HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO RESPOND IF I HAVE BEEN SERVED WITH A FORECLOSURE SUMMONS?
A lot of people think that they have been served with a foreclosure action, but they have not. Under the law in Florida, someone has to walk up to you and hand you the foreclosure complaint or summons and tell you that you have 20 days to respond. They can serve you, your spouse, or some other competent adult who lives in the home or on the property with you.
If you are properly served and don't respond within 20 days, then the lender has the right to default you. When you are defaulted, all of the defenses that could have been available to you may no longer be available. Make sure that you respond. You can respond first by filing a motion for extension of time. That will buy you an additional 30 to 60 day to decide what you need to do.
CAN I DELAY A FORECLOSURE FROM GOING FORWARD?
You can delay a foreclosure from going forward. A lot of people who have not made payments on a mortgage would like to reduce their mortgage payments through a loan modification. A loan modification is a way to re-negotiate and begin again your mortgage payments, at a lower level. Federal law states that if you apply for a loan modification at least 37 days prior to the lender filing the foreclosure, going to trial, or selling your home at a foreclosure auction, then they have to delay those three actions while considering your application.
HOW LONG DOES THE TYPICAL FORECLOSURE PROCESS TAKE?
Without proper legal representation a typical foreclosure can take about 4-6 months.
CAN I PAY OFF THE PROPERTY BEFORE MY HOUSE SELLS AT AUCTION?
Yes. As the homeowner, you may recover your property by redeeming it prior to auction, or immediately after the auction of your property, up until the time that the Certificate of Sale is issued or as stated in the Final Judgment. Please see Property Redemption section below. Once full payment of the bid amount has been timely received from the successful bidder, the sale is complete and the Certificate of Sale is issued to the new owner.
HOW WILL FORECLOSURE AFFECT MY CREDIT RATING?
A foreclosure will have an extremely negative affect on your credit rating. A Foreclosure Judgment & Auction typically negatively affect your credit for seven (7) years.
CAN I STAY IN MY HOME AFTER IT IS SOLD AT AUCTION?
If your home is sold at auction, the clerk of court will issue a certificate of title roughly two weeks after the auction date. You can stay in your home if the lender or the new owner wishes to enter into a rental agreement with you. If the lender of new owner does not want to enter into a rental agreement with you they can ask the court to issue a writ of possession and the sheriff will give you a 24 hour notice to vacate the property.
AT THE END OF THE FORECLOSURE, WILL I OWE THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION ANY MONEY?
Possibly. In the event the house is sold at foreclosure for less than you owe the financial institution, the lender can obtain a deficiency judgment against you for the unpaid portion of your mortgage loan and garnish your wages. They can also discharge the debt and send you a 1099 for the deficiency amount.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE HOUSE IS SOLD FOR MORE THAN I OWE IN THE FORECLOSURE PROCEEDING?
In the event there is money left over from the sale of your home after the foreclosure and all expenses related to the foreclosure are paid off, the clerk will hold the surplus amount for a specific amount of time. You have 60 days after the sale to file a claim for the surplus.