Foreclosure Law in Florida
In Belleair, Florida, foreclosure is a legal process through which an entity which has issued a mortgage takes possession and/or ownership of the property that secured the mortgage, because the person who took out the mortgage has consistently failed to make payments on it. The property in question is usually a house.
When consumers have to deal with foreclosure, it almost always involves a home. The bank will normally take possession of the house, and then sell it at auction, to try to cover the balance of the mortgage. Banks typically want sell the property quickly, for as much money as possible.
In every U.S. state, including Florida, a borrower has a right to a judicial sale of their foreclosed property. A judicial sale is simply an auction overseen by a court. The purpose of this is to make sure that the lender takes reasonable steps to sell the home for the highest possible price, and to ensure that the homeowner has an opportunity to bid on the house, if he or she is able. It is in everybody's interest for the bank to get the highest price possible for the house, even the borrower's. If the house fetches a higher price than what's left on the mortgage, the buyer can keep what's leftover. On the other hand, if it fetches less, the buyer might have to pay the deficiency.
In some states, original mortgages are identified as "non-recourse" loans, making the above problem a non-issue. This basically means that once the mortgaged property is sold by the lender, the debt is discharged, even if the sale nets less than the remaining balance on the mortgage. The borrower will simply have to write this off as a loss. However, this usually does not apply to refinanced or second mortgages.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Belleair, Florida
It's quite important that you engage in continued communication with your bank. Lenders are surprisingly willing to make accommodations if it means they still get paid something, but in order to accommodate your situation, they have to know about it.
You should remember that the bank doesn't really want your house. They completed a mortgage hoping to make a profit from interest, and that's what they'd much rather do. They aren't in the business of buying and managing real estate. Therefore, banks will sometimes go to surprising lengths to accommodate your financial hardship, especially if it's temporary.
Because banks don't particularly enjoy foreclosing, they will probably be willing to work out an alternative payment plan with you, if necessary. However, if you think that this might be needed in the near future, you should contact your lender immediately. The sooner they know about it, the more options you have.
Finally, there is the "short sale." Typically considered a last resort, a short sale results in the borrower losing their home, but discharges almost all of their remaining mortgage debt. If the house is worth far less than the balance of the mortgage, this might be a good option. In Florida, when a house is sold in a short sale, the proceeds go to the lender. If it sells for less than the mortgage balance, whatever's leftover is forgiven. If it sells for more, the surplus goes to the homeowner.
Can a Belleair, Florida real estate attorney help?
If you live in Belleair, Florida and believe that your house is in danger of being foreclosed, you may have more options and protections than you think. You may not know what all of them are, but an efficient real estate lawyer probably will.