A Step-by-Step Guide to Florida Residential Foreclosures

Almost all foreclosures will of course begin with the homeowner missing payments on their mortgage. Usually, the lender will not take action against you until you have missed three payments. Once this occurs, the official foreclosure process will begin.

Step 1 – The homeowner will be served with a breach letter from the lender stating that they have defaulted on their loan. Mortgages include an Acceleration clause which allows the lender to require the homeowner to pay off the entire balance of the loan if they default. The homeowner will be given 30 days to “cure” the default by either bringing the loan up to date or paying off the loan per the Acceleration clause.

Step 2 – If the loan is not cured in 30 days, then the lender will file a complaint, meaning they will bring a lawsuit against the owner to foreclose on the home. The homeowner will be served with the complaint and have 20 days to respond. If they do not respond, then the lender will likely receive a default judgment. If you do respond, the foreclosure case will go to either a summary judgment or trial.

Step 3 – The lender will likely try to make a motion for summary judgment first, meaning the material facts of the case are not in dispute and the lender will receive a final judgment of foreclosure against the homeowner. If the material facts surrounding the case can be reasonably disputed, then the case may proceed to trial.

Step 4 – At trial, the homeowner’s attorney and the lender will present their evidence to a judge who will make a decision regarding the case. If the judge hands down a final judgment of foreclosure, as in a summary judgment, the foreclosure will move forward and a sale date for the home will be set.

Step 5 – The sale of the home must be publicized for at least two weeks, and then the actual sale will occur, usually in the form of an auction. The highest bidder, whether a third party or the lender, will then purchase the home.

Step 6 – Assuming the lender purchases the home, then the lender will seek a certificate of title from the Clerk of Court. Once they obtain the certificate of title, they will officially possess the home and can file a Writ of Possession to have the previous homeowner evicted from the home.

Step 7 – A sheriff will serve the writ and the homeowner will have 24 hours to vacate the premises or be removed by the sheriff.

There are numerous defenses and chances for relief throughout the foreclosure process for homeowners in Florida.These defenses are vital to place pressure on the lender and process and finalize a loan modification or a short sale. If you are facing foreclosure, it is vital that you enlist the services of a skilled foreclosure defense attorney like Ray Garcia as early in the process as possible in order to give yourself the best chance to minimize the damage and potentially save your home. Call the Law Office of Ray Garcia today to learn more.