The foreclosure process in 5 steps

To start a foreclosure in Florida, the foreclosing bank files a lawsuit (a “complaint”) and serves it to you. You’ll get 20 days to respond by filing a response with the court. If you don’t file an answer, then the bank will win by default and get a foreclosure judgment from the court allowing it to proceed with the foreclosure sale.

Under federal law, in most cases, the servicer must postpone starting a foreclosure until the loan is more than 120 days delinquent. This pre-foreclosure period gives a homeowner sufficient time to apply for loss mitigation (a way to avoid foreclosure) or reinstate the loan (see below).

To start a foreclosure in Florida, the foreclosing bank files a lawsuit (a “complaint”) and serves it to you.

After the 120-day pre-foreclosure period expires, assuming a loss mitigation application isn’t pending, the servicer can initiate foreclosure under state law.

Step 1: Missed mortgage payments

If your mortgage payment is a few days late, you are probably not at risk of foreclosure. Your lender may have a grace period of up to two weeks for you to make your payment without serious penalties. After the grace period, however, your payment is considered late and you’ll be charged late fees. You might also receive a warning from your lender about a potential foreclosure if you fail to make the payments.

Step 2: Notice of Default

After three to six months of missed mortgage payments, your lender will file a Notice of Default with the local recorder’s office. Your lender will also send one to you via certified mail, and depending on your state, might post the notice on your front door. This notice specifies how much you owe in order to bring your mortgage back into good standing.

A Notice of Default could show up on your credit report and affect your score. This can make it more challenging to obtain other types of credit or refinance your mortgage.

A Notice of Default doesn’t equate to the lender immediately or automatically foreclosing on your home, and it doesn’t mean you don’t have options to prevent the foreclosure from happening. You can put a stop to the proceedings by getting current on your payments.

Step 3: Preforeclosure

Pre-foreclosure is the time period between the Notice of Default and the auction or sale of your home. During this time, if you can get your hands on the amount specified in the Notice of Default, you’ll be able to stop the foreclosure process from going any further. The exact amount of time you have depends on your state. During pre-foreclosure, you might also have the option to sell your home and pay back the money owed.

Step 4: Notice of Sale

If you don’t have the money to bring your mortgage into good standing within the allotted time frame, your lender will file a Notice of Sale, and your home will be placed up for auction at a specified time and location.

Because the Notice of Sale is public information and has been advertised, several buyers, including investors, might be interested in buying your home. Depending on laws in your state, you might have the ability to exercise the right of redemption (meaning you can reclaim your home) up until the foreclosure sale, or even after.

Step 5: Eviction

Following the auction and sale of your home, you’ll generally have a few days to gather your belongings and move to a new residence. If you do not voluntarily move out, law enforcement personnel are legally allowed to remove you and your belongings from the premises.

Getting Help

While this article provides an overview of a typical Florida foreclosure, keep in mind that federal and state foreclosure laws are complicated and timelines vary. If you want to learn more about the process or find out what options you have in foreclosure, contact Sunshine Estate Solutions immediately so we can provide options.  In some situations, Sunshine Estate Solutions help educate homeowners on some options that may actually help owners save their home from foreclosure.

The foreclosure process in 5 steps