Foreclosure is the legal process by which the lender in a mortgage arrangement takes possession of the property (usually a house) that secured the loan. This is done when the St. Augustine, Florida debtor has repeatedly failed to make their payments. Foreclosure usually results in the property being sold in an auction. Banks usually want to get rid of the property as soon as possible, even if it means taking a financial hit, and an auction is the easiest way to do this.

In all states in the United States, including Florida, foreclosure by judicial sale is an option. This allows the sale to be conducted under the supervision of a court, to ensure that the bank makes a good faith effort to get a fair price, and that the proceeds above and beyond the balance of the mortgage (if there are any) go back to the debtor. In many states, mortgages which have not been refinanced are "non-recourse loans." This means that, in the event of default, the bank can take ownership of the house and sell it; but if the sale price happens to be less than the balance of the mortgage, the lender cannot go after the borrower for the remainder. Because of this, some people have found that their best option is to simply walk away from the home if the mortgage is more than the house is worth. You should talk with a St. Augustine, Florida attorney to see if this state is one of them.

How Can I Avoid Foreclosure in Florida?

First, and most importantly, you should not ignore the issue. Failing to respond to foreclosure calls from your lender will not make a problem go away. You should stay in touch, and be honest with, your creditor as much as possible. One should remember that banks generally don't want to take your house in St. Augustine. They issued your mortgage expecting to earn a profit on the interest. Taking possession of, and selling, your house is a last resort for them. Therefore, if you are honest with them about your financial situation, they are likely to make reasonable accommodations to prevent you from defaulting.

If no deal can be worked out, or the mortgage payments have become prohibitive, you might consider a "short sale". While the lender has to consent to it, many will take a moderate loss if it means avoiding foreclosure (which lenders generally treat as a last resort). This allows you to sell the house for whatever price it can fetch on the current market, and hand the proceeds over to the bank. If the sale nets less than the balance, some or all of the deficiency might be forgiven. You might also consider a "short refinance" which allows a portion of the debt to be forgiven, while refinancing the rest, hopefully under better terms.

How Can A St. Augustine, Florida Attorney Help?

If you are facing foreclosure, a good St. Augustine, Florida real estate attorney can help. While keeping your home might not always be possible, a lawyer can increase your odds of success, and help you minimize the negative impact if you do end up losing your home.