Foreclosures can happen to anyone who has a mortgage, and unfortunately, once a bank or lender has started the process to foreclose on a property, there is little the owner can do to stop them. Retaining an attorney who specializes in this area is one of the only ways to get help and possibly stop the foreclosure proceedings before the property is repossessed. There are attorneys in the Fort Walton Beach area who specialize in helping people throughout this process. 

How long does it take before the lender will want their property?

A foreclosure process begins when the owner has not made payments due on the property for at least 120 days. The company that is the lender or servicer on the mortgage must send out a formal notice letting the owner know that the loan on their property is in default. In some cases, the lender will allow the borrower to make alternative arrangements such as modifying the mortgage or catching up on payments within a certain timeframe during this initial four month period, to avoid formal foreclosure actions. It may also be possible to submit loss mitigation forms to the lender. This may cause them to grant a forbearance or come up with other alternative ways to get the mortgage payments back in order. 

Getting help when foreclosure is a realistic possibility

When it seems that a foreclosure action is pending and mortgage payments are several months behind, it is best to get some kind of help as soon as possible to save your home. 

There are government and non-profit organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s counseling services that offer help. However, keep in mind that their resources are limited and they may not be able to make every case a priority. The best option is to hire a lawyer who will give your situation the full attention it deserves. 

After the foreclosure proceedings have taken place

Once the lender has actually began the process to foreclose on the property, there are few defenses available and the owner will either have to pay the total amount due or be forced to leave their home. In Florida, once three to six months have passed from the time loan holder files the case in court, the property will be lost if other arrangements have not already been made to settle the case. 

There are only a few defenses to a foreclosure under Florida law, so finding an attorney who practices in the Fort Walton Beach area will be necessary to have any chance of stopping the foreclosure proceedings. The first defense is related to an invalid mortgage. This will not apply in most cases unless the lender has made some kind of major mistake that went undiscovered. The second is whether the late payments or other issues meet the legal definition of a default on the existing obligation. The final issue is related to whether the lender was within their rights to move forward with action on the debt under the particular circumstances.  

Talk to a foreclosure lawyer in your area

To learn more about defending against foreclosure proceedings in the Fort Walton Beach area, contact the attorneys at ASG Legal