Receiving a foreclosure notice may be one of the most stressful experiences a homeowner can have. If you have received such a notice, you may believe you have no options. An experienced attorney from The Santos Law Offices, on the other hand, can guide you through this process. With the assistance of your South Florida foreclosure defense lawyer, you may be able to negotiate a loan modification, remain in your home during foreclosure, or continue to collect rent from investment properties while legal proceedings are pending.
Because the court system frequently rushes foreclosures, time is of the essence. Contact The Santos Law Offices today to discuss your foreclosure defense options.
Alternatives to Foreclosure
Many people aren’t aware that there are alternatives to foreclosure. Some possible options include:
- Loan Modification
- Short Sale
- Deed in Lieu
Your South Florida foreclosure defense attorney will go over each option with you, outlining the advantages and disadvantages. If you decide to move forward, your attorney can proceed with your foreclosure defense.
Loan modifications, like refinancing, are a way to change the terms of your mortgage. When a borrower is in financial trouble and unable to make payments under the current loan terms, lenders usually consider modifications.
Lenders will want to see proof that you can pay your new loan terms. An updated credit check and debt-to-income analysis, as well as pay stubs and asset statements, may be required. Individuals seeking loan modifications frequently retain the services of a foreclosure defense lawyer at all stages of the process.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization bankruptcy in which you can restructure your debt into a more manageable payment. Furthermore, it may allow you to catch up on missed mortgage payments for up to five years without your lender charging you additional interest.
You may also be able to discharge a second mortgage on your home if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you have two mortgages on your home and your primary mortgage exceeds the property’s current market value, you may be able to discharge the second mortgage in bankruptcy. Once the mortgage is removed from the property, it will be treated as any other unsecured debt in the bankruptcy.
The court will automatically impose a stay of proceedings if you file for bankruptcy. Under the terms of the stay, all collection actions against you must be halted immediately. Creditors and collection agencies will be unable to contact you, garnish your wages, or repossess your property while the automatic stay is in effect. The foreclosure stay can provide you with additional time to organize your finances and file a legal challenge to the foreclosure.
A short sale is an excellent way to mitigate financial losses while avoiding the more severe consequences of foreclosure. When you owe more on your home than it’s worth and need to sell, you can take advantage of a process known as a short sale. Because you’ll be accepting less than you owe at closing, you’ll need your lender’s permission to do a short sale. The debtor would then be free of the remaining debt, while the bank would benefit from avoiding costly foreclosure litigation. Before agreeing to a short sale, borrowers should consult with a foreclosure defense attorney to ensure that the contract effectively eliminates their debts, as a waiver of deficiency may be required to avoid additional fees after the sale is completed.
Deed in Lieu
A deed in lieu of foreclosure is another option for borrowers ready to sell their homes. This entails giving the house to the lender in exchange for an estoppel affidavit, which relieves the borrower of the obligation to repay the remaining balance. Lenders typically use this as a last resort because they frequently lose money. On the other hand, having an experienced foreclosure defense attorney negotiate on your behalf can significantly improve your chances of approval.
Foreclosure Relief During the Coronavirus Crisis
The most recent COVID-19 relief bill, officially known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, was signed into law on March 11, 2021 by President Joe Biden and includes approximately $10 billion for a Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF). The HAF will provide funds to states for them to establish foreclosure prevention and other homeowner-relief programs. Once the state programs are in place, homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic will be able to receive financial assistance for mortgage relief, utility and internet payments, and other expenses required to avoid eviction, mortgage delinquency, default, or foreclosure. The states have until September 30, 2026, to distribute the money from the HAF allocated to them.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is currently waiting for the United States Department of the Treasury to approve the state’s Homeowner Assistance Fund Needs Assessment and Plan to implement the state’s HAF program for eligible homeowners. Florida’s HAF Plan was submitted for review and approval on August 20, 2021, and it is subject to change based on future guidance. DEO will implement the HAF Plan once it has been approved. DEO will provide more details once the program is up and running and available to homeowners in need.
Individuals who qualify for economic assistance may also be eligible for assistance through the Community Services Block Grant, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or the Weatherization Assistance Program. To learn more about these programs and how to apply, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/FindYourLocalCAA.
The Santos Law Offices, PA – Foreclosure Defense Lawyer in Miami and Orlando, Florida
If you are facing the possibility of foreclosure, you don’t need to face it alone. Contact The Santos Law Offices to talk with our South Florida foreclosure defense lawyer and discuss your foreclosure options, covering the benefits and drawbacks. At the Santos Law Offices, we provide each Florida client with professional, effective, and affordable legal services.
If you have questions, be sure to call and speak to a member of our Santos Law team at (305) 417-4111 or complete our online form. We offer free consultations and can schedule Saturday consults by appointment. For your convenience, we can do a call over the phone or Zoom, so you don’t have to deal with traffic or parking. If you prefer, you can visit us at our offices in Miami or Orlando.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.