If you’ve received a notice of default from your mortgage lender or been served with a foreclosure summons, or if you’re behind on your mortgage payments and facing a possible foreclosure, you may be feeling overwhelmed. You want to do whatever you can to save your home, but you’re not sure where to start. One of the first questions on your mind is probably how long a foreclosure takes.
The foreclosure timeline will vary depending on the circumstances of each case, but in general, uncontested foreclosures are typically completed within approximately six months from the date the bank sends the notice of default. This timeframe may be extended if the homeowner challenges the foreclosure proceedings. To do so, many homeowners choose to enlist the help of an experienced foreclosure defense attorney.
Although it’s best to seek assistance from counsel who can provide tailored advice based on your specific situation, The Lyons Law Group, P.A., has compiled some helpful information about the foreclosure timeline to get you started.
The Different Types of Foreclosure
There are two main types of foreclosure—judicial foreclosure and power of sale foreclosure—and the speed at which the process can be completed largely depends on which approach is used. In a judicial foreclosure, like in Florida, the mortgage lender files a civil lawsuit against the homeowner so that the courts can oversee the proceedings. In a power of sale foreclosure state, the property is conveyed to a neutral third-party (trustee) through a deed of trust. The trustee can then sell the home at a public auction on behalf of the lender without having to go through the courts. Because power of sale foreclosures don’t require court intervention, they generally don’t take as long as judicial foreclosures.
The Judicial Foreclosure Process
While all states allow judicial foreclosures, only some states allow power of sale foreclosures. Florida is not a power of sale jurisdiction. As such, foreclosures in Florida must go through the court system using the process described below.
Notice & Filing
After you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments, your mortgage lender will send you a notice of default. The bank will then initiate a civil lawsuit against you by filing a complaint and a lis pendens and serving you with the necessary paperwork. Once you’ve been served, you’ll have 20 days to file an answer to respond to the claims filed against you and assert any applicable defenses. It’s very important that you file an answer, or if you do not know how you should consult a foreclosure defense lawyer, since failing to do so allows the Court to file a default judgement against you.
It’s important to note that in many foreclosure cases, there will be Court hearings that require you, or your lawyer, to attend and address the Judge. In some cases however, there are no hearings at all until the final hearing, where the Judge can enter a judgement against you and set your foreclosure sale date. Each Court has its own set of procedures, and each bank has a different way of processing their foreclosure cases. Handled professionally, these hearings can be a good chance to discover the potential weaknesses in the bank’s case, and can be used as an excellent opportunity to attempt to save the home as well. Having an attorney handle these hearings for you can take the stress away from having to handle them alone, and can go a long way to achieving your goals.
If the Judge enters a judgement against you and sets a foreclosure sale date, your house will be auctioned and sold on that day. Before the auction, you can still be able to save your house from foreclosure if you pay the whole amount due before the sale. However, most people want to explore mortgage modifications as a way to keep your home and stop a foreclosure auction.
Skilled Foreclosure Defense Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area
If you’d like to know more about how long foreclosures take and what the foreclosure process entails, you can turn to the seasoned professionals at The Lyons Law Group, P.A. We’re based in New Port Richey, Florida, and we’re proud to have been serving clients throughout the Tampa Bay community since 2008. We offer free initial consultations and we’d be happy to sit down with you and discuss a strategy for challenging a pending foreclosure. We’ll do everything we can to help you save your home and remain in your home for as long as possible.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation at our office in New Port Richey, contact The Lyons Law Group, P.A., today.