As a homeowner, you are likely familiar with the process required for obtaining a mortgage. You’ve already been through the steps of seeking out a lender and signing the stack of necessary documents, including a promissory note which expressed your intent to repay that loan. So, what happens when you miss one of those payments you agreed to make? If you’re in this situation, you likely have some questions. You are probably wondering, “How long is the pre-foreclosure process?” as well as what exactly that process entails. Our attorneys are here to shed some light on these topics.
Steps in Florida’s pre-foreclosure process
In spite of what your fears may lead you to believe, your lender cannot hit you with a foreclosure lawsuit simply because you missed one payment. There are several steps that must happen before foreclosure can commence:
- You undergo a change in your financial situation, that leads you to believe you will begin falling behind on mortgage payments.
- You miss your first payment, for which there is likely a grace period for you to bring the loan current. This will usually lead to a late fee, often five percent of what is overdue.
- You fail to make the payment within the grace period, officially putting your loan in default.
- You miss another payment, and then another, at which time you have probably been contacted by the loan servicer in an attempt to secure the payment.
- You miss your fourth payment, officially bringing you to the pre-foreclosure waiting period. Depending on your repayment structure, you may not be at this stage for long before the lender files a case and you receive a notice of complaint. The lender must wait until your loan has been in default for 120 days before beginning the foreclosure process.
While the technical answer to “How long is the pre-foreclosure process?” is 120 days, the actual length of the pre-foreclosure process is not always the same for every debtor. This is because some lenders may not pursue foreclosure as soon as they are able to, sometimes because you are still actively exploring foreclosure alternatives. That said, it is essential to keep in mind that even if you are in the midst of securing an alternative to foreclosure, your lender may concurrently begin the foreclosure process. A foreclosure defense attorney can assist you in avoiding this scenario.
Does pre-foreclosure always lead to foreclosure?
With the right strategy, the pre-foreclosure process will not necessarily result in foreclosure. There are steps you can take to stop a foreclosure in its tracks. From the moment you believe you will start falling behind on payments, you should contact a foreclosure defense attorney to learn more about your options. This consultation can take place even before you miss your first payment. Depending on your situation, the attorney might recommend you pursue refinancing or loan modification. Throughout the pre-foreclosure process, the right lawyer can help you apply for such alternatives and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way. If these are not viable options or they are denied by your lender, your attorney can represent you in foreclosure proceedings to make sure you receive the best outcome.
If you believe you may begin missing mortgage payments, the time to consult with a foreclosure defense attorney is now. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.