RealtyTrac®, released its Q3 2014 Zombie Foreclosure Report. It reveals that 117,298 homes actively in the foreclosure process had been vacated by homeowners prior to a completed foreclosure. The total number of vacant foreclosures, better known as zombie foreclosures, represent 18% of all active foreclosures across the nation. When compared to the Q3 2013 Zombie Foreclosure Report there was a decrease of 5%, representing 34,735 less vacated foreclosure homes.
In many states, the foreclosure process has been shortened and made more efficient which explains the smaller number of vacant foreclosures nationwide. Other solutions to zombie foreclosures include state programs that help push the banks towards a resolution. Unfortunately, Florida does not have such a program in place. In Florida, the foreclosure process remains lengthy and at times cumbersome, which has unintentionally helped create more zombie foreclosures.
Nationwide, Florida documented the most zombie foreclosures by far of any state, with 35,913, followed by New York with 12,683: a huge gap. Despite a housing market that is slowly recovering— zombie foreclosures still continue to be a problem in Florida.
The problem results from banks who initiate the foreclosure process on delinquent homeowners in an effort to get them to pay. Because it can take years to force them from their home, some homeowners abandon their home, out of fear; the home then sits empty while the process continues. During the time the home is stuck in the backlog of Florida’s foreclosures, the homes become extremely dilapidated, becoming a safe haven for wildlife and the homeless.
In some cases, the foreclosure will be dropped by the bank and the original homeowner is liable for the home, while in other cases, the bank will take possession and ignore the home completely.
According to RealtyTrac®, it now takes an average of 615 days to complete a foreclosure in the United States, while in Florida it takes 951 days (on average) to complete the foreclosure process. For the average homeowner in Florida it takes over 2.5 years to be foreclosed on, which is a lot of time to have a home sitting vacant.
Despite efforts to speed up the foreclosure process with the passing of “fast track”, the foreclosure law designed to expedite the process, foreclosures are still very slow. The good news is that the situation is improving, although slowly.
Attorneys and mortgage lenders interested in learning more about zombie foreclosure can attend a live teleconference held on Thursday, January 29, 2015 by Graham Legal P.A. attorney, Ashley Arends. The live conference, “Prevent Zombie Foreclosures From Tormenting Your Clients” will provide essential tools and knowledge to combat post-foreclosure actions. If you are interested in learning more or registering click here.
If you have recently abandoned your home, but the bank has not yet foreclosed, talk to an experienced foreclosure attorney immediately. At Graham Legal, P.A. we offer a free consultation to those who have fallen victim to zombie foreclosures. We can help you create an action plan to put this situation finally behind you.