and am now starting unemployment. I am 57 years old, have done nothing but be an Inspector since I turned 21. I worked more than 26 years straight without a day of unemployment. I had excellent credit, was a responsible, hard working middle class American who lost everything.

I have no credit (ruined 1-2011 when I hit 100 weeks of unemployment and stopped paying unsecured creditors – credit cards), no savings and no liquidatable assets. I have been a homeowner for more than 30 years and lived in my current home more than 27 years. I have less than 3 years left on my mortgage which costs me $2,400 a month. I am single and now have no income.

Can an unsecured creditor (Credit Union credit card account, $9,980 principal balance and over $3,000 in interest and penalties) get a Writ of Execution if they are successful in getting a lien placed on my home?

Can I be forced out of my house by an unsecured debt?

I know they may be able to lien my home but I did not think they could force the sale? I live in California. The SOL comes due in Jan. 2015 and that is why I got a letter last week from the debt collector’s attorney asking me to contact them to make payment arrangements.

What are my legitimate options? Will filing bankruptcy protect my home from being sold? Any other options or advise? Thanks!

Chris”

Dear Chris,

With the condition of bridges in the U.S. it’s a shame you are not able to inspect some more of those suckers.

The big elephant in the room is you have a massive asset that creditors would salivate to attach with a lien, the house.

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One option would be to sell the house, settle your debt, and move forward with your life. It’s a quick way to close the door right away.

Outside of that you might want to read Four Magic Words to Get Out of a Debt Collector Lawsuit to get an idea about that current demand that’s coming your way.

Ultimately I don’t think you should screw around here and guess what might be best or make any assumptions. There is only one entity out there who can help you get whatever protection is available to you, under the law, from creditors. This person can help you to deal with the debt as well. They are highly regulated and answer to a lot of people. That person is a bankruptcy attorney.

I’m not saying bankruptcy is right for you but I am saying you need to talk to at least a couple of bankruptcy attorneys who are licensed in your state about your specific situation. There are other issues to consider like your California homestead exemption and the value of your house.

Rather than just sit by and let you get sued, lose, and get a default judgment which can turn into a lien, let’s deal with the situation.

Your house has been a long-term investment for you and right now, selling it, might be the very lifeboat you need.

After you sell it and settle your debt, you can then find a place to rent and get back to focusing on life rather than the mess at hand. I find that once the decks have been cleared of the financial mess it become naturally easier to find a way forward.

It’s time for you to start driving the bus and take some action. Otherwise you are simply going to get run over.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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