Foreclosure is every homeowner’s nightmare and many homeowners are experiencing this nightmare first hand. Recent studies indicated that approximately 50% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and 43% spend more than they make each year. An unexpected job loss or health crisis can easily put many of these responsible homeowners over the edge and into foreclosure.
If you are facing foreclosure or have already been served a foreclosure notice, you should know that one mistake can cost you your home. Here are 4 of the most common foreclosure mistakes to look for and avoid.
1. Not Filing a Response
The first mistake that people often make in foreclosure cases is not filing a response to a lawsuit. Changes to Florida’s foreclosure law have basically expedited the process that a lender has to follow to prosecute a foreclosure action.
The law essentially shifts the burden of proof to the homeowner by requiring that you file an answer to the lawsuit in a very short time period of 20 – 45 days. If you fail to do so, the law allows the court to enter a final judgment of foreclosure against you.
2. Filing an Answer Rather Than a Motion to Dismiss
The second mistake that people often make is that rather than filing a motion to dismiss, they file an answer to the lawsuit. A motion to dismiss attacks the lawsuit itself on the basis that it either lacks merit or was filed improperly.
“An answer is when you accept the lawsuit as being valid and either accept or deny its claims. If you file an answer instead of a motion to dismiss, you may waive certain rights or opportunities to gain an advantage over the other side.”
3. Failing to Respond to a Summary Judgment
The third mistake that people often make in foreclosure cases is failing to file a response to a summary judgment. A summary judgment is essentially a trial by paper, where both sides file paperwork and then the court makes a decision based on the paperwork that has been filed. If you don’t file any paperwork, you won’t have any defense in the summary judgment and will have no chance to win the case.
4. Not Having Your Paperwork Reviewed by an Experienced Foreclosure Attorney
In the previous decade, lender foreclosure fraud was rampant. Many home loans were bought and sold on Wall Street. Furthermore, it has been reported that banks and mortgage lenders were hiring anyone the could find, including hair stylists and shoe salesmen, as foreclosure “experts” to handle the mounting backlog of foreclosures that were racking up.
These inexperienced foreclosure workers fraudulently signed thousands of foreclosure documents per day and the damage is still being sorted out. So in many foreclosures today, it is not always clear who owns the mortgage.
Because of this fraud and insufficient record keeping, an experienced foreclosure attorney should be hired to determine if the bank truly has the right to foreclose on your home.
Consult With an Experienced Foreclosure Defense Attorney
These concepts can be difficult for homeowners to understand. However, foreclosure attorneys deal with these issues every day. So if you have any questions regarding a foreclosure case in which you are involved, call an experienced foreclosure attorney to receive the answers you need.