Florida Foreclosure Filings on the Rise

Last month, Florida foreclosure filings hit their highest point since December 2010.

One out of every 268 Florida homes received a foreclosure filing in October, adding over 33,000 homeowners to the ranks of those searching for a Florida foreclosure defense attorney. Currently, over 162,600 Florida homes are in foreclosure.

The uptick in foreclosures hit hardest in Miami-Dade County, which saw over 5,400 new filings last month. Broward County came in second with 3,725. The Tampa Bay area has certainly not been spared from the damage — Hillsborough County took sixth place with nearly 1,700 new foreclosure filings in the month of October.

Florida now has the fourth-highest foreclosure rate in the nation.

Florida Foreclosure Remedies Are Available

The surge in Florida foreclosure filings comes months after most other states saw a similar uptick. This is because Florida, like a handful of other states, requires foreclosures to go through a judicial process.

This judicial process takes approximately 135 days, although the Florida foreclosure process can take much longer, depending on the individual situation. This delay gives homeowners an opportunity to seek relief under Florida foreclosure laws. In some cases, homeowners can stop the foreclosure by demonstrating that the bank does not have the proper documentation needed to take the home.

In other cases, homeowners may be able to work out a deal with their bank. The bank may agree to a short sale, wherein the home is sold and the bank accepts the selling price as payment in full on the mortgage. Another option is to restructure the loan in a way that allows the homeowner to afford the monthly payments.

Other times, declaring bankruptcy is a homeowner’s best bet. Bankruptcy allows a homeowner to discharge debt without incurring income tax penalties. In some cases, a homeowner who declares bankruptcy in tandem with a foreclosure proceeding may be able to live in his or her home rent- and mortgage-free for up to two years. This gives the homeowner an opportunity to save up enough money to start fresh.

If you’re facing foreclosure, know that you’re not alone. You have options. Contact an experienced Florida foreclosure attorney who can help you choose your best path.

Source: RealtyTrac, “Florida Real Estate Trends,” October 2011

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