The law generally requires that a Defendant defend a complaint for foreclosure by responding within twenty (20) calendar days. It is important that you protect your property rights by responding to, and defending the lawsuit. Failure to do so assumes that you "admit" the allegations of the complaint and will result in a default against you. If hiring an experienced litigation attorney is not your choice you can still protect yourself by responding (paragraph by paragraph) to the foreclosure.
File the written response with the court (within 20 calendar days) and send a copy to the bank's attorney.
As stated above the law requires that a Defendant defend a complaint for foreclosure by responding within twenty (20) calendar days. Many fail to respond under the presumption that the result is inevitable, or that a legal defense would be "too expensive". Another typical mistake is assume that telephonic communications are sufficient. It is not. The legal "response" to the court is technical in nature, generally called a pleading and must be in writing.
Confirm the "docketing" of your response.
Failure to respond will result in a Default Final Judgment, without further notice and corresponding sale date, as soon as three (3) weeks later. If the response is properly filed, you as borrower, would achieve additional time within which to attempt to resolve your matter, and/or plan your next move. Therefore, you should confirm that your response made it to the court file. Most, if not all, Florida counties make the civil court "docket" available online. In other words you could check the status/activity of your case online. Make sure that your response is docketed, because otherwise you may be improperly defaulted.
With a defense you may protect your property for some time while you look for solutions. Many people are unaware of the fact that while you are defending your foreclosure lawsuit you preserve all of your of "ownership". In other words, as owner you can still reside at the property, rent it (and collect rents), or attempt resolution with the lender (such as short sales, modifications, etc.).
If you try a "short sale" interview various realtors
When choosing a realtor look at the current inventory of listings the agent represents and ask:
-How many of their properties are currently short sale properties?
-Does the agent have testimonial letters from short sale sellers?
-If an agent says they have sold a number of short sale properties, how many of the transactions were listings sold, not just where they had the buyer.
The next step is to price the house properly, according to the market. While many buyers would love to "steal" your property for the lowest price possible, remember that the lender is already going to incur a loss and they are not interested in losing more than they have to.
The last step is to be prepared for challenges in both the short sale process and in the market place. Remember, you have a lot of competition out there and getting a property sold can be tough, especially in a buyer's market. However, choosing the right agent and setting the right price can assist you in selling.
Follow up with the bank/periodically check the docket.
Many lenders have reported that in many cases where a homeowner is delinquent on his or her mortgage, they have been unable to reach the owner to discuss any options. Picking up the phone and placing a call is always in your best interest.
While you work on possible solutions you should periodically (every 7-10 days) check the court's docket for activity. Although you should receive copies of all activity if you respond, mistakes can happen and we've seen this plenty of times. We make it our practice to check for activity in order to avoid surprises.