1. Don’t Immediately Hire an Attorney Who is a Foreclosure Tax Sale Expert.
2. Spend Lots of Time Reading about Foreclosure on the Internet.
3. Get Advice From Realtors, Listen to Promises From Speculators and Contractors Who Want to Buy Your Home, and Most of All, Pay Careful Attention to Friends and Relatives Who Either Experienced a Mortgage Foreclosure or Know Someone Who Did.
4. If You Do Talk to a Lawyer Keep Asking How Much Time You Have Before You Have to Make a Decision and Ask the Lawyer About What You Have Read and Heard About Foreclosure.
We are frequently contacted by homeowners who have received a foreclosure complaint filed by the purchaser of a tax sale certificate. Often there is no mortgage on the property and the homeowner has considerable equity in the property. As described below by the New Jersey Supreme Court, no sheriff’s sale is conducted when a foreclosure is based on the a tax sale certificate purchased by the plaintiff. If the tax sale certificate is not redeemed, the tax sale certificate holder takes the property and the homeowner receives nothing
“Plaintiff Anthony Malinowski purchased a tax sale certificate for property located in Raritan Borough. After waiting more than the two-year period required by N.J.S.A. 54:5-86, plaintiff filed a complaint to foreclose on the tax certificate. The complaint named the property owner and the holder of a mortgage as persons having the statutory right to redeem the certificate. The last date for redemption was set for March 1, 2004. The failure to redeem the certificate would result in final judgment in favor of plaintiff, who would then take fee simple title to the property. Malinowski v. Jacobs, 189 N.J. 345, 348 (N.J. 2007)
The confusion of those who contact us is apparent. They tell us about someone they knew who was in a foreclosure proceeding for a year of more or ask us to confirm that they can get two adjournments of the sheriff sale. Even after they are told that there is no sheriff’s sale; that a foreclosure based upon a mortgage is very different than one based on a tax sale certificate and that they will, quite literally, lose everything if they don’t act promptly, they once again ask ‘ how much time they have’.