FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why are you offering to help for free?
For 20 years, we’ve been deeply committed to the communities in which we invest. Fifteen of those years have been spent working with a non profit youth organization in Newark called STEP and mentoring the young people of this great organization. We also created a real estate investment company called STEP Buys Houses to assist in the funding of the organization and in the education of STEP’s youth. So helping people, especially disadvantaged youth, is what we do. And people losing their equity and childhood home to a foreclosure that can be easily stopped in most cases, is something we hate to see. Yet we’ve been witnessing a sharp increase in these tragedies over the last few years. So this is a way for us to help people. Even if they’re not looking to sell their home.
How can you help?
We start by determining where you are exactly in your situation. Behind in taxes? In foreclosure? If you are in foreclosure, where exactly in the foreclosure process are you? While we do NOT provide legal advice we may be able to inform you as to how much time you might have to save your home based on the average timelines we’ve been seeing in other cases.
And unbeknownst to you, you may have recently lost the property to foreclosure and not even realize it. We will research your case and find out right away. If your house was foreclosed on, all is not lost as there may still be some options to help you get the property back depending on your exact situation. We can connect you with a licensed attorney who may be able to help you get your property back. It all depends on how soon you take action.
Do you help me with the paperwork needed to save my property in foreclosure?
No. We are NOT attorneys and we do NOT give legal advice. We can help point you in the right direction so that you can hire an affordable attorney. We actually work with very low cost attorneys who can get started working on your case with only a few hundred dollars. We can also show you where to go on the State of New Jersey’s website and download the forms to legally respond to your foreclosure. But we CANNOT help you fill out those forms or provide any other type of legal advice.
Where can I find the forms to respond to my foreclosure without an attorney?
Because the location of the link may change, we don’t want to provide you with outdated information. Simply email us or complete this form and we will email you the updated link right over with no questions asked.
How do I find out how much I owe in taxes?
Your tax collector has this information. Simply call and request a tax redemption statement and they will fax or mail it to you. This can sometimes take 2-3 weeks. You can also visit your Tax Collector in person (if they’re accepting in person visits) and usually retrieve it on the spot. Or contact us and we will visit the tax collector on your behalf and obtain the tax redemption statement for Free.
But I thought the State of New Jersey issued a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions.
The moratorium originally covered evictions and foreclosures, including sheriff sale auctions. However, the state later resumed the processing of foreclosures but not sheriff sales. And since mortgage foreclosures rely on sheriff sales for completion but (generally speaking) tax foreclosures do not, people in mortgage foreclosure are not losing their homes nor are they being removed from the home. Property owners in tax foreclosure, on the other hand, are losing ownership of their homes. However they are not yet being “evicted” after the completion of the foreclosure due to the moratorium.
I was just informed that a tax lien on my house was just sold at auction. Does that mean someone bought my house?
No. If a tax lien was levied against your house and sold at a NJ municipality tax sale auction, it usually means that the township created the lien due to delinquent property taxes and then sold that lien to a 3rd party. That 3rd party only purchased the lien against your house and not your actual house. You can call your tax collector to confirm. You can also contact us and we will research publicly available records (or tell you how to do it yourself if you wish) and determine whether or not ownership of your house changed hands. We also have contacts with title companies who will run a free or low cost lien search for you as a favor to us if needed.
Chances are, if a lien was actually levied against your house recently, you’re the still the owner. But give us a call to make sure!
Now that I have a tax lien against my home, when will it go to foreclosure?
That really depends on the date the lien was placed on your property along with the aggressiveness of the 3rd party who purchased the lien. State law says that in most cases, the 3rd party who owns the lien has to wait 2 years after their purchase before they can begin foreclosure proceedings. In other cases, the 3rd party can foreclose almost immediately. For specifics on your situation, consult an attorney or simply contact us.
I just found out my home is in foreclosure, what do I do?
The first thing we recommend is that you contact us to see exactly where you are in the foreclosure process as well as how much time you may have before your home is lost.
We also recommend that you consult an attorney as soon as possible. You can use a real estate attorney of your choosing, including one who you may have used in the past (i.e. the attorney you used when you purchased the home – just make sure he or she is very experienced in tax foreclosures). The State of New Jersey also mails all property owners in foreclosure a list of attorney recommendations.
You can also contact us and we can send you a copy of that list plus free attorney services offered by different agencies and organizations in the State of New Jersey. We also work with low cost attorneys who can get started on your case for just a few hundred dollars.
Finally, we can refer you to self-help resources in case you wish to defend your foreclosure without hiring an attorney. Unfortunately, we can NOT offer any legal advice as we are not licensed attorneys. But we can offer as much non-legal information as we can regarding your case.
I’m in contact with the Company who is foreclosing on my home. They seem to be pretty cooperative. Do I still need an attorney?
We highly recommend it. You are likely in possession of a lot of equity that the foreclosing company is legally attempting to take possession of. And these companies have attorneys helping them do it. Doesn’t it make sense for you to have an attorney representing YOU?
Additionally, some of these companies are using deceptive but legal practices to trick homeowners into forfeiting their rights. So whatever you do, we urge you to seek some sort of professional advice when dealing directly with the foreclosing company or their attorney(s).
I already have an attorney, do I need to call you?
We suggest that you do as we’ve worked with many attorneys in helping them get information needed to defend foreclosure. Attorneys are often too busy to do a lot of the required legwork that we do for free. Additionally, your attorney may not be as experienced in tax foreclosure as you might need them to be. So they may appreciate some additional guidance from us based on what we’re seeing in this current foreclosure climate.
Can’t I just let the house go to foreclosure and receive any overage monies from the sheriff sale?
One of the biggest common misconceptions is that a tax foreclosure is similar to a mortgage foreclosure and therefore, the house will end up being sold at auction (sheriff sale). The overwhelming majority of tax foreclosures do NOT go to sheriff sale. There is no auction or bidding process in place for most of them. Instead they are foreclosed on by a private party (or municipality) who then takes possession and ownership of the house.