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Staying Afloat: Can Homeowners in Columbia Avoid Foreclosure by Filing for Bankruptcy?

Homeownership is a dream for many individuals and families, providing a sense of stability and belonging. However, unforeseen financial hardships can turn this dream into a nightmare, pushing homeowners to the brink of foreclosure. To protect their homes and gain some breathing room, some homeowners may consider filing for bankruptcy. In this blog, we’ll explore the options available to homeowners in Columbia facing foreclosure and whether bankruptcy can help them stay in their property.

Understanding Foreclosure and Bankruptcy

Foreclosure is a legal process through which a lender repossesses a property due to the homeowner’s inability to make mortgage payments. Once the foreclosure process begins, the homeowner risks losing their home and damaging their credit score significantly.

Bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a legal process that allows individuals and businesses to seek relief from overwhelming debt. When someone files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is enacted, which temporarily halts most collection activities, including foreclosure proceedings. This gives the homeowner some time to reassess their financial situation and explore potential solutions to keep their property.

Types of Bankruptcy for Homeowners in Columbia

In Columbia, homeowners typically have two primary options for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

  1. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Also known as “liquidation bankruptcy,” Chapter 7 involves selling non-exempt assets to pay off debts. However, Columbia’s bankruptcy exemptions may allow homeowners to protect some or all of their equity in their primary residence, preventing its sale during the bankruptcy process.
  2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Chapter 13, or “reorganization bankruptcy,” involves creating a manageable repayment plan over three to five years to pay off debts. Through this process, homeowners can catch up on missed mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. If they maintain regular payments under the plan, they can retain their property.

Can Bankruptcy Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure in Columbia?

Yes, filing for bankruptcy can help homeowners in Columbia avoid foreclosure, at least temporarily. The moment the bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect, immediately halting the foreclosure process. This stay remains in effect throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, providing the homeowner with some much-needed time to explore their options.

For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if the homeowner can protect their property using Columbia’s bankruptcy exemptions and continue making regular mortgage payments, they can keep their home. However, it’s crucial to remember that Chapter 7 may not be the best option for homeowners who are significantly behind on their mortgage payments and unable to catch up.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is specifically designed to help homeowners catch up on their missed mortgage payments. By proposing a repayment plan to the court, the homeowner can spread the arrears over several years while continuing to make their regular mortgage payments. As long as they adhere to the repayment plan, they can avoid foreclosure and maintain ownership of their property.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Navigating the bankruptcy process can be complex, and it’s essential to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to understand the best course of action for individual circumstances. An attorney can assess the homeowner’s financial situation, advise them on the most suitable bankruptcy type, and guide them through the necessary steps to protect their home.


While facing the possibility of foreclosure can be a daunting experience, homeowners in Columbia have legal options available to help them stay in their property. Filing for bankruptcy can offer a lifeline, providing an automatic stay that temporarily halts foreclosure proceedings. Whether through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, homeowners can find a pathway to regain control of their financial situation and keep their cherished homes. However, it’s crucial to remember that bankruptcy is a serious decision with long-term implications, so seeking professional guidance is essential to make the best-informed choices. Give us a Call at 843-919-4343.

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