The effects of the financial crisis of 2008 are still being felt today. Many families are under impending threat of losing their homes in the foreclosure process. It is imperative that you take all measures necessary to avoid the loss of your property in foreclosure as it has significant negative impacts on you, your family and your credit.
Foreclosure is a legal procedure by which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan by forcing the judicial sale of the property used as the collateral for the loan, usually due to an alleged loan default for failure to make mortgage payments. Generally, when a borrower becomes 90 to 120 days behind on their mortgage payments, lenders can begin the foreclosure process. In Florida, once you are served with the foreclosure lawsuit, you only have 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. Failure to respond within this prescribed time can allow your lender to obtain a default against you and thereafter, the lender can obtain a final judgment of foreclosure and set a date for the judicial sale of your property. This is why if you are underwater on your mortgage or facing an imminent foreclosure lawsuit, you should retain an experienced foreclosure defense attorney like the Law Offices of Jarrett R. Williams, P.A. to vigorously defend your legal rights.
Federal law, Florida law, and your loan documents can provide you with a multitude of meritorious defenses to a foreclosure lawsuit including, but not limited to, your lender failing to comply with the terms of the mortgage, failing to possess the requisite business records, assessing unlawful fees, and/or failing to comply with federal and/or state law while attempting to collect on the loan debt. The availability of these defenses depends on a number of factors particular to your own unique circumstances. The Law Offices of Jarrett R. Williams, P.A. will review your loan documents and your particular situation to develop a personalized strategy for you.
Retaining an experience foreclosure attorney to effectively employ these defenses can significantly slow down the foreclosure process and buy you time to explore foreclosure alternative that may prevent the loss of your home including:
- Government and Lender Programs – HARP, HHF, UP, PRA, FHA-HAMP, HAFA, 2MP are just some of the programs available to homeowners. Homeowners should explore these programs as they may allow you to keep your home and avoid foreclosure.
- Loan Modification – Loan modifications involve the re-negotiating of certain loan terms and rescheduling of loan payments that typically result in a smaller installment amount and potentially a longer payback period. A loan modification can also reduce your interest rate to the current rate, change your variable rate to a fixed interest rate, and re-amortize missed payments into the principal balance of the loan.
- Short Sale – A short sale occurs when a property is sold at a price lower than the amount the homeowner owes on the mortgage, and the homeowner’s mortgage lender(s) agrees to a “short” payoff. This is a collaborative process between the homeowner and the lender to sell the property at an agreed price. The goal of a short sale is to release homeowners from their mortgage obligations in a manner which avoids foreclosure proceedings, reduces impact to the homeowner’s credit, and allows the homeowner to walk away from the property without a deficiency.
- Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure – A deed in lieu of foreclosure is a deed instrument in which a borrower conveys all interest in a real property to the lender to satisfy a loan that is in default and avoid foreclosure proceedings. This process releases homeowners from their mortgage debt and in some cases, homeowners can receive monies for relocation assistance as part of the deed in lieu negotiation.
It is important to remember that working with the bank towards these foreclosure alternatives does not stop the foreclosure lawsuit from proceeding. It is imperative to have your defenses properly and timely asserted by an experienced foreclosure defense lawyer to avoid your defenses from potentially being waived and gone for good. The Law Offices of Jarrett R. Williams, P.A. can help you analyze the various foreclosure alternative available while zealously defending your rights in the foreclosure lawsuit so that you can decide what is the best resolution for your family.
Homeowners and Condominium Association Foreclosure
In Florida, a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and Condominium Association (Condo) can foreclose on your home for a myriad of reasons including failure to pay assessments, unpaid fines, and failure to fix cited issues with the property. If you fail to pay your homeowner’s association dues, the association has the power to file a lien against your property. If the lien remains unsatisfied for a period of time, the HOA can then initiate foreclosure proceedings.
Florida law has significant safeguards to help homeowners against foreclosure proceedings. HOA and Condo Associations are notorious for failing to strictly adhere to the notice requirements of the Florida Statutes and routinely charge homeowners improper or inaccurate assessments, fees and collection costs. These are a few of the limited defenses available in association foreclosure. These defenses are often very technical and asserting them timely is the key to prevailing at trial or resolving your dispute.
However, if the homeowner does not properly respond to the foreclosure complaint within the prescribed 20 days, they could be defaulted and waive their available defenses allowing the association to obtain final judgment and a date for the judicial sale of your property. This is why if you are facing an imminent foreclosure lawsuit, you should retain a knowledgeable, experienced foreclosure defense attorney like the Law Offices of Jarrett R. Williams, P.A. to vigorously defend your legal rights.
Call the Law Offices of Jarrett R. Williams, P.A. today to have our attention to detail and real estate transactional and litigation experience provide you with the insight to achieve solutions to your most complex real estate matters.
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