Two Important Issues To Consider When Using A Home As Bail Collateral
Using your house as bail collateral is certainly an option when you don't have enough money to pay the amount ordered by the court or a bail agency requires you to secure the bail bond with something more than just your signature. Before you sign over control of your home, however, here are two important issues you need to factor in to ensure fully understand what you're getting into.
There May Be Additional Costs Involved
Whether you go through a bondsman or deal directly with the court, using real estate as collateral is more complex than paying cash. For starters, you must submit proof your home has enough value to cover the bail. Additionally, you must provide a clear title free from attachments (e.g. other liens) that could make it hard to sell the property.
These requirements mean you'll be writing checks for title searches, appraisals, and associated legal costs in addition to fees charged by the court or bail agent. For instance, you may still have to pay a service fee to the bail company even though you're using your home as collateral. Research all the costs involved in the process so you have a clear idea of how much money you need to bail your loved one out of jail.
However, don't be afraid to ask if there are no-cost options available. Some places will let you use an old appraisal if it was done within a certain amount of time, for example, so you don't have to pay for a new one. Bailing someone out of jail can be expensive, so do what you can to reduce your costs.
You Can't Sell the Home Until the Case Concludes
When you use a home as collateral, the state or bail agency will put a temporary lien on it in the bail amount. Once the defendant shows up for all their trial dates and a verdict is rendered in the case, the lien (and any other legal attachments) will be removed.
The problem is, depending on the charges, a criminal case can take anywhere from a few days to several years to conclude. In the meantime, you will be unable to sell the home for any reason. Thus, you should only use your home if you plan on keeping it for the length of time it takes for the defendant's case to end.
There are many other things to take into consideration when using a home as bail collateral. Contact a local bail bonds service for more information and assistance with getting your loved one out of jail.