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Foreclosure Process

Foreclosure Process in Ocala

Florida Is a Judicial Foreclosure State

In many states across the U.S., a bank or other mortgage holder can carry out a foreclosure directly and without any necessity of going to court, but this is not the case in Florida. In this state, the bank is required to conduct a judicial foreclosure, which means that they must sue you in order to obtain a foreclosure judgment against you. This works to your advantage because it provides you with an opportunity to fight the case and potentially save your home from foreclosure. The bank will first file a lis pendens (Latin for “pending lawsuit”) against you, followed by serving you with a summons and complaint. Under Florida's 20-day rule, you must file an answer to this complaint within 20 days or else the bank can foreclose on you by obtaining a default judgment.

Foreclosure Defense Strategies

It is possible to contest the foreclosure in court using any of several different strategies, such as disputing the assertion that you are in default on your mortgage. Another common approach is to force the bank to prove that it even owns the mortgage: A large percentage of mortgages are chopped up and bundled together with others to sell mortgage-backed securities, and it is often impossible for a bank to produce the documents to prove that it has a lien on the real property. Whatever the approach, the goal is to make it difficult or impossible for the bank to prove its case against you.

Right of Redemption in Jacksonville

In the event that the court does permit the foreclosure to move forward, you will still have a right of redemption up until the date of the foreclosure sale. If you can come up with the money needed to repay the final judgment amount, you will be able to stop the foreclosure from proceeding. If not, the bank will sell the property to another buyer. Florida allows deficiency judgments, so if the foreclosure sale does not raise sufficient funds to satisfy the outstanding loan balance, you may be held liable to pay the deficiency. It may still be possible to recover your home if, immediately after the sale, it can be proven that the bank made errors in carrying out the foreclosure, since any failure to exactly follow the terms of the court order may be used as grounds to reverse the sale.

Stop a Foreclosure Before It Happens

It is also possible to prevent a foreclosure before the case even goes to court by pursuing one of many alternative strategies for negotiating with the bank. For example, some homeowners can obtain a loan modification that provides them with a lower mortgage payment by reducing the interest rate or the loan balance or by extending the loan period. Another solution is to negotiate a deed in lieu, which involves surrendering the deed in order to satisfy the remaining loan balance. If the property is underwater – worth less on the market than the amount that you owe on the mortgage – an attorney from our firm might be able to persuade the bank to approve a short sale, which would allow you to sell the property without being held liable to pay the deficiency. There are many options to prevent losing your house, but the first step is to contact a Jacksonville foreclosure defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. now for a free consultation!

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