If I file chapter 7 bankruptcy, will I lose my house? 15 Answers as of November 25, 2014

I lost my income due to a back surgery failure. The doctor will not redo the surgery because he says stress and anxiety are the cause of the failure. I can't pay any bills because I have no income. I have filed for social security. I need to file chapter 7 but don't want to lose my house even though I can't afford the payments. What are my options? Can I get a pro-bono attorney to help me?

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Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You will not lose your house just because you file chapter 7. However, even in chapter 7 you will still have to pay for your house if you want to keep it.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/25/2014
Dickson Law Group, LLC
Dickson Law Group, LLC | John P. Dickson
You will lose your house if you do not make payments on it. If you cannot afford the payments, you have three options: (1) Apply for and obtain a loan modification. This will be impossible in your situation because you do not have income. (2) Defend the foreclosure. Some people have success dragging foreclosures out for months to years, and that breathing room gives them the time they need to secure alternate housing. (3) Walk away from the house now. The bank may offer you "cash for keys" if you are lucky. Good luck finding an attorney. Many mortgage foreclosure defense attorneys understand that their clients cannot afford much and offer flexible payment plans.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 11/25/2014
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
If you have no equity or less than $150,000 equity in your house then you will not lose your house.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/25/2014
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
Bankruptcy isn't going to let you keep your house if you don't make the payments on it. However, if you file bankruptcy it can make paying for your house more affordable in a couple of ways 1 you will have more money available to pay your mortgage and 2 with less debt, you are more likely to be eligible for a loan modification program.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 11/25/2014
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
In Colorado you get a homestead exemption of $60,000, unless you are 60 or older or disabled in which case it increases to $90,000. In other words, after subtracting the cost of sale (normally around 7 or 8% of the value of the home), you are entitled up to $60,000 in equity. If you have less equity then this amount, then you can keep your home while discharging your debts in a Chapter 7 BK. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 11/25/2014
    Freeman Law Group, LLC
    Freeman Law Group, LLC | Derek Freeman
    If you can't afford to make payments on your house, you will probably end up losing it at some point. That being said, you can claim a homestead exemption in your bankruptcy case so that it won't be taken in a bankruptcy. The specific dollar amount you can claim varies by state. But if you are filing for disability, you probably don't have much of an income, so if at some point you stop making payments, your mortgage lender will foreclose. If you file bankruptcy, you will not have to pay the deficiency. There may be other options to foreclosure, like a short sale. You should look into this and other options.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    If you can't make the payments you will lose the house. There are no free houses. Maybe you could rent some rooms?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    You must continue to pay your mortgage. If you have a totally unsecured second loan, a Chapter 13 may allow you to "strip" that junior lien entirely however.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    If you can't make the house payments, bankruptcy won't keep you from losing your house. Bankruptcy will erase your debts but it won't give you an income to keep your previous lifestyle. The only way to have that income again is to overcome your disability and go back to work.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP
    Steele, George, Schofield & Ramos, LLP | Alan E. Ramos
    Your ability to keep your house is dependent on your ability to make your mortgage payments or come to some understanding with the lender. Unfortunately, Chapter 7 will not help you keep your house if you cannot make the payments. This answer was provided as a public service to a question posed on the Law Q & A website. The answer is based on the information provided and is limited to those facts. Furthermore, the answer is based on California law and their application to bankruptcy law in California. Additional information could change the context of the question and materially change the answer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    You need to call your local legal aid to see if you qualify for free legal help. But even if they agree to help you, you will still have to pay for the filing fee. As for the house, you may not necessarily lose it in Chapter 7, especially if it's underwater. However, even if you don't lose it in a Chaper 7, you will lose it eventually in a foreclosure. You may be better off in a Chapter 13. Call legal aid.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    With no income you should qualify for pro bono services. You will not be able to keep your house if you cannot make the payments.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    Eranthe Law Firm
    Eranthe Law Firm | Cate Eranthe
    There is nothing that will allow you to keep the house if you can't make the payments. A chapter 7 can give you relief from other debt, like medical and credit cards, but won't allow you to keep a house that isn't paid for unless you can make the payments. If it was owned free and clear there would be other issues. There may be other mortgage issues or defenses that you should consult a lawyer about. The law is very fact specific and you need to get more information tailored to your situation. Depending on where you are there might be pro bono help. Contact your local legal aid society, local bar association referral panel, or look on the bankruptcy court website in your district for assistance. You need to speak to a local knowledgeable attorney who can advise you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    If you can't afford the mortgage payments on your house, a bankruptcy isn't going to stop it from being sold. You may have an additional issue of the Trustee trying to sell it in a Chapter 7 case, but there's nowhere near enough information provided to opine on that. It depends on the value of the home, the amount of equity in it, what other assets you need to exempt, which state's exemption laws apply in your case, and other factors. You need to have a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in your area to properly evaluate your risks, benefits and options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/25/2014
    EDWARD P RUSSELL | EDWARD P RUSSELL
    A Ch 7 may not help you to keep the house because though you should be able to protect any equity in the house you still must keep your payment current as the mortgage has a mortgage secured on your house. A Ch 13 would you allow to make up the arrears over the course of a 3-5 year plan. You may be able to get a hardship modification to your mortgage which would make the payment is more affordable. You should talk with your mortgage company.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 11/25/2014
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