Foreclosure Law in Florida
In Tallahassee, 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 individual 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 usually involves a house. The bank will acquire 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 form 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 safeguard the borrower: it helps prevent them from still owing money after the house is sold at auction.
Some states treat mortgages as "non-recourse loans." A non-recourse loan is one that is secured by the borrower's property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. Essentially, this means that a lender in a foreclosure can take the house that was mortgaged, but nothing else. If the house sells for less than the lender is owed, it cannot go after the borrower.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Tallahassee, Florida
It's very 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 case, they have to know about it.
You should remember that the bank doesn't really want your house. They authorized 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.
If you experience a sudden change in your financial situation, your lender, in an effort to keep you from defaulting, might be willing to accept lower monthly payments, at least temporarily.
Lastly, there is the "short sale." Usually 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 choice. 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 Tallahassee, Florida real estate attorney help?
If you live in Tallahassee, 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 experienced real estate lawyer probably will.