Foreclosure is the process by which a lender attempts to recover the unpaid balance of a loan after the borrower discontinues payments. Foreclosure allows the lender to force a sale of the home in order to satisfy the remaining balance of the loan.
In Florida, if you have received a foreclosure summons complaint, you have 20 days to answer in order to avoid a default judgment being issued against you. Once your home is threatened by foreclosure, it is important to seek legal advice and explore what options may be available.
It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced foreclosure attorney prior to filing an appropriate answer to a foreclosure summons. The answer to a foreclosure summons can be the difference between quickly losing your home to a default judgment or maintaining and keeping your home for an extended period.
If your property becomes subject to foreclosure, here are some potential remedies to discuss with an experienced attorney:
- Reinstatement – To avoid the completion of the foreclosure process, you may be able to reinstate the loan by making payments on the past due amount. Generally, the lender will be cooperative if you bring your account up to date, or demonstrate that you now have the means to catch up on the past due payments.
- Mortgage Modification – The lender may be willing to modify the terms of the mortgage. Modification of the agreement may involve adding payments to the end of the mortgage and simply extend the term of the loan. Modification of the mortgage agreement may also be made by reducing the interest rate of the original Mortgage Agreement, and it could include partial forgiveness of the amount of money you owe.
- Forbearance Plan – As a borrower you may be able to file a forbearance plan with your mortgage provider. Under this arrangement, the lender will agree not to pursue the foreclosure action; but, the lender will likely require proof of adequate means to satisfy the repayment on the loan. This is generally a viable option if you have encountered a temporary setback such as poor health or loss of employment.
- Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure – You may also deed the home back to the mortgage provider if the lender agrees to accept a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. The lender will take back the property and cancel the remaining debt. You will be unable to keep your home, but avoid foreclosure and minimize the detriment to your credit score.
- Short Sale – To avoid foreclosure, you may also be able to sell your home for less money than the amount owed. A short sale can be completed by finding a buyer willing to pay current market value to purchase the home and have the mortgage provider agree to the sale. Any shortage after the sale will then either is written off by the lender and an IRS 1099 is issued to the seller, or a deficiency remains which the lender may pursue to collect against the seller.
Foreclosure continues to be a growing problem in Florida, and if it happens to you, the worst thing to do is ignore it.
If you or a loved one are being threatened by Foreclosure or have legal questions regarding any potential legal remedies, call Blick Law Firm today at (813) 931-0840. Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer to see what your legal rights are in defending a foreclosure action.