It’s hard to believe that someone could be in foreclosure and not even know it, but it does happen. When you miss a mortgage payment, the bank doesn’t come and take your home right away. Instead, the process is much slower than you might expect. After a few missed payments, you will receive a letter from the bank warning that if you don’t pay, you will lose your home. However, a letter can be pretty easy to ignore. And if you ignore it, chances are nothing will happen for months or even years. This leads many homeowners to the false assumption that they can get away with keeping their home without paying. But in reality, homeowners who are missing payments and not doing anything about it are diminishing their chances of avoiding foreclosure.
If you have missed payments on your mortgage, here is what you need to know:
Foreclosure is different in every state. Some states use a nonjudicial process, while others (including Florida), require the process to be judicial. The states that use a judicial process typically take longer to complete because a foreclosure must go through the courts. Florida ranks third on the list of states with the slowest foreclosure processes in the country, following New Jersey and New York, respectively. With an average of 935 days, foreclosures in Florida typically take over two and a half years to complete.
You need to respond to a summons and complaint. A summons and complaint is a written notice informing the defendant that a lawsuit has been filed against them. If you receive one, you have the right to respond and challenge the foreclosure. If you don’t respond to a summons and complaint, then you are accepting the lawsuit and are likely to be foreclosed on sooner.
You could be missing important information. If you don’t take the time to read mail that your lender sends you, or for some reason you never receive any documents, you won’t know what is going on with your foreclosure case. If you’ve missed mortgage payments and have not received any notifications, it’s your responsibility to find out where you stand. If you keep postponing getting in touch with your lender you are only hurting yourself.
Get informed. Once you’ve missed a mortgage payment, call your loan service provider to find out what your options are. If you’ve missed more than one payment, check your county’s website for public records of any lawsuits that may have been filed against you. Lastly, check your local newspaper to stay up to date on notices and foreclosure auction information.
Take Action. Once you know that your home is in foreclosure, you need to decide on a plan of action. Can you afford to keep your home? If not, you need to consider if you would like to proceed with a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure. If you want to keep your home, you may be able to apply for a loan modification that will lower your monthly payments and make your mortgage affordable.
While it’s good to have a lot of time before being faced with the urgency of foreclosure, it’s crucial to use your time wisely to get informed and be prepared. Avoiding the situation is one of the worst things you can do. If you are missing mortgage payments, call a Miami foreclosure defense attorney right away. Regardless of where you stand in your foreclosure case, the experienced attorneys at Graham Legal will fight for your rights and help you get the best arrangement you need.