If you are being faced with foreclosure, you may have many questions. This can be a confusing and challenging time, but our South Florida foreclosure attorneys are here to help. Learn more about the Florida foreclosure process with these commonly asked questions.
What is Foreclosure?
Foreclosure is what occurs when a homeowner fails to make payments on their mortgage. The bank or financial institution that holds the mortgage may foreclose on the property. The lender will file records with the court, and the legal ownership of the property can be given to the lender to recoup their losses.
What is a Lien?
A lien is a legal claim on real estate that protects a creditor to secure payment for a debt or obligation. If the debt goes unpaid, the creditor may be able to seize the asset.
What is a Short Sale?
A short sale is when a bank or lender is willing to accept less than the full amount of the mortgage. The owners may sell the house to another buyer or investor, and the bank can recover the bulk of their investment without the process of foreclosure. Often, lenders will accept short sales to avoid the time and expense of litigation, especially if the home may be sold for an amount close to the total amount owed on the mortgage.
What are the Pre-Foreclosure Steps in Florida?
Before your home can be foreclosed upon, the lender must follow these steps:
- Notice of Default: The lender informs the homeowner that they have failed to make payments and have defaulted on the mortgage. This is the first step of the foreclosure process.
- Disputing the Validity of the Debt: As a borrower, you can dispute the validity of the debt or the default. This should be done in writing to the lender, as soon as possible. This is not necessary, but can allow homeowners to protect their home from unfair foreclosure.
- Opportunity to Cure: As a borrower, you can reinstate you mortgage by catching up on your payments. You may determine a set amount with the lender that you can pay to reinstate your mortgage.
- Option to Accelerate: Upon written notice, the lender can demand the entire balance of the mortgage to be paid to avoid foreclosure.
How Long Does the Foreclosure Process Take in Florida?
Depending on the court schedule it can take between 180 and 200 days to finalize an uncontested foreclosure. If the borrower contests the action, files for bankruptcy, or seeks delays or adjustments, the process can take far longer. The mortgage holder may speed the process by aggressively pursuing the case and pressuring the courts to handle the case more quickly.
Can I Be Kicked Out of My Home?
Only a court order can force you to move out of your house. You may be evicted, but first the mortgage holder must first finish the foreclosure process, and then complete the eviction process. This can take a great deal of time, and is designed to protect homeowners from losing their home before the foreclosure process is complete.
Can I Stop My Foreclosure?
There are several options to stop your foreclosure, but the longer you wait, the less options you will have. Get in touch with a South Florida foreclosure attorney to learn what you can do to stop the process and protect your home.
What Happens During a Foreclosure Sale?
There are two types of foreclosure sale in Florida. The first sale is the traditional type, where your home is auctioned off by the court clerk to interested bidders. The second type is an online sale, which works similar to internet bidding websites. Interested parties can bid on your home through the website.
Can I Sell My Property and Get My Money Out?
You can sell property, even during foreclosure. Whether you profit from the sale depends on the equity in your home and if the sale price is greater than the amount you owe on your mortgage. If your home’s equity is not greater than the amount owed in mortgage debt, it is unlikely that you will see any profits from the sale. It is likely that the entire sale price will be used to pay off the mortgage of the home.
What is Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure?
This is when the deed of the property is given by the property owner to the lender, rather than going through the foreclosure process. It can help the homeowner avoid litigation, and usually is an agreement that grants the lender the deed of the property in exchange for forgiving the homeowner’s debt.
Do I Need to Continue Living in My Home to Qualify for Mortgage Assistance or a Loan Modification?
Typically, you do need to remain in your home to qualify for government authorized loan help programs. If the property is not residential and the owner is not occupying the property, it can be difficult to get help with the property debt. You may still be able to get a loan modification from the lender or an internal bank program.
Can the Bank Collect the Difference if My Property is Sold for Less Than I Owe?
Yes. If the sale of the property doesn’t cover the entire mortgage debt, the lender may still pursue the remaining balance on the property. They will have to go through a deficiency proceeding, where the lender must show evidence about how much the property is worth and how much is still owed. The court will then decide the deficiency judgement, and how much the lender can collect.
What is an Underwater Mortgage?
This type of mortgage is what occurs when the value of the property is less than what is owed on the mortgage. When housing bubbles burst and property values drop, homeowners may be left owing more money than their home is worth.
Are you facing a foreclosure? Our South Florida foreclosure attorneys may be able to help. At Pazos Law Group, we believe in fighting for the right of our clients, and protecting their interests in their home. We are backed by extensive experience in foreclosure cases throughout South Florida, and we have the knowledge, skill, and drive to help you protect your home. Contact our offices today by calling (954) 719-5557.