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In Florida, all lenders are required to go to court in order to initiate the foreclosure process. To begin the process, a lender must file a lawsuit in the circuit court of the county where the property is located. However, the filing of the lawsuit is just the beginning of the process. Below is an overview of how the foreclosure process proceeds in Florida.

Summons, complaint, and lis pendens

As noted above, the foreclosure process is initiated when a lender files a complaint with the court. In addition, the lender must file a summons and lis pendens. The summons informs the debtor of the lawsuit, and the lis pendens puts the public on notice that foreclosure proceedings have begun.

Service of documents

Following service of the summons, complaint, and lis pendens to the debtor, he or she has 20 days to respond. Typical responses include an answer and motion to dismiss. After service, a debtor may also conduct discovery. Discovery gives both parties an opportunity to obtain evidence and develop their cases.

Summary judgment hearing

Next comes the summary judgment hearing. At the summary judgment hearing, the lender’s attorney presents evidence that establishes its case against the debtor. The debtor also has an opportunity to provide sworn statements. If the judge in the case determines that questions of fact exist based on the sworn statements, then the motion for summary judgment will be denied. However, if the court grants the motion, it will enter a final judgment that states the total amount owed by the debtor.

Sale of the property

Following the entry of a final judgment, the clerk of court schedules a date to sell the property. The sale typically takes place between one and four months from the date the judgment is entered. Prior to the sale, the lender is responsible for publicizing the auction. Following the sale, the sales terms must be confirmed by the court.

Deficiency judgment

Following a foreclosure sale, a debtor may be held liable for any amount of the original loan that the lender was unable to recover from the sale. Known as a deficiency judgment, this order by the court is the same as any other judgment and may be enforced against the debtor for up to 20 years.

Florida Real Estate Attorneys

If you are at risk of losing your home to foreclosure, it is imperative that you contact an experienced real estate attorney immediately. At the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A., our experienced Florida real estate attorneys will help you navigate the foreclosure process, working diligently to ensure that a satisfactory outcome is achieved in your case. In addition, our experienced Florida real estate attorneys are experienced in assisting both buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate with their property transactions. Please contact our office today for a consultation.