How to Stop a Foreclosure in Florida

The idea of losing your home is a stressful one. When you’ve poured hopes and dreams into your property and made it a home for your family, the thought of losing it to foreclosure can be unbearable. Unfortunately, there are a number of scams out there that prey on homeowners desperate to learn how to stop a foreclosure in Florida, and people fall for them all the time. The fear of having a foreclosure on your credit report is also oversold. Yes, it is a negative event, but the impact of a foreclosure is a lot like the impact of bankruptcy – the impact lessens over time and is dropped entirely after seven years.

 

What to Avoid When Trying to Stop a Foreclosure in Florida

The first steps to stopping foreclosure are knowing which steps not to take in the first place. Be on the lookout for all of these signs of a less-than-honest player.

 

  1. Anyone who offers to stop the foreclosure if you sign over the title to your home.
  2. Anyone who wants you to sign a document authorizing them to act for you as an agent or attorney.
  3. Anyone who wants your authorization to set up financing to “save your house.”
  4. For-profit foreclosure prevention companies or loss-mitigation companies.
  5. Mortgage brokers and foreclosure specialists who want to charge you upfront – which is not allowed by Florida law.
  6. Mortgage brokers, attorneys, and other “helpers” who can’t produce evidence of licensure in the state of Florida.
  7. Leaseback companies that offer to buy your home in a short sale, and then lease it back to you in a rent-to-own scheme.
  8. People who offer to negotiate with the lender for you who are not mortgage brokers or attorneys.
  9. Fee-up-front services who claim to be able to stop foreclosure and urge you to stop making payments.
  10. “Credit counselors” who are not affiliated with HUD.

Let’s break down how to stop a foreclosure in Florida for real. There are three possible scenarios here.

 

Scenario 1: Keeping Your House

In this case, you need to be working with an attorney or a HUD-certified counselor to take full advantage of these options.

 

  • Reinstatement: With this method, you agree to pay a lump sum in order to catch up with your late payments by a certain date. Be very aware of fees, penalties, and other costs that can drive up the cost of this option.
  • Forbearance: A temporary suspension or reduction in your payments – but generally not in the interest – until you can get on your feet, or have a further income to apply to your overdue payments.
  • Repayment Plan: paying down your overdue payments by adding an extra amount onto your monthly mortgage payment. It takes some time, but the past due amount is gradually caught up.
  • Loan Modification: An agreement that permanently changes one or more terms of the original mortgage agreement that makes payments more affordable.
  • Refinancing: Refinancing when facing foreclosure may be a good idea only in limited circumstances. In some cases, you may be dealing with a predatory lender who will end up foreclosing or defrauding you of your home. Consult your lender and a financial adviser as to whether refinancing is a good idea for you.

You can even combine some of these options such as a forbearance and refinancing, or reinstatement or loan modification, or a repayment plan and loan modification.

Scenario 2: Not Keeping Your House

Yes, it’s hard to think about, but in some cases being able to walk away without a foreclosure is the best thing. Those late or missing mortgage payments will still be on your credit report for seven years, but not the foreclosure.

 

  • Short Sale: When selling your home, the offer on the home may not cover the amount owed on the mortgage. If the lender agrees to write off the difference, that is what is called a short sale.
  • Deed-in-Lieu: If you have tried in good faith to sell your home for fair market value for a period of at least three months, you can offer the deed to your property in exchange for stopping the foreclosure. This will not work if there are second or third mortgages or liens against the property for judgments and unpaid taxes.
  • Assumption: In which a buyer takes over the debt and makes the mortgage payments while purchasing the home.

 

Scenario 3: Disputing the Foreclosure

You’re going to need an attorney for this one. You’ll be in court, arguing to stop the foreclosure, and if you do not have evidence to back up your claims the court is not going to be happy. Wrongful foreclosure can consist of forcing a company to show that they own the mortgage note, or by documenting improper notice or service. The mortgage company foreclosing must also have “clean hands“or the petition to foreclose may be denied.

How to Stop a Foreclosure in Florida – and Win

An experienced attorney is your best bet for coming out on the other end of all three scenarios as whole as the law can make you. Getting into foreclosure is not easy, and neither is getting out. Arrange a consultation and bring all of your financial information with you – there are also ways to keep your home in bankruptcy.

 

“Bankruptcy?!”

Financial woes very rarely come from just one area, and it can take an experienced bankruptcy and debt attorney to help you sort everything out. Making the best choices means having the best available information, and that’s where an attorney’s advice is critical. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can settle your debts and exit bankruptcy with your home, and all claims and creditor issues settled.

 

Call Us!

At Van Horn Law Group, we have the experience you need in the toughest times. Book a FREE consultation at our Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach office and find out what we can do for you. Your financial future doesn’t need to be bleak if you’re facing foreclosure. The lenders have lawyers on their side, and you should have a tireless advocate on yours. Call us today and let’s get started and put the brakes on that foreclosure.

About Chad Van Horn

Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn

Chad Van Horn

Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn

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