One of the worst nightmares for every Florida homeowner is foreclosure. Whether an unexpected medical emergency or a layoff from your job got in the way of paying your mortgage, you are not alone if you worry about foreclosure. Data puts Florida at the third worst foreclosure rate in the country. One in every 1,139 Florida households faced foreclosure in the first half of 2019.

There are options to protect your home, especially if you proactively communicate with your lender and legal counsel.

When does foreclosure happen? 

Your mortgage’s lender has the option to file for foreclosure once you have missed your mortgage payments for 120 days. Once you receive the Notice of Default, you typically have 20 days to respond. From there, there will be hearing. The judge will collect evidence and come to a decision, which can take up to 45 days. The foreclosure sale can occur 30-45 days if the hearing finds in favor of the lender.

What are my options to avoid foreclosure?

Florida homeowners have several options to consider to defend against mortgage foreclosure.

  1. Reinstatement. If your financial hardship was a temporary situation, you may be able to pay the amount owed in full, along with any late fees and legal fees, to stop the foreclosure.
  2. Forbearance. This can be another good option for a short-term difficulty. The lender may agree to pause mortgage payments for a certain period of time. You would then pay back the amount owed in full at a later date or add it to your monthly payments once you begin paying again.
  3. Loan Modification. This agreement will change part of the mortgage terms, such as lowering the interest rate or adding time to the term. The lender may agree to add the past-due amount to your loan balance.

Communication with your mortgage service or lender is vital. If you are in a situation to miss mortgage payments, speak with your mortgage service, and be honest about your financial situation. Consult with an attorney right away so that you find the option that is best for you – not the best option for your lender.