If you are served with a foreclosure complaint, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon a property because you haven’t paid your mortgage. You’re still the title and record holder of that property. You own the deed and title to it; it’s yours. The bank merely lent you the money to buy the property. Now it’s their obligation to foreclose on their security interest. It’s your responsibility until title is deeded to, transferred or sold to another party.
What to Do If You Receive a Foreclosure Notice
When you get a foreclosure notice, read it completely. Don’t throw it away. Think about what you can do and what you want to do. Then, call an attorney–unless you want to try to negotiate with the banks who will use attorneys to tackle your foreclosure.
If you answer your foreclosure complaint in a timely manner you’ll have options. When you’re about six to nine months late on your mortgage you’re going to get served with a foreclosure complaint. It’s going to be about six to nine months before it comes to a point where you have to act. Sometimes before, sometimes after. But generally speaking that’s the timeline for a foreclosure. Once you’re served with a foreclosure complaint the summons on the complaint explains that you have 20 days to answer the complaint. The most important thing you can do at that time is to go speak to a lawyer immediately. He or she will KNOW what to do and can manage it quickly, completely after you explain whether you want to keep your home.
If you wait until the 20 days runs and you haven’t answered the complaint that’s when you can experience a problem. That’s when when the foreclosing lender can go and get a default judgment and default against you. A default judgment may be able to get you out of your home faster than if you were going to go another route.
No. 1 Relax–After Seeing An Attorney
The proper thing to do is to try and relax. Go see an attorney. Start the process of answering the foreclosure complaint. Set up a mediation. Take the initial steps that are necessary to either 1). try to work out your home loan in mediation or 2). come up with an alternate plan.
a). maybe a short sale
b). maybe a deed in lieu of foreclosure
There are many other types of plans, but a complaint unanswered could be disastrous for you.
What you really want is to answer the complaint because that starts the process whatever the process may be. It might be that you will go to mediation. It might be a deed in lieu of foreclosure. It might be short sale. But the most important thing is that you go see an attorney. Don’t wait. In a foreclosure situation timing is absolutely imperative.
The most important thing you can do after you’ve been served with a foreclosure complaint, not next week, not the week after, not three weeks from then, the next day is to schedule an appointment with a licensed attorney.
You Will Not Be Evicted Right Away
One of the fears that people generally have with a foreclosure is that they are going to be immediately ejected from their home upon service of the complaint. It’s important once you’re served with that complaint to go engage an attorney to represent you in the matter. On average a foreclosure in Central Florida is taking between 12 and 24 months to complete. But in the Lanigans’ professional opinion, the number one thing you should look for in a foreclosure attorney is one that understands the economics of foreclosure. Does your foreclosure attorney actually understand how the banks operate and what they’re doing on their end?
If you have an attorney that understands how banks work, it’s one of the greatest likelihoods you will work out a deal in mediation.
Eric Lanigan, Roddy Lanigan Work Directly With Clients
Roddy Lanigan and Eric Lanigan handle all legal matters personally. They work with non-attorney staff who handle mortgage workouts. These are people that have years of experience in the mortgage industry and they know how to communicate with the banks. They speak the banks’ language and they understand what it takes to get a mediation and a deal done.
Many of the foreclosure defense firms in Central Florida and south Florida use paralegals for the majority of their work because foreclosure is primarily form driven. However, when you come to Lanigan and Lanigan, either Eric or Roddy are personally overseeing and handling your case.
Every pleading, every file is signed by and prepared by the Lanigans. It’s not prepared by a paralegal and then placed on the Lanigans’ desks for signature. At this firm it’s a family firm, a small firm that purposely made the decision not to go big.
The Lanigans feel clients’ cases are best handled when they prepare the pleadings and they sign the paperwork. With the Lanigans when you have a question on your case, you speak to Eric Lanigan or you speak to my Roddy Lanigan.