The DeWitt Law Firm has extensive experience with foreclosures. We represent borrowers throughout the foreclosure process and handle both commercial and residential foreclosures. As a successful Orlando foreclosure attorney, Sherri DeWitt has argued constitutional issues regarding foreclosures and has written articles addressing these issues.
If you are a borrower and have been served with a foreclosure lawsuit, it is especially important to see an attorney immediately to assist in defending your foreclosure action. You only have 20 days from being served with the lawsuit to file a response or a default may be entered against you. If a default has already been entered, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine if it is possible to have the default set aside.
The attorneys at the DeWitt Law Firm will review every aspect of your case with you. We will review the mortgage documents, the note, and the bank disclosures. We also can arrange for a third party to conduct an audit of the lender’s accounting policies and procedures to determine any irregularities that might give you a defense to the lawsuit. As part of our commitment to personalized legal representation for our clients, we evaluate each client’s individual circumstances to determine an effective plan of action. Fighting a foreclosure often can result in additional time to arrange for a sale, refinance or workout arrangement or in a mediated resolution that is more beneficial to a property owner than a final judgment of foreclosure.
In addition to filing the paperwork to defend the foreclosure action, your attorney may be able to negotiate a loan modification with your Lender. If you own commercial property, then you may also need advice regarding the collection of rents on leases and payment of operating expenses.
Lenders often continue to negotiate with borrowers during foreclosure proceedings. Negotiations do no protect property owners from the consequences of the ongoing foreclosure lawsuit. You must continue to defend against the foreclosure action, while negotiations are pending. Do not fall into the trap of believing that the lawsuit will stop while you negotiate.
While we recommend that you contact us as early as possible once you realize you are facing foreclosure, we still may be able to help you even if you are only a few days away from the sale date.
More Foreclosure Help From The DeWitt law Firm:
Further Reading: Foreclosure & Real Estate Articles
- What is a Quiet Title Action?
- Nonjudicial Foreclosures: Are they Coming to Florida?
- Florida Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation
- Anatomy of a Real Estate Closing
- Foreclosures, Loan Modifications, Short Sales, and Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosure
- Short Sales in Florida and the Impact of Proposed Federal Legislation
- Condominium and Homeowner Associations: Changes in Florida Law
- Some Legal Things To Know About Buying A Home In Florida
- Florida Tax Deed Sales Are Getting Risky
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Let Someone Else Do It for You
- Investors Beware: How to Avoid Losing Your Property in a Tax Deed Sale
- Foreclosure: What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Mortgage
- Practical Suggestions for Dealing with Distressed Property: Mortgage Foreclosures, Modifications, and Refinancing
- Reverse Mortgages: Are They For You?
- Mortgage And Foreclosure Problems: Available Help
- What Does The Foreclosure Settlement Mean For You?
Choosing an Orlando foreclosure attorney is not an easy task. We hope the information below will help you make the right choice. Click the FAQs below to expand the answer:
How does the foreclosure process work?
Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that all foreclosures must be processed through the court system.
Notice of Default – This is a written notice from the lender to the mortgage holder. It must contain specific information in order for the lender to proceed with the foreclosure lawsuit. If the lender fails to include the required default language, the foreclosure lawsuit, once it is filed, may be dismissed. If a borrower receives a Notice of Default and does not cure the default; the lender may file a lawsuit to foreclose on the mortgage.
Foreclosure Complaint – Once a borrower receives a Complaint, they only have 20 days to respond or a default may be entered against him or her. The Foreclosure Complaint must plead standing, jurisdiction, that the proper notice requirement have been met, and the amount owed. Additionally, the Foreclosure complaint must include a verification clause that is signed by an individual who has actual knowledge regarding your loan.
- Standing: The bank that filed the lawsuit may not be the original lender that issued your note and mortgage. If the bank that filed the foreclosure lawsuit against you cannot prove that it rightfully owns and holds the original note and mortgage at the time it filed the lawsuit, then the lawsuit may be dismissed. The bank must establish that it has the right to proceed with the foreclosure lawsuit.
- Securitization: Many notes and mortgages have been securitized and placed in trusts for the purposes of selling the notes and mortgages to investors. The trust then must prove that they (1) hold both the note and the mortgage and (2) that they are authorized to proceed with the foreclosure lawsuit. It is important to look at the securitization agreement of the trust that holds the note and mortgage in order to determine the possible defenses that may be available.
- Conditions to Accelerate the Mortgage: Many mortgages require written notice of a default and a 30-day opportunity to cure.
- The amount owed: Banks routinely miscalculate the amounts owed on a note and mortgage.
- Verification of Complain: Florida Rules of Civil Procedure provide that when filing an action for foreclosure of a mortgage on residential real property, the complaint must be verified.
If you have received a foreclosure Complaint, it is imperative that you respond within 20 days. Failure to do so may result in a default judgment and the bank may be allowed to foreclose on the property.
How long is the average foreclosure process?
The timeframe for a foreclosure action varies dramatically and is difficult to estimate.
Am I required to have an attorney during a foreclosure?
You are not required to hire an attorney to defend a foreclosure action. However, it is advised that once you are served with a foreclosure complaint, you have an experienced foreclosure attorney review your paperwork within 20 days. An attorney’s role in the foreclosure process is a vital one. They will appear on your behalf and defend you throughout the Court proceedings. Additionally, an attorney may be able to work with your lender to determine if there are other options besides foreclosure.
What should I expect from an experienced foreclosure attorney?
From an experienced foreclosure attorney, you can expect:
- An understanding of the available defenses available and experience in handling real estate litigation. Many attorneys treat foreclosure cases as if they are not litigation. This is improper. A foreclosure case is litigation and any attorney handling these types of cases should have extensive experience in handling real estate litigation.
- A detailed examination of the terms and conditions in your purchase agreement, mortgage, and other documents from your lender.
- An understanding of your side of the story: your financial situation, your objectives and your current and future interests in the property.
- A detailed analysis of your failure to make the payments. This can include if you recently lost your job, substantial loss of income or serious illness or injury..
- A list of viable options to foreclosure that might be in your best interests.
- An experience negotiator that is on your side. There is a possibility that an alternative to foreclosure can be found and worked out. There are possible defenses and counterclaims that can be filed on your behalf as well.
What's the biggest mistake made in the foreclosure process?
Many clients come to our office days before their property is to be sold. This not only makes our job as your attorney more difficult, but it limits the defenses available to you. If the Court has already entered a default judgment against the borrower, we must show both a meritorious defense and excusable neglect to have the default set aside. Although this is possible in many instances, it is always better to consult an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. The longer you wait to get an experienced foreclosure attorney on your side, the fewer opportunities your attorney has to help you.
DeWitt Law Review discusses Foreclosure & Real Estate:
- 3/24/2013 – Bankruptcy And Foreclosure – A Common Story
- 3/17/2013 – Proposed Foreclosure Bills
- 3/10/2013 – Foreclosures: The Devil Is In The Details
- 2/24/2013 – Foreclosure Fraud: Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon
- 2/17/2013 – Proposed Changes To Alimony Law And Foreclosure Law
- 2/10/2013 – The Uniform Commercial Code & Foreclosures
- 1/27/2013 – Foreclosures In Florida – Leading The Nation In Numbers
- 1/20/2013The Independent Foreclosure Review And You
- 12/9/2012 – Know Your Rights: Home Owner’s Association And Foreclosure
- 12/2/2012 – The Mortgage Debt Relief Act
- 11/11/2012 – What Happens If You’re Upside Down On Your Property
- 9/16/2012 – Aggressive Foreclosure Defense, Part IV
- 9/9/2012 – The Details Of Shortsales with guest Barry Miller
- 9/2/2012 – Updates in Florida Foreclosure Law
- 8/12/2012 – Aggressive Foreclosure Defense, Part III
- 8/5/2012 – Aggressive Foreclosure Defense, Part II
- 7/29/2012 – Aggressive Foreclosure Defense
- 6/17/2012 - Tax Deed Sales, HOA And Condominium Assessments
- 6/10/2012 – Quiet Title Actions
- 6/3/2012 – Foreclosure And Bankruptcy
- 5/27/2012 – Know Your Real Estate Rights
- 2/12/2012 – Alimony Updates and Florida’s Foreclosure Settlement
- 10/16/2011 – Proposed Non-Judicial Foreclosure Legislation with Florida State Senator David Simmons
- 08/28/2011 – The housing market from a practical perspective
- 08/21/2011 – Changes to the HOA and Condominium Acts
- 08/07/2011 – Anatomy of a Real Estate Closing: A closing from start to finish
- 06/19/2011 – Commercial Real Estate
- 05/29/2011 – The Current State of Foreclosures
- 04/24/2011 – Purchasing distressed properties
- 03/27/2011 – H.O.A. and Condominium Law
- 02/20/2011 – Navigating short sales
- 01/16/2011 – Tax deed sales
- 01/09/2011 – Foreclosures and Loan Modifications
We hope you choose The DeWitt Law Firm to represent you as your Orlando foreclosure attorney.