The timeline for a foreclosure in Florida can be complicated when a homeowner has never been informed of the process. Most homeowners in Florida sign a promissory note and receive a mortgage when buying their new property. This note states that the borrower will pay for a property in full over a set period of time, dependent upon the type of mortgage and lender. When a borrower can no longer make payments towards the property, the lender can and will pursue a foreclosure once the borrower is delinquent on payments for 120 days. All Florida foreclosures are judicial, requiring the lender to file the foreclosure through a state court.
What Happens When You Miss Your Mortgage Payments?
When a lender is ready to proceed with foreclosure, a formal complaint will be filed through the court and served on the borrower. Once the borrower has received the Complaint Petition they then have 20 days to respond before the judge can rule in favor of the lender. If the borrower does not respond to the petition, the most likely result is a default judgment in which the court rules in favor of the lender. If the borrower hires a knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorney and responds to the Complaint, several important defenses will be raised. Many defenses to a mortgage foreclosure action exist and a lender, who is usually several times removed from the original lender, must prove several very important facts before they can obtain a foreclosure judgment. If the court deems the borrower’s defenses viable, a summary judgment for the lender will be denied and the discovery phase and trial will proceed. If the defenses are not viable, judgment will be entered in favor of the lender.
If the court rules in favor of the lender, a sale of the property will be scheduled to take place in approximately 30 days after judgment.
The Foreclosure Sale
At the foreclosure sale, the property will be sold to the highest bidder. Often the highest bidder is the lender, as they have a credit bid for the amount of the foreclosure judgment. If this is the case, the foreclosed property becomes officially owned by the bank. Regardless of who the highest bidder is, the next step in the foreclosure timeline is the Certification of Sale filed by a county clerk. The borrower has 10 days to file an objection to the bid amount once the Certification of Sale has been issued. After this period, the county clerk will prepare a Certificate of Title and issue it to the new owner.
Cash-For-Keys, Vacating the Premises and other Alternatives Available
If the homeowner is unrepresented by a knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorney defending a foreclosure action will generally end very soon. Generally, the lender will obtain a final judgment within four months and the sale will occur 30 days after entry of the final judgment. However, if the borrower hires a knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorney the timeline of a foreclosure action may extend well beyond one year. There are many defenses to a lender foreclosure action that may be asserted. Once asserted the lender has many issues of fact that they will have to prove to obtain a final judgment of foreclosure. If the lender cannot prove the required elements of their case they will lose and the foreclosure action will be dismissed.
While the foreclosure action is pending the foreclosure defense attorney can help the homeowner develop a plan of action to achieve the homeowner’s goals. Some people want to keep their home and the attorney can help guide the homeowner through the loan modification process. Other homeowners are interested in selling their property. By defending the foreclosure action, the homeowner can list the property for sale and complete a sale of the property before any judgment is entered. Another alternative is seeking cash for keys and an extended sale date of 120 days or more from entry of the final judgment. The information listed here is very basic. There are many strategies available to homeowners facing foreclosure. The best way to explore these options is to consult with a knowledgeable foreclosure defense attorney.
If you are facing a foreclosure yourself and have more questions, contact one of our expert Miami Foreclosure attorneys today.