The Difference Between Pre-Foreclosure and Foreclosure for Homeowners in Florida

Anne Laurenzi, owner, Take Flight Home Buyers

If you are Florida homeowner facing foreclosure, you have come to the right place. Foreclosure is one of the most common situations that we help homeowners work through. You do have options, but time is of the essence. The sooner you face the situation head-on and take action, the more options you have and the better the outcome.

Understanding the difference between pre-foreclosure and foreclosure and where you are in the process is the first step. Knowing these terms can help you navigate your options and make informed decisions about your home and financial future. Let’s dive into the key differences and what you can do if you find yourself in either situation.

What is Pre-Foreclosure?

Pre-foreclosure is the initial stage in the foreclosure process. It begins when a homeowner falls behind on mortgage payments and receives a notice of default from the lender. This notice indicates that the lender is starting the legal process to reclaim the property due to non-payment.

Key Points of Pre-Foreclosure:

  • Notice of Default: The lender sends a formal notice to the homeowner after several missed payments.
  • Time to Act: Homeowners have a window of opportunity to resolve the issue, typically through repayment plans, loan modifications, or selling the property.
  • Options Available: Selling the home during pre-foreclosure can prevent foreclosure and protect your credit score.

What is Foreclosure?

Foreclosure is the process by which a lender takes legal ownership of a property due to the homeowner’s inability to make mortgage payments. Once a property enters foreclosure, the homeowner loses all rights to the property, and it is usually sold at a public auction.

Key Points of Foreclosure:

  • Legal Process: The lender completes the legal steps to take possession of the home.
  • Auction Sale: The property is often sold at a public auction to recoup the unpaid mortgage balance.
  • Credit Impact: Foreclosure severely impacts the homeowner’s credit score, making it difficult to obtain future loans.

The Foreclosure Timeline in Florida

Understanding the pre-foreclosure and foreclosure timeline in Florida can help you take timely action to protect your home. Here’s a general overview of the process:

  1. Missed Payments: The foreclosure process begins after the homeowner misses several mortgage payments. In Florida, lenders typically wait 120 days before initiating foreclosure proceedings.
  2. Notice of Default: Unlike some states, Florida does not require lenders to send a formal notice of default. Instead, they file a lawsuit in the county where the property is located, and you’ll receive a summons and complaint.
  3. Pre-Foreclosure Period: After receiving the summons, you have 20 days to respond. During this period, you can attempt to resolve the default through repayment plans, loan modifications, or selling the property.
  4. Foreclosure Judgment: If you do not respond or the issue is not resolved, the lender will seek a foreclosure judgment from the court. A hearing will be scheduled, and if the judge rules in favor of the lender, a foreclosure sale date will be set.
  5. Foreclosure Sale: The property is auctioned off to the highest bidder, typically within 30-60 days of the judgment. The sale is conducted by the county clerk’s office.
  6. Redemption Period: In Florida, there is no statutory right of redemption after the foreclosure sale. However, you may have until the certificate of sale is filed to pay off the full amount owed and stop the foreclosure.
  7. Eviction: If the property is sold at auction, the new owner must obtain a writ of possession from the court to evict any occupants, which typically occurs within a few weeks of the sale.

By understanding the foreclosure process in Florida, you can better prepare and explore your options to avoid losing your home.

How to Avoid Foreclosure in Florida

If you’re facing pre-foreclosure or foreclosure in Florida, there are several steps you can take to avoid losing your home:

1. Communicate with Your Lender: Reach out to your lender as soon as you realize you’re having trouble making payments. They may offer solutions like loan modifications or forbearance.

2. Consider a Short Sale: A short sale allows you to sell your home for less than the mortgage balance, with the lender’s approval. This can help you avoid foreclosure and minimize damage to your credit score.

3. Seek Professional Help: Real estate professionals and foreclosure specialists can provide valuable guidance and assistance. They can help you explore options and negotiate with your lender.

4. Sell Your Home for Cash: Selling your home for cash to a professional home buyer, like Take Flight Home Buyers, can be a quick and hassle-free way to avoid foreclosure. We buy houses in any condition and can close quickly, providing you with the funds you need to move forward.

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I’m Facing Foreclosure. What Are My Options?

If you’re trying to prevent your house from going into foreclosure, you’ll need to either sell the property or find a way to increase your income to better afford the mortgage. Owning your home shouldn’t feel like a monthly struggle; you should feel confident and secure in your homeownership. If your mortgage has become too burdensome, it may be time to explore alternative solutions.


Foreclosure and pre-foreclosure are two distinct stages in the mortgage process that have significant implications for homeowners. Foreclosure is a legal procedure that can lead to the loss of your home and severely impact your credit score for years to come. On the other hand, pre-foreclosure is a period before the foreclosure proceedings begin, giving you an opportunity to work with your lender to find a solution to your financial difficulties.

Understanding these differences is crucial. During pre-foreclosure, you have the chance to explore various options such as repayment plans, loan modifications, or even selling your home to avoid foreclosure. Acting early in the pre-foreclosure stage can help you prevent the severe consequences of foreclosure.

If you’re a homeowner facing financial challenges, it’s essential to understand that you have options. Selling your home through a short sale or to a real estate investor can provide you with the funds to pay off your mortgage and protect your credit. Additionally, seeking professional advice and exploring all available solutions can help you navigate this difficult time more effectively.

At Take Flight Home Buyers, we specialize in helping homeowners in Pensacola and the surrounding areas who are facing foreclosure. We are trusted, local home buyers that offer quick, hassle-free cash purchases for homes in any condition, providing a valuable lifeline to homeowners in distress. By selling your home to us, you can avoid the damaging effects of foreclosure and move forward with financial stability.

By taking proactive steps and understanding the distinction between pre-foreclosure and foreclosure, you can make informed decisions to protect your home and financial future. Remember, the earlier you act, the more options you will have to avoid the harsh consequences of foreclosure. If you’re in a difficult situation, reach out to Take Flight Home Buyers for a fast and reliable solution. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the process. Give us a call today: (850) 665-0717.

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