Foreclosure article written by Columbia lawyer Daniel Stone

What is the last possible day to save my house by filing bankruptcy if it is in foreclosure?  In South Carolina, you can still save your home from a foreclosure sale if the bankruptcy is filed before the actual Master in Equity sells your home at a foreclosure sale. In South Carolina, most foreclosure sales take place the first Monday of each month. If you have a Federal loan with the V.A. or a mortgage loan on a mobile home only (land not included), this may not apply. Additionally, if there is a holiday the week leading up to the sale, the sale date may differ.

Generally, you will have 30 days from the time you have been served a Summons and Complaint for Foreclosure or a Lis Pendens. After the 30 days expires, a hearing will be set to determine the sale date. Is there any relief available if the Master sells the property? In South Carolina there is still the chance you can save your property through bankruptcy if the property is sold at foreclosure and the mortgage lender is seeking a “deficiency balance”. This means that the Master has to set a second sale date within thirty days. If you file a bankruptcy within this period, you can save your home from the sale. Please note that many mortgage lenders initially state on their pleadings that they are seeking a deficiency but later waive the deficiency on the day of sale. In addition, our bankruptcy judges have ruled that a Debtor can save their home from foreclosure after the first sale date as long as the mortgage lender is seeking a deficiency.

Finally, if you are currently in this position, I highly recommend that you retain a bankruptcy attorney to help you determine how much time you have remaining. At the very least, call the Master in Equity in your county and the mortgage lender’s lawyer to determine the sale date. In Lexington County, the sale dates are posted at least ten days prior to the sale. Attached are guide lines in Lexington County to help you determine the correct date. http://www.lex-co.sc.gov/departments/DeptIQ/mie/Pages/MIEFAQ.aspx