You Can Fight a Foreclosure
If you are falling behind on your mortgage payments or if you have already been served with a notice from the bank, the most important thing to know is that you do have options and you can fight to prevent a foreclosure. Florida’s foreclosure laws favor the homeowner in many ways, and there are several proven strategies that can be used to either help you keep your house or to divest yourself of the property so that you can move on with your life with a minimum of negative impact to your credit and personal finances.
Pre-Foreclosure Defense Strategies
Successfully preventing a foreclosure depends on taking action as early as possible in order to allow sufficient time to prepare the case and negotiate with the bank. One of the most common approaches is to hire a Jacksonville foreclosure defense attorney to represent you in negotiations over a loan modification. This could result in your mortgage payment being reduced to a more affordable amount, whether through extending the period of the loan or by lowering the interest rate or loan balance.
Another possibility is to propose a deed in lieu, an arrangement under which the bank releases you from your obligation to pay the remainder of the loan in exchange for you surrendering the deed to the property. If the mortgage is upside-down – meaning the house is worth less than what you currently owe – the bank may agree to allow you do a short sale, which involves selling it to the highest bidder without being held liable to pay the deficiency on the loan balance.
Fight the Bank in Court
If the bank refuses to work with you on one of the above strategies, or if you have already been served with a notice that the bank is initiating the foreclosure process, it may still be possible for you to halt the foreclosure by fighting the action in court. You must observe Florida’s 20-day rule by filing an answer to the complaint before the deadline runs out or you will most likely lose the house to a default judgment. The goal in contesting the foreclosure is to place the burden of proof on the plaintiff by forcing the bank to prove that you are factually in default and that they even have the documentation to establish that they own the mortgage and have a lien on the property.
A last resort to stopping foreclosure if all else fails is to file bankruptcy, as this will provide you with an automatic stay, which stops any adverse creditor action against you. Our lawyers are experienced in helping people file for bankruptcy or pursue other debt relief alternatives. There are many effective strategies for handling the situation, but the key to success is to take action now by contacting a Jacksonville foreclosure defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. for a free consultation.