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How much do you know about foreclosure in Florida?

There is perhaps nothing more frustrating and frightening than falling behind on mortgage payments despite your best efforts. Indeed, these feelings become amplified after you start receiving past due notices from the mortgage lender demanding you become current on your payments.

Your thoughts may naturally start to wonder whether the mortgage lender will initiate the foreclosure process, an action that can naturally seem as arcane as it is menacing.

In today's post, our blog will attempt to clarify some of the mystery surrounding the foreclosure process here in Florida. Our purpose in doing this is not to frighten homeowners, but rather empower them and impress upon them why it may be necessary to consult with an experienced legal professional if foreclosure appears imminent.

How does a foreclosure action begin in Florida?

The foreclosure process here in the Sunshine State officially starts when the mortgage lender files a lawsuit and records notice of the pending lawsuit -- known as Lis Pendens -- against the homeowner.

Once this is completed, the borrower then provides notice to the homeowner or other necessary parties through in-person service. In some cases, service by either mail or publication is permissible.

What happens if the homeowner fails to respond to the foreclosure notice?

In the event the homeowner fails to respond to the foreclosure notice in the designated timeframe, they can be found in default by the county clerk. If this happens, the mortgage lender can then petition the court for a final ruling.

What happens if the court rules against the homeowner?

In the likely event the court rules against the homeowner who failed to respond, its order will set forth both the total amount owed to the mortgage lender and, more significantly, the date of the foreclosure sale.

Is the mortgage lender required to let the homeowner know that they will be initiating the foreclosure process?

A mortgage lender generally has no legal obligation to warn a homeowner prior to the initiation of the foreclosure process. However, the terms of individual deeds of trust or mortgages may dictate that this take place.

We will continue to discuss this real estate topic in our next post.

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