Foreclosure Timeline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Wed, Jun 22, 2011


Florida Bankruptcy LawyerWhen you bought your house, you held high hopes for the future. This was the place you’d raise your family, create a home. Only it didn’t work out that way. Perhaps it was job loss, divorce, injury, illness, a death–or a series of poor financial decisions. At this point, the cause doesn’t matter. You’re facing foreclosure, one of the worst things that could happen, but expected in the current economic crisis. What will happen to you and your home? What should you do?

The Typical Foreclosure Process

There are six major steps in a typical Florida foreclosure:

Notice of Default

Once you’ve fallen sufficiently behind in your mortgage (usually three months), your lender will serve you with a Notice of Default. If you cannot bring the note current, consult a Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer.

Lis Pendens, aka “Suit Pending.”

The lender’s attorney then files suit against you, calling for your mortgage to be paid in full. As with any civil lawsuit, you’ll be served, then given twenty days to file a response. This is a matter best handled by your Florida bankruptcy lawyer. Once you respond, you’ll be given a chance to present your side of the matter before a judge. Again, retain a bankruptcy lawyer; personal matters such as foreclosure are often best represented by a professional who is well-acquainted with the law.

Motion for Summary Judgment

At the end of the first answer period, expect the mortgage-holder’s attorney to file a Motion for Summary Judgment. This document asks the judge to find in favor of the plaintiff (your lender) without further process. You will be notified, and again given twenty days to respond. Your experienced Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer will be able to file motions which will can buy you more time, or challenge the foreclosure.

Foreclosure Sale

It’s possible that, during this process, you will be able to obtain a loan modification, sell your home (via short sale, if necessary), file a bankruptcy in which your mortgage arrearages are included, or find another solution to your foreclosure case. If not, however, the judge will set a sale date, upon which your home will be auctioned, generally within 30-45 days.

Right of Redemption

Once your house has been sold, you have ten or more days to redeem your property by paying what you owe. If this does not happen, the title will be given to the new owner, and you will be required to move. If you do not, the sheriff will evict you.

What Should You Do?

First, try to avoid this situation by working with your lender as soon as you realize you’re falling behind. Most lenders have workable solutions. If you know you can no longer afford your house, try to sell it before the foreclosure process begins, resorting to a short sale if necessary. In most cases, however, an actual foreclosure is best handled by a bankruptcy lawyer; personal financial problems often require a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 debt solution before you can obtain the peace of mind you’ve been missing for so long.

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