The Foreclosure Process in Florida and How to Avoid It

Foreclosure in Florida

This year, Florida has yet again proven to be one of the top states in terms of foreclosure rates.

Ranking No. 3, just behind South Carolina and Delaware, Florida has one foreclosure action for every 2,632 housing units.

Foreclosure can happen for many reasons. People end up defaulting or unable to make mortgage payments because of family problems, unexpected medical expenses, unemployment, or another factor.

If you think you’re under the threat of foreclosure, knowing the process and your options could significantly help you in handling the situation.

The Foreclosure Process

The lender files a foreclosure lawsuit if the borrower has been delinquent for a minimum of 120 days. The
standard foreclosure process in Florida can take anywhere from four to six months and usually follows a
specific process after the foreclosure lawsuit is filed.

  • The lender officially issues a notice of default. At this stage, the foreclosure process officially begins. The debtor receives a notice that they are the subject of a civil lawsuit and in default because of missed payments.
  • The lender files a summons and complaint with a lis pendens. This indicates that the judicial foreclosure process has begun and the action is on public record. The sheriff of the county usually hand-delivers the complaint to the homeowner’s address.
  • The defendant responds to the complaint. The debtor or borrower has 20 days to answer the complaint. The formal reply or defense has to be filed with the court clerk. If the debtor chooses not to respond, the case will be rendered summary judgment.
  • The lender files a motion for summary judgment. The lender is likely to do this to avoid formal court proceedings. If the judge favors the motion, both parties get to present their cases in the summary judgment hearing. After the hearing, the judge makes a decision.
  • The case proceeds to trial. However, if the judge does not favor the motion for summary judgment, the foreclosure trial takes place. At the end of the trial, the foreclosure judge will issue a ruling.
  • The foreclosure sale takes place. If the trial ends with the judge ruling in favor of the lender, the property will be sold at an auction, usually in a matter of weeks, and the debtor is evicted from the property.
  • The lender may seek a deficiency judgment. Lenders can ask the court for this in Florida if the property sale price is insufficient to cover the total loan amount. This means the lender can legally go after the borrower’s assets or continue collecting until the loan balance is paid off.

Options to Avoid Foreclosure

The best way to avoid foreclosure is to communicate with your lender. This way, you can both agree to an
arrangement that will allow you to manage repayments while also saving the lender time and money from
court proceedings.

Contact your lender and discuss your options.

Some possible options include the following:

  • Repayment plan: The lender agrees to spread the late payments over a certain period, e.g., 3 to 6 months. During this period, the borrower will keep paying the regular mortgage payment plus a portion of the overdue amount until the mortgage becomes current.
  • Forbearance plan: The borrower informs the bank in advance of their inability to make payments for a certain period. Here, the terms of the loan usually do not change.
  • Loan modification: The homeowner and the bank agree to changes in the loan terms, such as the interest rate, loan duration, etc.
  • Refinancing: This involves replacing the overdue loan with another that the borrower can afford to pay (albeit for a longer term) regularly.

Sell Your Property For Cash

You can also consider selling your home directly in exchange for cash. This is an excellent option if you have reason to believe a foreclosure is looming and you’ve ascertained that a cash sale is your best option. With a direct cash sale, you can protect your credit score, pay off your mortgage (or have the power to negotiate it), and move on to the next chapter of your life.

Need more information on the foreclosure process and How To Stop ForeclosureDownload our FREE Stop Foreclosure Guide here.

We are trusted cash home buyers in Florida, ready to make you a great offer.

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Take Flight Home Buyers is a top-rated home buying company in Northwest Florida. We buy houses and land for cash in all cities of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties including Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Milton, Pace, and surrounding areas.

Whether you are trying to avoid foreclosure, inherited a property you do not want, going through a divorce, or are tired of being a landlord dealing with tenants, we can help. Contact us today!