Foreclosure may occur, but it doesn't have to. You can
take action to save your home.
I do if I get behind in my mortgage payments?
It is never too late to receive help. By seeking
help early, there is a greater chance of success in
avoiding foreclosure. As soon as you anticipate problems
in paying your mortgage payment, contact your mortgage
servicer to explain your current financial situation.
Many servicers are willing to work with you if you
contact them immediately, because they understand that
individuals and families can face temporary job loss,
serious illness, or other major life events that can
impact their ability to pay their mortgage. Contact your
loan servicer's Loss Mitigation Department. Ask if you
can participate in a "work out" resolution or obtain a
loan modification. Be honest with the loss mitigation
staff about your situation so they can help you choose
the best option.
What is a "work out" resolution?
Generally, a "work out" resolution involves
resuming payments and arranging to pay the past-due
amount over a short period of time. Sometimes, lenders
will allow a "loan modification" which might lower your
interest rate or extend the final due date of your loan
- making your monthly payments lower.
Where can I go to find help?
In addition to contacting your mortgage servicer, you
can call the HOPE NOW Homeowner's Hotline at
888-995-HOPE (4673) or visit
They have independent nonprofits that provide
HUD-approved counselors. You can call a housing
counselor approved by HUD at:
or a local resource in your area. These counselors are
experienced in communicating with mortgage servicers and
are able to determine where you are in the process and
what "work out" options may be available to you.
How do I know if I qualify for any
alternatives to foreclosure?
Your mortgage servicer and a HUD-approved housing
counselor will be able to determine if you qualify for
any of the alternatives.
What should I do if I receive letters
saying my home is going to be foreclosed upon?
Do not ignore letters or phone calls from your mortgage
servicer. If you are having difficulty in making your
payments, take action immediately by calling or writing
to your mortgage servicer's Loss Mitigation Department
to explain your situation. Make sure that you have a
copy of your mortgage loan documents in hand prior to
contacting your servicer.
Should I continue to live in my home?
Yes, you are in a far better position to save your home
by continuing to live in it. If you abandon your
property, you may not qualify for assistance.
What should I do if I get a foreclosure
Call your servicer immediately to discuss alternatives
Should I be aware of anything else?
Beware of scams. Solutions that sound too simple or
too good to be true usually are. Unfortunately, there
are people who may try to take advantage of your
financial difficulty. Once your loan is in the
foreclosure process, you may be contacted by those who
will tell you that they can "help" you keep your house.
Be cautious. Most of the time, these self-proclaimed
specialists charge a hefty fee for services that are
worthless or that you can perform for yourself just by
calling your servicer's Loss Mitigation Department or by
calling a HUD approved housing counseling agency. To
learn more about avoiding being scammed, call the
Florida Attorney General's office at (850) 414-3300, or go
to their Web site at
. The best way to avoid
scams is to work directly with your mortgage company and
a HUD approved housing counselor.
Are all offers to "help" scams?
Because of the public nature of foreclosures,
anyone can access foreclosure listings on a daily basis.
These listings include the owner's name and address and
could include other sensitive information. Armed with
this data, individuals pitch their scam to take
advantage of a desperate owner. Please see our 'Foreclosure
How long does a foreclosure take?
If a bank or mortgage company has started foreclosure
against you, you will be served court papers by the
sheriff or a process server. As soon as you receive
court papers, read them and talk with an attorney to get
advice, you must respond to these papers within 20
You may receive an 'Order to Show Cause'. This
document will let you know the date, time and location
of the hearing where a Judge will decide whether or not
to foreclose on your house. You can go to the hearing
and tell the judge why there should be no foreclosure.
If the judge decides that the house should be
foreclosed, he/she will set a day and time for the sale.
That day will be between 20 - 35 days after the hearing.
If you do not file an answer or if you do not show up
at the "Show Cause" hearing, a default can be entered
against you. This is like automatically losing
your case. The document you could receive is
the actual notice to leave your house.
Can I retain my house after it goes to
Yes, you may retain ownership of your home (and continue
to live in it) up until the time that the confirmation
of sale has been filed with the court.
When do I actually have to leave the
You should be prepared to vacate the property once
the foreclosure sale has been confirmed, which usually
takes place 30 days to 60 days after the trustee sale.
If you choose not to vacate the property, an eviction
notice will be placed on your door informing you of the
date you will be evicted by the Sheriff. Your personal
belongings will be placed outside your home and
eventually removed. If you have not made alternative
living arrangements, a HUD-approved housing counseling
agency can refer you to community services in your area.
Should I consider refinancing?
Being able to refinance your loan depends on
several factors. If you are already behind on your
mortgage, your credit rating will be adversely affected.
This could prevent you from obtaining a new mortgage at
a reasonable interest rate. In addition, you may not be
able to afford the fees and points that most lenders
charge, especially if you have little or no equity in
your home. If you do want to refinance, shop around for
the best rate and terms possible and be alert for
predatory lending practices. Refinance opportunities
also exist with FHA Secure through the federal
government. Information on FHASecure can be found by
Where can I file a complaint if I believe
I have been a victim of predatory lending?
Complaints regarding predatory lending can be filed
with the Florida Attorney General's office by calling
(850) 414-330 or, by visiting their website at
Would my mortgage company rather
foreclose on my home than keep me in it?
On average, with each foreclosure, the mortgage
company loses around $50,000. These companies are
in the business of providing and servicing mortgages and
would prefer not to own or sell homes. If possible, they
would prefer to keep you in your home.
Is foreclosure uncommon?
Foreclosure is a challenge faced every year by thousands
from all walks of life. You are not alone, but you need
to take action to save your dream.
What are the main points I should remember?
- Act now and don't ignore the problem
- Contact your mortgage servicer as soon as you
realize that you have a problem
- Open and respond to all mail from your servicer
- Contact a HUD-approved housing counselor
- Stay in your home to make sure you qualify for
- Understand Florida's foreclosure process
- Understand foreclosure prevention options and
- Beware of scams
- Do not sign any document that you don't