Foreclosure Law in Florida
In Lakeland, 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 individuals are facing foreclosure, it normally involves a house. The bank will take the house with the intent of selling it at an auction, hoping to cover whatever's left on the mortgage, giving them at least a chance to break even on the loan.
In Florida, and every other state, foreclosed homeowners can go through a "foreclosure by judicial sale." In this type of foreclosure sale, a court supervises the sale, ensuring that the bank makes every reasonable effort to get the highest price possible for the house. The purpose of this is to maximize the chances that the bank gets, at the very least, the remaining balance of the mortgage. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, it is intended to protect the borrower: it helps prevent them from still owing money after the house is sold at auction.
In some states, original mortgages are considered "non-recourse" loans. This means that once the house or other property that secured the mortgage is sold, and if it sells for less than the balance of the mortgage, the lender has to absorb the loss, and cannot sue the borrower for the remainder. This normally does not apply to second mortgages or refinanced loans.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Lakeland, Florida
To avoid foreclosure, communicating with your lender is key. Let's face it - if you're in a situation where foreclosure looks like a possibility, your life is not going to be easy for some time. While it's difficult to step up and acknowledge unpleasant facts, doing so will make your life much easier in the long run. If your lender is aware of your situation, it's far more likely that you'll be able to work something out with them.
You should be mindful of the fact that your bank wants you to make your monthly mortgage payments - they probably aren't scheming to trick you into giving up your home. This isn't out of altruism, it's due to the fact that foreclosure is almost never as lucrative for the bank in the long run than a mortgage that is paid in full over a period of years or decades, with interest accruing the whole time. For a bank, a foreclosure is simply a last resort to cut their losses.
It's possible that your lender is willing to negotiate a plan that results in temporarily-lower payments on your mortgage, especially if this means that they will be able to get some payments, instead of none at all.
Finally, there is the "short sale." Normally 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 Lakeland, Florida real estate attorney help?
In Lakeland, Florida, dealing with a possible foreclosure is never easy. However, the assistance of a brilliant real estate lawyer can make the whole process much more bearable, and possibly delay or even prevent the foreclosure altogether.