A haunting number of “zombie” foreclosures threaten the South Florida real estate market. With 54,900 total abandoned homes recorded for the entire state, Florida takes the lead. Zombie foreclosures are homes that have been abandoned by both the homeowner and the bank. Due to the large number of foreclosures, banks are flooded with maintaining foreclosed homes, thus they’ll often commence the foreclosure process and walk away from the foreclosure.
The bigger problem is that homeowners are frightened by the notice of filed foreclosure and they abandon their home believing that the bank automatically owns their home. The home actually belongs to the homeowner until a final judgment in the bank’s favor is made or it is sold at auction. The foreclosure process, under normal conditions, can last a few years, but under these circumstances it can last several more.
Abandoning the home prematurely creates a few problems for the homeowners. One of them being that until the bank relinquishes the property, it is the responsibility of the homeowner. Meaning the home needs to be maintained in non-hazardous conditions by the homeowner, taxes need to be paid, and the home must be insured. Avoided payments can potentially be tacked onto the final judgment.
Aside from the liability on the homeowner, it’s not financially savvy to move out right away. Throughout the duration of the foreclosure, homeowners can continue to live in the home without making any mortgage payments. Whereas, if the family moves out, they will have to make a deposit for any place they decide to rent and they will be making monthly rent payments going forward. Thus it makes more sense to remain in the home, use the savings to build up their bank account, get back on their feet, and seek legal representation to defend the foreclosure.
If you receive a foreclosure notice don’t abandon the property. If you’re worried or scared of being kicked out of the home, we can assure you that it won’t happen overnight, there will be enough notice to allow you to plan accordingly. You don’t have to go through the foreclosure blindly, meet with us for a free, no-obligation consultation, where we can discuss where your case stands, the approximate timeline for your case, and what we can do to help.