Any number of circumstances can lead to a Florida homeowner being unable to pay his or her mortgage loan. If the situation cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the homeowner and the lender, the homeowner could end up facing a home foreclosure action. He or she will most likely end up wondering what to do next.
The first thing to do is to stop panicking and file a response to the foreclosure petition with the court. This will ensure that you receive notice of when the sale is to take place and will also allow you the opportunity to challenge the lender’s allegations. Foreclosures in Florida ordinarily take anywhere from three to four months, sometimes longer. During that time, many people attempt to work with their lenders to obtain a loan modification.
Unfortunately, any offer the lender extends would most likely involve bringing the loan current and making some other payment. The problem is that if you were unable to keep the loan current before, you will may not be able to meet the financial requirements of the modification. Furthermore, the foreclosure action will not be stopped while you negotiate with your lender. If it does not appear that the negotiations are going to be fruitful, it could be time to consider filing a bankruptcy.
Filing for bankruptcy will initiate an automatic stay. This will stop a home foreclosure action in its tracks unless the Bankruptcy Court grants the lender the right to continue the action even while the bankruptcy proceeds. If your goal is to keep your home, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your best option. It is possible to keep a home in a Chapter 7 proceeding, but the odds are not as high; however, Florida law does provide for a homestead exemption that may be applicable to your primary residence. It would be a good idea to discuss your options with an attorney to determine what will be the best way to resolve your financial issues.