Florida Foreclosures Process
A foreclosure is the process the bank or lender uses to take your home. In Florida this process begins with the recording of a lis pendens and the service of a summons or complaint. The service of the summons begins the foreclosure lawsuit and requires immediate action.
If you are currently in foreclosure, you were likely served the foreclosure complaint when a process server handed you or your spouse the foreclosure summons. Once you are served with the foreclosure complaint you only have 20 days to respond in writing to the Court and to the Plaintiff. If you fail to answer the foreclosure summons your best defenses will be waived.
In plain language the foreclosure process allows the bank to take your home and apply the value or sale price at auction to the outstanding balance of your loan. Some mistakenly believe that the worst that can happen is the bank will take your home. Unfortunately, the consequences of a foreclosure are often much worse. The banks can not only take your home, but they can garnish your wages and bank accounts to collect the balance of what you owe.
When the value of the home is less than the amount owed on the loan then the homeowner will be charged with a deficiency judgment after the foreclosure sale. As we all know most homes in Florida are underwater, or worth less than the amount owed. If you are in this situation you risk being sued for the deficiency balance.
For example: Assume you owe $350,000 on your Note and Mortgage. After a job loss you fall behind on your payments and you are served with a foreclosure summons. If or when the lender is able to foreclose they will add all missed payments, interest, penalties, escrow amounts, attorney fees and costs to the amount owed. Often times this will add tens of thousands of dollars to the total balance owed under the Note and Mortgage. So if the mortgage company adds $50,500 in outstanding payments, fees and costs, the lender may obtain a Final Judgement in the total amount of $400,500.
Now assume that the value of your home is only $200,000 at the time of the final judgment of foreclose on your property. This will cause a deficiency judgement of $200,500 which you will still be owed even after you lose your home.
However, there are steps you can take after being served with a foreclosure summons which will protect you and your family. A foreclosure defense lawyer can help show you how to save your home and develop a strategy to protect you from a deficiency judgment.
In Florida you have only 20 days to answer the summons in writing.
To learn more about what to do after you are served with a foreclosure summons and to understand the foreclosure process in Florida, contact the attorneys at The Owens Law Firm, we are experienced foreclosure defense attorneys and provide a free initial consultation that will answer all of your questions aout the foreclosure process in Florida.
We can answer your questions about a variety of topics such as:
- Foreclosure Defense
- Strategic Default
- Loan Modifications
- Short Sales
- Deed in Lieu
- Debt Relief