FORECLOSURE IN THE POST-COVID WORLD
What makes this cycle of home foreclosure different from the Great Recession? That's easy. This time around the average home-owner in foreclosure has an average of 10% equity in their home. The average home price in Florida in June 2021 was around $340,000. This means the average homeowner has approximately $30,000 - $40,000 of equity in their home. Even if you are behind on your mortgage, you may have a significant amount of equity in your home. Any solution to your foreclosure problem starts with the understanding that you must protect your equity. That equity is the difference between building wealth and being in a perpetual state of debt. We will help you form a strategy to save your home or your equity or both.
WHAT IS A FORECLOSURE?
Foreclosure is when the bank sues you to take your home because you didn't pay the mortgage. The bank files their lawsuit where you live. Their goal is to take your home and get a money judgment for what you owe. Once the bank has their judgment the court puts your home up for sale at the county foreclosure auction. Sometimes investors will pay cash for your home at these auctions, but usually the bank buys the title to your home. Once the foreclosure sale is over you could be evicted from your house within 11-14 days.
Keep in mind that there are a number of different strategies to consider if you are currently behind on your mortgage or in foreclosure. Depending on your loan we may be able to delay any foreclosure action by making a request to your lender. See our Loan Modification page for more details.
Frequently Asked Questions
I received a letter from my bank
The bank letter is notice that the bank is calling their loan due and gives you a payment deadline to get caught up. Once the deadline passes the case goes to the bank lawyer to start the foreclosure. Contact us as soon as you get that bank letter. If you want to save your equity you need to act fast.
A process server came to my house and dropped off papers.
You were officially served with "foreclosure papers." This is the official foreclosure lawsuit. Once served, you have 20 days to respond. Your response has to be an official response filed with the clerk of courts or it won't count and you will lose your home fast. DO NOT file your own response. In our experience people that file their own response after getting served lose their homes much quicker. Call us immediately and let us provide you with real legal representation.
What happens if I don't respond to the complaint?
If you don't respond to the complaint within 20 days then you will lose your home quickly. A default will be entered against you and your options will be limited. Your case becomes harder and more expensive to defend.
Do I have a defense?
Yes. But that isn't the most important consideration. What matters most is protecting your financial future by protecting your equity. If you give up because you think you don't have a defense then you will lose your equity or, at the very least, lose control over your equity.
I want to save my home, what do I do?
Call us right now. Saving your home involves either a loan modification or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. If the goal is to save your home, time is not your friend. We need to act fast or the amount of money it will take to save your home will grow rapidly and make success unlikely.
I want to delay the foreclosure to figure out my options?
Delay was the primary strategy during the Great Recession because the housing market collapsed and values crashed. But times have changed and our post-Covid economy has seen a historic rise in home values which means you probably have equity in your home. Its likely you have equity and if you do then delay will only sacrifice that equity. We will sit down with you and figure out the value of your home, how much you owe, and how much debt you have and then help you form a strategy that works for you. But, be very careful to sign on with any lawyer that tells you delay is the primary goal. That is old thinking for an old world.
I want to go to trial.
We review every case for likelihood of success at trial. If we know we can win then we will win. If not then we will tell you the truth.
I want to win my home free and clear, is this possible?
No. There is almost no scenario where you win your home free and clear. Even if we win your trial the bank is usually given unlimited chances to refile the foreclosure case and try again.
What is a deficiency balance?
The deficiency is the difference between the value of your home and what you owe at the time the bank takes possession of the home. If you have equity when the foreclosure starts it may turn into a deficiency by the end of the lawsuit so its important to hire lawyers that understand how the economics work for you.
Am I responsible for the deficiency?
Yes. Unless the bank agrees to waive the deficiency you will be responsible for the amount of the final judgment minus the current value of the home.
Can I sell my home?
Yes. But speak to us before hiring a realtor. With some of the lowest inventory numbers in the history of the modern marketplace, selling a home is not as difficult as it has been in the past. However, undertrained and under qualified real estate agents convince people to sign contracts without a thorough review and also charge staggering commissions even though they don't have the expertise to command such high pay. Based on Florida's median home sales price in June 2021 the average real estate commissions you pay on a transaction is around $20,000. Our lawyers are also real estate agents and will help you sell your home at reduced commissions to save you money. If you have equity we will help you keep that equity in your pocket. Our lawyers also bring 60+ combined years of real estate law experience to your transaction. We will guide you through the process in a way a realtor cannot while saving you a lot of money.
How long does the foreclosure process take?
We expect the foreclosure process will move much more quickly this time around so we don't want to focus on the length of time. Your focus should be on how fast we can solve this problem. We expect the average case to take around 9-12 months, but unless you're upside down we don't want to take that kind of time.
Can my homeowner's association or condo association foreclose my home?
Yes, and they are a real pain in the butt. If you don't pay your HOA or COA dues then they can foreclose your home. If you want to keep your home or keep your equity then you need to get the HOA or COA bills paid as soon as possible. We can help workout solutions if you cannot afford a lump sum payment.
OVER THE YEARS
Over the years we have seen a number of foreclosure defense lawyers get arrested or lose their license to practice law. The common theme is they sell people on stories that are too good to be true and then the lawyer spends all of their time trying to scam people out of their money or home or both. If someone tells you a story that's too good to be true, that's because it isn't true. Our consumer lawyers have spent the last 20 years working throughout the State of Florida helping consumers find real solutions to their financial problems. Don't become another victim. Call us today.
If you're facing foreclosure and want to discuss your best options please complete our free case review form.
Florida Consumer Lawyers will review your claim and discuss the matter with you for free.