Mortgage Foreclosure in Florida and You By Attorney Douglas Rand Peacock Florida has gone through some big changes since the foreclosure crisis blossomed around 2008. The Courts have struggled to process the huge backlog of cases that built up as a result of the Great Recession. Now, as funding for additional judges comes to an end and the media attention has diverted to other issues, it becomes easy to think that things may be returning to where they were. However, in the first four months
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w ww . p e a c ock- l a w .com 38 • August 2015
Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper
of 2015 an average of 311 mortgage foreclosures were filed each month in Pinellas County alone and The Sun Chronicle reports that distressed properties represent 20% of sales. So, it’s not over yet. As always, if you want to keep your house no matter what the best advice is not to fall behind on your mortgage if you can afford to make the payments. Unfortunately, many families are still not able to make those payments or catch back up if they fell behind. Modifications are still possible, but distressed homeowners need to understand that these are not traditional negotiations. The banks are, in many cases, limited to what they can offer, which typically includes monthly payments of 1/3 of the family’s gross monthly income with no reduction in the total amount owed (principle). The condition of the house, property value or market factors typically are not considered by the bank. Also, while attorneys and certain public assistance groups can be helpful in applying for modifications, no one can or should guarantee a homeowner any success in getting a modification. Once homeowners find themselves sued in a foreclosure it becomes important to defend the case, even if negotiations or a modification are in place. Once filed, unless defended, a case will go forward and the Court will most likely order the sale of the house. While it’s true some cases in the past have gone on many years, Florida Courts are increasingly resolving foreclosure cases faster, even in some cases where a bank does not want to move the matter forward. Banks are more willing to forgive debts owed, allow extended sale dates and sometimes offer limited amounts of moving cash in exchange for giving up the house. These cases are complicated and even the best of facts require a lot of work to try to obtain a more favorable outcome for the homeowner. Homeowners should seek the advice of an attorney right away to know their options. Many attorneys offer free consultations for foreclosures and sometimes flexible payment arrangements if you hire them. Disclaimer – Nothing in this informational public service article should be construed as giving legal advice and should not be acted upon without first consulting a Licensed Attorney in your state. Also, this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and the writer or his firm. www.gulfcoastfamily.org
Published on Aug 1, 2015
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