Thursday, July 25, 2013

Maui Foreclosures

A mortgage allows many people to purchase a home who would not otherwise be able to afford one.  When the owner fails to make payments on the loan, the lender often seeks to foreclose on the home, which is the collateral for the mortgage. 

In Hawaii, a foreclosure can be judicial or non-judicial.  A judicial foreclosure has oversight by a judge and will go through a court process including a hearing before a judge before the house is sold.  There are many statutory requirements for a non-judicial foreclosure and they are only available in certain situations. 

A judicial foreclosure begins with the lender filing a lawsuit against the homeowner and asking the court to sell the property to satisfy the mortgage debt.  After the judge issues an order allowing the sale of the property, a foreclosure commissioner is appointed to dispose of the property in a way that is fair for all parties involved while obtaining the highest price. 

The commissioner will inspect the property, advertise the auction and market the property to potential bidders.  The commissioner will try to obtain the highest feasible price for the property in order to satisfy as much of the debt as possible. 

A confirmation hearing will be set by the court after the auction has taken place so the judge can determine if the sale to the highest bidder should be approved.  If additional bidders appear at the court hearing, the judge may reopen bidding for the property to see if a higher price can be obtained. 

Once the judge has confirmed the sale to a bidder at auction an escrow company distributes the proceeds of the auction in a way that will satisfy the debt and give any excess to the previous owner of the house.  Title is then transferred to the new owner. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Current Legal Headlines

Last week was eventful on the mainland as well as Hawaii for legal issues.  The U.S. Supreme Court made a noteworthy decision on the Defense of Marriage Act which directly addresses same-sex marriages. U.S. Supreme Court - Defense of Marriage Act

The U.S. Senate also made headlines by passing a bill that sets forth a thirteen year path to citizenship for eleven million unauthorized immigrants in the United States.  The bill effectively links a substantial border security increase to citizenship.  It will be interesting to see what happens to this proposed law in the House.  U.S. Senate Immigration Bill

In Hawaii, Governor Abercrombie is expected to sign a new law soon that will allow homeowners to purchase a solar photovoltaic system by using state bonds or “on-bill” financing.  The program will begin in 2014 and will enable people who could not otherwise afford the up-front cost of a project to install a solar system.