When you and your family have worked hard to buy a house, the last thing you want to hear is that it’s in danger of foreclosure. If you know your home is about to be foreclosed on or you’re already in the process of foreclosure, speaking with an experienced lawyer can help. Even if you feel like it’s already too late, there are plenty of options available that may let you keep your home. At the Cannon Law Offices, PLLC, Attorney Richard Cannon has been serving clients throughout eastern North Carolina since 1983. Call our office in Greenville, North Carolina today to schedule an appointment.



Reasons for Foreclosure

There are a few different reasons your lender may be foreclosing on your mortgage, but they all stem from failing to make payments, called “defaulting.” The missed payment can be for your actual loan amount, your property insurance, or your property taxes. In all of these cases, a lender is permitted to start the foreclosure process after a set period of time to recoup their losses. When you first entered into the mortgage agreement, you likely signed a promissory note and a deed of trust. The first documents ensure that you’ll pay back the loan, and the deed of trust gives the lender the right to sell the property if they’re not able to obtain reimbursement from you.

The Foreclosure Process

Legally, a lender must contact you after your initial missed payments to try to work out a plan for repayment (called “loss mitigation”) before they begin the foreclosure process. You may also receive a breach letter or an “intent to foreclose” letter in the mail, stating that you're in breach of your contract and that your loan is in default. This will also include repayment options to avoid foreclosure.

From the moment you begin to think that foreclosure is in your future, to the moment the foreclosure sale is finalized, there are several points along the way where you can—and should—seek help. Even after your home is sold, you have legal options. Don’t wait until the last minute to reach out to us at Cannon Law Offices, PLLC.

Notice of Hearing

A lender must get court approval to begin the foreclosure. They’ll do this by filing a “notice of hearing” with the court and alerting you to the filing. The notice of hearing provides the date, time, and location of the hearing, among other information. The notice of hearing must be provided to anyone required under the deed of trust. If a party cannot be personally served by mail, the sheriff can serve it by posting a copy of the notice in an obvious place on the property.

Once you receive this notice, you still have time to fight it—and it’s advisable to retain a foreclosure attorney to help. The Notice of Hearing tells you when the clerk will hold a hearing to determine whether six things are present:

  1. Do you own the property?

  2. Do you owe money to the lender under a promissory note secured by a deed of trust?

  3. Does the deed of trust allow the lender through a trustee to sell the property in the event of default?

  4. Has the lender given you proper notice of the foreclosure hearing?

  5. Is the mortgage debt not a home loan—or if it is a home loan, was a pre-foreclosure notice under G.S. 45-102 provided in all material respects, and certain time periods have elapsed?

  6. Is the foreclosure not barred under G.S. Section 45-21-12(A), a statute that protects certain military borrowers?

If all of these items are found in favor of the lender, the Clerk will issue an Order of Foreclosure authorizing the lender through the trustee to conduct a public sale of your property on a specific date, usually on the courthouse steps or another usual place at the courthouse. Remember, you still have plenty of opportunities to seek help at this stage in the foreclosure process. In fact, once you get served, you have at least 20 days before the actual hearing takes place.

Before the Sale

After the foreclosure but before the sale can take place, the sale must be advertised, usually in the legal section of the local newspaper, for at least two weeks prior to the date of the sale. Essentially, this means that property can’t be sold for at least two weeks. At any point during that period of time, the sale can be postponed for any number of reasons. This is yet another stage in the process where there is an opportunity to resolve the issue with the help of an attorney.

The Foreclosure Sale

You might wonder when a foreclosure sale becomes final. A foreclosure sale can be finalized at the end of the “upset bid period.” In foreclosure sales, there is a 10-day period in which other bidders may place a higher bid, or “upset bid,” for the property. Each new upset bid starts a new round of bidding, and the 10-day period is extended another 10 days. At any point during this time, a North Carolina attorney can step in and offer skilled legal counsel. In other words, you have options. One of these options is that at any time before 5:00 p.m. on the tenth day following the sale, the homeowner can file a petition under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code to stop the foreclosure.

Legal Rights & Options

Declaring Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to keep your home and set up a repayment plan. Unfortunately, a filing under Chapter 7 bankruptcy will only temporarily stop the foreclosure. If a person is considering bankruptcy, the earlier in the process they file their case, the better position they will be in if they are unable to complete their payments under the Chapter 13 plan. If their Chapter 13 plan is later dismissed, the foreclosure process will resume at the point it was stopped.

At any stage in the foreclosure process, whether you’re only a few months late on your mortgage payments or if a foreclosure sale has already been posted, it’s in your best interest to contact a Greenville lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options. In some cases, we may even be able to prove a wrongful foreclosure. This could happen if the lender made errors in their processing or if they violated state law in their communication with you. Our knowledgeable attorney can assess your specific situation and offer you legal counsel on the best way to stay in your home and the most advantageous way to work through the foreclosure. Our team has experience with North Carolina courts and the foreclosure process so that you can pursue meaningful, lasting solutions.


Although our office is in Greenville, North Carolina, we help people all around Eastern North Carolina including the Outer Banks, Beaufort County, Pitt County, Tyrell County, Lenoir County, Craven County, Pamlico County, Greene County, Martin County, Hyde County, Dare County, Pasquotank County, Gates County, Perquimmans County, Chowan County, Warren County, Bertie County, and Washington County. Nobody wants to go through a foreclosure, but there are usually steps you can take to minimize its negative effects on your future. Call us today at Cannon Law Offices, PLLC, to set up an appointment.