Written by attorney Matthew David Bavaro

Florida foreclosure Process Step by Step

This post is designed to help you understand how the Florida foreclosure process works step by step.

  1. Here is the first step in the Florida foreclosure process. Most Florida mortgages contain a provision in paragraph 22 of the mortgage that deals with an acceleration notice. An acceleration notice is a letter that the bank would send to you indicating that your loan is in default and that your mortgage is being accelerated. This means that your entire mortgage balance is due and payable. So, if you owe a total of $200,000 on your mortgage, you must pay that entire $200,000 within a specified time, usually 30 days. It does not matter that you are behind 6 moths for a total of $7000 in missed payments, the entire balance of $200,000 would be due. If you have received one of these notices, it would definitely be a good idea to start getting legal advice.

  2. This is the second step in the Florida foreclosure process. Once the time frame in the acceleration notice has elapsed and the homeowner has not paid off the mortgage, the bank will file its lawsuit for foreclosure. They will typically 3 main documents. One is a lis pendes which a simply a document that gets filed in the county recording office that tells the world that there is some litigation going on regarding the property. The second is a summons. The summons is a document that tells you that you have 20 days to file a response the complaint. It will tell you in which court you need to file the original response and to whom you must serve a copy. If you fail to properly respond to the complaint, you will admit that everything the bank is alleging is true and you will be waiving your right to raise defenses. The third document is the foreclosure complaint. This is the actual lawsuit. The bank names the parties to the action and makes the necessary allegations, such as the fact that they have a lien on the property and the homeowner has failed to make their mortgage payments. Your failure to properly respond to the complaint can be very costly. You must admit or deny the allegations in the complaint, file a counterclaim if you want to, and you must also raise all appropriate affirmative defenses. Be very careful sending in your own response. The most common response that we see from a homeowner that represents themselves is something to the effect of “I know I owe the money to the bank but I am trying to work something out with them." This would be an example of a very bad response. A homeowner who files this response admits that the the bank is owed money. This has just made the bank’s job very easy in trying to take your house. If the bank has put you in foreclosure, its probably a good sign that they do not want to work something out for you.

  3. This is the third step in our Florida foreclosure step by step guide. The next step is the summary judgment hearing. If you receive a Motion for Summary Judgment in the mail and you do not already have an attorney, please call us at 1-888-FIGHT13. You are in immediate danger of losing your home. This is a procedure where the bank brings the supporting documents to the court and shows the judge that there is no issue of material fact (meaning no dispute as to the facts alleged by the bank has been raised) and thus they are entitled to foreclosure. If you failed to properly respond to the complaint and properly raised defense, the bank will most likely have a default against you which means you have already admitted what the bank has alleged is true. The rules of civil procedure are very specific as to how you must respond. If you do not have any admissible evidence that is properly presented to the court withing a certain number of days before the hearing, your house will be put up for public auction. This is a very specialized hearing for which only a trained Florida foreclosure defense attorney should be representing.

  4. The next step is determined by what happens in step 3. If the bank’s motion is granted by the court, the house will be sold at public auction at a date set by the court. If the bank’s motion is denied, either the bank will come back and try again or a trial will occur. If there is a trial, the bank will have to bring witnesses to prove its case. If you have any affirmative defenses that have been properly raised, you will have to prove those defenses.

  5. If you won your trial, the congratulations, this bank can not take your house based upon the allegations they made. If you lost your trial, then the house will be sold at auction. After the house is sold, a certificate of title will be issues and you no longer own your home. The next step will be for the court to issue a writ of possession which directs the sheriff to remove you from your home. Not an outcome anyone wants.

If you are a struggling Florida homeowner facing foreclosure, I hope you found this step by step guide to the Florida foreclosure process useful. At Loan Lawyers, will will give you a free consultation to help you find a solution that is right for you, whether it is foreclosure defense, loan modification, short sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure, suing the bank, or bankruptcy or a combination of multiple solutions.

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