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Frequently Asked Foreclosure Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the Foreclosure Process

I'm sure you have a lot of questions about foreclosures and the foreclosure process. It's one of the top keyword phrases being typed into search engines, like Google, all across the country.

We understand your concern and worries and we're here to help you.

Below are some frequently asked questions about foreclosures in the state of Florida. We're sure you'll be able to find the information you need but if you have a question that we haven't answered here, please contact us at 954-335-7025 or email us today for a free foreclosure consultation.

Hollywood, Florida Foreclosure AttorneyHow are Florida Mortgages Foreclosed?

The primary method of foreclosure in Florida is the result of a law suit filed by the lender against the owner of the property. If the owner does not file an Answer to the suit or another pleading within 20 days of receipt of the suit, the lender can get a Default Judgment against the homeowner and proceed with the foreclosure and eventual sale of your property.

How Long Does it Take to Foreclose on a Property in Florida?

Depending on the timing of the various required notices, it usually takes a minimum of 90 days to effectuate an uncontested foreclosure. However, these days, we are seeing it anywhere from 90 days to over 15 months with some lenders due to the backlog. This process may be further delayed if the borrower contests the action in court, seeks delays and adjournments of sales, or files for bankruptcy.

Are Deficiency Judgments or Short Sales Permitted in Florida?

Only in certain circumstances. The laws surrounding this are complex and confusing. We have assisted many clients in negotiating with their lender when they have come after them for a deficiency judgment after a foreclosure, or to negotiate a short sale prior to foreclosure.

How Can I Stop A Foreclosure?

By working with our firm we have several options that we use to stop your foreclosure, get you current again and help you with your situation. Doing nothing doesn't stop a foreclosure, but waiting too long and doing nothing can affect your chances at negotiating a better way to keep your home, or get rid of it.

If My Home Forecloses, Can My Lenders Come After Me For The Loss?

Yes, depending on the situation and the facts, which is why is important that you work with an experienced law firm, to avoid such a deficiency judgment. You need to hire a firm who not only is experienced in negotiating a work-out for your mortgage, but also knows the laws and rules regarding foreclosure and deficiency judgments, which unfortunately most in the real estate industry and even most attorneys do not know.

Can I Just Deed My Property To Someone And Avoid Foreclosure?

Deeding your property to a third party does not eliminate your obligations related to the loan. Unless the mortgage is paid off when you deed the property, you will almost certainly remain as the party primarily responsible for the repayment of the loan. If the lender eventually forecloses, it will be on your credit record. If you deed your property to a third party you also give up control of the property. It is nearly always a bad idea to simply deed your property to a third party. Do not deed your property to someone without paying off the loan unless you have consulted with an attorney.

What Will a Foreclosure do to my Credit?

A foreclosure on your credit record will negatively impact your ability to borrow money for years, as it remains on your credit report for 7 years. However, short sales, and deed-in-lieu of foreclosures are much less damaging. For most people, it is well worth the time, effort and money to work with us to help them solve the problem before the foreclosure is completed.

What does a Default Mean?

If a Default has been recorded against you it means your lender has completed the formal foreclosure suit process, and will be getting ready to acquire your property and offer it for sale. In Florida, a borrower usually must be a couple of months delinquent before a lender will commence a foreclosure action by filing a law suit. It is important to act to avoid losing the property and having a foreclosure on your record. Typically we are able to postpone and even cancel these if we are already working with the homeowner when suits are filed, but we are unable to even consult with homeowners who have a auction sale date set for less than three weeks out.

I Have Heard Of Foreclosure Scams, What Should I Look For?

Unfortunately there are quite a few people that might try and take advantage of your temporary misfortune. These people will try and convince you that they can provide a quick and easy solution to your mortgage problem. As a general rule, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Here are a few examples of the scams you could encounter:

"You need to sell your property fast or you will be ruined." If you have equity, these scam artists want it. By promising to provide fast cash they solve your problem and they get your equity. On occasion they offer a small amount of money to you - which is normally a signal they are getting lots of your equity.

"Sign the deed to the property to us and we will take care of everything." Sometimes called the "Bailout" scam, the investor tells the homeowner that he will be allowed to stay in the home and pay "rent" to the investor until a long term solution can be worked out. Once the owner signs the deed to the property over to the investor, big trouble usually follows. If the investor has the deed, the investor has control. Here is the big kicker - the homeowner who signed over the deed is still responsible for the loan. The investor nearly never makes the mortgage payments and the homeowner gets hit with the foreclosure.

"For a consulting fee I will work with your lender to find a solution." It is almost always illegal in the state of Florida for anyone, besides an attorney, to collect a fee as payment for making arrangements with your lender.

Consumer Alert: Many people are using real estate agents/brokers these days to negotiate their short sales, however we do not recommend using a real estate agent for anything other than the primary purpose of marketing and selling their home. Real estate agents/brokers are not attorneys, and most of them are unfamiliar with the complex rules and laws surrounding mortgages and the foreclosure process. In addition, agents are concerned with their bottom line (their commission), which is obtained by getting the house sold and we have seen it many times where the agent will get the home sold, but then later the homeowner is pursued for a deficiency judgment, 1099, etc. This is because the real estate agent either didn't know, or didn't care to negotiate these critical components as they were only concerned with selling the home to get their commission. We include deficiency judgment, 1099 issuance and credit reporting for every one of our short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosures.

We have also heard of realtor's attempting loan modifications, charging an up front fee, "failing" to get a loan modification, and then convincing the homeowner that their only chance now is to do a short sale. The realtor then charges another up-front fee, plus the commission they get from the sale of the home. In addition, we have seen realtors charging excessive commissions and placing homeowners in extremely long contracts. We advise our clients to never enter into a contract to sell the home with a real estate agent for longer than 90 days. In addition, lenders have a maximum set amount they will pay a realtor, and they will not cover any additional "fees" in a short sale. These amounts typically range from 4%-6% maximum for commission with no tolerance for additional "escrow" etc fees that realtors will try to tack on.

Will A Short Sale Stop A Foreclosure?

While the Short Sale itself does not stop the foreclosure, lenders normally work with us and delay the foreclosure if necessary, if they receive a legitimate Short Sale proposal.

If My Lender Has Started A Foreclosure, Can I Still Sell My Property?

Absolutely, In fact, your lender would rather you sell the property than allow the foreclosure to continue. Your lender does not want to take your property through foreclosure. Even if you have no equity in the property, the lender wants to find a solution. This is precisely why lenders agree to a Short Sale and accept a discounted payoff to fully satisfy the loan. In a Short Sale, the lender in nearly all cases pays all the closing costs - including title fees, escrow fees and the real estate commission.

Should I Speak with my Lender When they call?

It is best that you not avoid calls or letters from your mortgage company, particularly if a foreclosure is pending. If you are being represented by our firm you can let them know that we are representing you and they can contact us. Please be aware that the people who call (collection calls) from your lender are from the collection department, and not the work-out departments. Therefore they have very little documentation on your file, in fact a lot of the times these calls are outsourced and they are calling from India to try to collect on the loan or get you to make a payment.

What If I Don't Own the House But Am Renting?

As renter, you may have been named in the foreclosure lawsuit because you are in possession of the house. A recent change in the law requires that banks must abide by the terms of the lease even if the property is being foreclosed upon. So, you cannot be thrown out just because of the foreclosure process.

For further information or to discuss getting help with bankruptcy, short sales, or foreclosure we invite you to schedule a free confidential consultation with our experienced Florida foreclosure prevention attorneys by calling us at 954-335-7025 or filling out our email us: The confidential consultation is free.

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Law Office of Neil Leavitt, P.A.
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Davie, FL 33314

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