What I tell clients who receive a foreclosure notice -Yahoo! Homes

News  •  Aug 13, 2012 12:03 EDT

A version of this blog was originally published on Yahoo! Homes and is being republished on South Florida Law Blog with their permission.

As a real estate attorney, I’ve had plenty of prospective clients come to my office after being served with a foreclosure notice. It is safe to say they are usually not in a good mood; they are usually scared.

And the truth is I would be too. Foreclosure can be a scary process for even the most legally astute homeowner.

When a homeowner walks into my office for that first time, there is one question that comes up almost every time. It’s a basic yet very essential question to anyone under the threat of foreclosure…

What do I do next?

It may seem obvious, but there is one thing I would advise a homeowner to never, ever do — and that is nothing.

Sadly, that is the option I have seen too many homeowners take. Sometimes they see an unfamiliar lender’s name on the notice, and assume it’s a mistake. Or they believe that foreclosure is inevitable, and there is nothing they they can do to fight it.

The clock is ticking

Either way the reality is this: how long a homeowner waits to address a foreclosure notice has a direct correlation to the options that will be available to them.

In most states, you have 20 to 30 days to reply to a complaint; here in Florida it is 20 days.

In my experience, homeowners who don’t respond will probably end up with a clerk’s judgment and in default.

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