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Fight To Protect Your Home

As a homeowner, you probably place a lot of value into your home. After spending years of your life and putting countless amounts of money and energy into making your home what it is today, you certainly do not want to lose it. When foreclosure threatens your home, you need a foreclosure defense attorney to help protect it.

Graham Legal, P.A., is a leader in the field of foreclosure defense in Miami and South Florida. At Graham Legal, P.A., we have helped many families defend their homes against foreclosure. We were one of the first law firms to take on this issue in the Great Recession that began in 2007. Since then, we have developed our practice in this field and are well-equipped to guide clients through these difficult times. We are prepared to help you as well.

What We Do To Help You

There is no universal answer to defending against foreclosures. We take the time to sit down with our clients and understand their unique situations in order to determine what approaches may benefit them the most. Many viable strategies include:

  • Understanding your rights
  • Pursuing loss mitigation
  • Qualifying for Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • Developing alternative methods of defense
  • Defending against deficiency judgments
  • Identifying possible unfair lending practices
  • Obtaining a loan modification and alternatives
  • Negotiating on your behalf in settlement conferences

If you are facing foreclosure, it is crucial to remember that many different options may help you keep your home. You can count on our decades of experience to guide you through these difficult times and keep you where you belong. We can help answer your questions about the process, and have included responses to some of the most common questions our clients have.

Protect Your Rights In Foreclosure

If you get behind on your mortgage payments, your lender may respond by trying to take the property back with foreclosure. The loan servicer has a specific process that they need to follow in a foreclosure process in order to allow you to prevent foreclosure. You also have your own right to defend yourself, and an experienced attorney can help. At Graham Legal, P.A., we know your foreclosure rights, and we know how to protect them. We established our practice by defending clients from foreclosure during the Great Recession, and our work continues today. Our experienced attorneys are committed to achieving the most favorable outcome for your situation.

What Are Your Rights?

When it comes to your foreclosure, you may be surprised to learn just how many rights you have to defend yourself. Your rights include:

  • Challenging foreclosure
  • Gaining the surplus from the sale of the home
  • Paying off the debt before a foreclosure sale
  • Reinstating regular payments through a lump sum payment
  • Receiving notification of foreclosure
  • Discussing how to avoid foreclosure with your lender
  • Receiving a “breach letter,” which details the foreclosure and how to stop it

It is unlikely that every homeowner knows about these rights, which is why you should be sure to work with an attorney to ensure that your lender is not infringing on any of your rights.
Foreclosure is a significant challenge, and the last thing you need is someone working against you by failing to follow proper procedures in the foreclosure process. Make sure that you have a lawyer you can trust to protect you and your rights.

Foreclosure Timeline For Homeowners

The timeline for a foreclosure in Miami can be complicated when a homeowner has never been informed of the process. Most homeowners in Miami sign a promissory note and receive a mortgage when buying their new property. This note states that the borrower will pay for a property in full over a set period of time, dependent upon the type of mortgage and lender. When a borrower can no longer make payments toward the property, the lender can and will pursue a foreclosure once the borrower is delinquent on payments for 120 days. All Miami foreclosures are judicial, requiring the lender to file the foreclosure through a state court.

What Happens When You Miss Your Mortgage Payments?

When a lender is ready to proceed with foreclosure, a formal complaint will be filed through the court and served on the borrower. Once the borrower has received the Complaint Petition, they then have 20 days to respond before the judge can rule in favor of the lender. If the borrower does not respond to the petition, the most likely result is a default judgment in which the court rules in favor of the lender. If the borrower hires a knowledgeable Miami foreclosure defense attorney and responds to the complaint, several important defenses will be raised.

Many defenses to a mortgage foreclosure action exist, and a loan servicing company, which is usually removed from the original lender several times, must prove several very important facts before they can obtain a foreclosure judgment. If the court deems the borrower’s defenses viable, a summary judgment for the lender will be denied and the discovery phase and trial will proceed. If the defenses are not viable, judgment will be entered in favor of the lender if the court rules in favor of the lender, a sale of the property will be scheduled to take place in approximately 30 days after judgment.

The Foreclosure Sale

At the foreclosure sale, the property will be sold to the highest bidder. Often the highest bidder is the lender, as they have a credit bid for the amount of the foreclosure judgment. If this is the case, the foreclosed property becomes officially owned by the bank. Regardless of who the highest bidder is, the next step in the Miami foreclosure timeline is the Certification of Sale filed by a county clerk. The borrower has 10 days to file an objection to the bid amount once the Certification of Sale has been issued. After this period, the county clerk will prepare a Certificate of Title and issue it to the new owner.

Cash-For-Keys, Vacating The Premises And Other Alternatives Available

If the homeowner is unrepresented by a knowledgeable Miami foreclosure defense attorney, defending a foreclosure action will generally end very soon. Most of the time, the lender will obtain a final judgment within four months and the sale will occur 30 days after entry of the final judgment. However, if the borrower hires an experienced Miami foreclosure defense attorney, the timeline of a foreclosure action may extend well beyond one year – allowing the borrower more time to get their affairs in order or defend themselves. There are many defenses to a lender foreclosure action that may be asserted. Once asserted the lender has many issues of fact that they will have to prove to obtain a final judgment of foreclosure. If the lender cannot prove the required elements of their case, they will lose and the foreclosure action will be dismissed.

While the foreclosure action is pending, our Miami foreclosure defense attorneys can help the homeowner develop a plan of action to achieve their goals. Some people want to keep their home and the defense attorney can help guide the homeowner through the loan modification process. Other homeowners are interested in selling their property. By defending the foreclosure action, the homeowner can list the property for sale and complete a sale of the property before any judgment is entered. Another alternative is seeking cash for keys and an extended sale date of 120 days or more from an entry of the final judgment. The information listed here is very basic. There are many strategies available to Miami homeowners facing foreclosure. The best way to explore these options is to consult with a professional Miami foreclosure defense attorney.

Providing Alternatives To Foreclosure

Many people find themselves in a situation where they are having difficulty making their monthly payments, but, they don’t want to lose or surrender their home to the bank. The word foreclosure conjures up the idea of being evicted and credit problems beyond repair. That’s probably why many people hesitate to make an appointment with a foreclosure defense attorney. Automatically, it is believed that the foreclosure attorney will only assist in disposing of the property.

However, this philosophy is false and very dangerous. An experienced foreclosure defense lawyer will provide different options to correct the situation, many of which will allow the homeowner to keep his or her home. In the best circumstances, a homeowner will actually confer with a foreclosure attorney as soon as they consider defaulting on their mortgage in order to avoid or be prepared for any legal action that may come from not making the mortgage payments.

In a free consultation with an attorney, they will provide options for your situation and offer advice on which steps need to be taken to achieve the desired goal. At Graham Legal, P.A., we have seen many people come in expecting to go into foreclosure and needing a lawyer. On numerous occasions, we offered these homeowners direction and they were able to avoid foreclosure entirely.
For the homeowners who weren’t able to avoid foreclosure, we were already one step ahead of the game. By expecting the foreclosure and having someone to watch over the status of their case, we gave them the time they needed to execute their desired result, such as a loan modification or other agreement with the mortgage lender. With an attorney on the side of the homeowner, the likelihood of the homeowner prevailing is much higher.

Deficiency Judgment

Since deficiency judgments in Florida lie heavily in the hands of the court, the right defense is key for getting the case dismissed or for reducing the amount that must be repaid. Aided by in-depth knowledge of foreclosure law, our Miami foreclosure attorneys at Graham Legal, P.A., can select the right defense for your case and protect your rights in court. Part of this involves determining that the lender even has the right to bring suit. There are some requirements that must be met for a deficiency judgment to be granted:

  • The suit must take place within a year of the sale.
  • The lender must have documented proof that the sale resulted in less than the balance owed.
  • The lender must demonstrate that the home’s value did not exceed the loan balance at the time of the sale.

Being dealt a deficiency claim is not the end. If your lender has made a claim for deficiency judgment against you, our experts in deficiency judgment defense can work with you to craft a winning strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Foreclosure In Florida

We represent homeowners on foreclosure cases because we are experts in this field, and we know that, with our help, the homeowner can overcome a foreclosure lawsuit. If you have questions about your case, we would love to meet for a complimentary consultation. To get you started with some information, below are some of the most frequently asked questions.

I’ve already missed some mortgage payments. Do I really stand a chance of avoiding foreclosure?

Yes. Even if you’re behind on payments, there are still viable options available to you to fight for your home, including defending the foreclosure based on possible violations in the original mortgage paperwork, renegotiating loan terms or selling your home. There are also defenses and counterclaims that can be raised that may stop foreclosure.

I’m upside down on the mortgage. Will you still take on my case?

Yes. Whether there is a lot of equity, none at all, or if you’re upside down, we will still represent your case. Our goal is to have your foreclosure dismissed and the foreclosure suit in your past. We will assist you with single-family home foreclosure, condominium litigation, HUD foreclosure, and any other form of home foreclosure.

If I am willing to part ways with my home, what are my options for avoiding foreclosure?

There are many alternatives to foreclosure to choose from. We can get the bank to agree to a short sale (or a sale of the home at a value that is lower than the amount owed on the mortgage), or even conduct a regular home sale. You can sometimes get the bank to forgive your debt through the “deed in lieu of foreclosure” option, which requires signing the property over to the lender. There is a “forced” option for this method. It is important to note that a deed in lieu of foreclosure can result in various negative consequences, such as tax liability and damage to your credit score.

What are my alternatives if I want to keep my home?

After the foreclosure action is started, we have various litigation tactics that we can use to stall a final judgment. We will use the extra time to make negotiations with the bank on your behalf or to process a loan modification. These methods have allowed many of our clients to keep their home.

So what’s the difference between your attorneys and other foreclosure defense attorneys in Miami?

Our approach to foreclosure defense involves investigating every possibility. Our expertise is foreclosure defense for homeowners in Miami and South Florida, meaning that we are always studying and keeping up to date with all new case law and available defenses in foreclosure law. We’re not distracted with other areas of law, such as bankruptcy, because we believe in fighting for your home first, before bankruptcy which can further ruin your credit. Additionally, we explain everything in detail, provide you with updates, and communicate frequently. We are a law firm that cares, every member of our team is compassionate, and most importantly, Graham Legal, P.A., is built on the foundation of defending hardworking people.

I don’t have much available income; how will I afford a foreclosure defense attorney?

In the long run, hiring our firm is more affordable than not hiring an attorney. When we decided that our law firm was to benefit hardworking people who need our help, we made sure to put a fee structure in place that is easy for our clients to work with. Also, with our attorneys defending your case, the foreclosure will naturally take longer and you will be able to live on the property throughout the duration of the case without making mortgage payments, sometimes, it can last for years allowing the family plenty of time to save money.

What if my lender took advantage of me? Can I do anything about it?

There are certain federal laws that require lenders to be honest and upfront with borrowers and to treat them fairly. For example, the Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose certain information about loan terms and costs. When lenders violate these laws and engage in other “predatory lending” practices, this could be grounds to stop foreclosure proceedings. A court can even order the lender to pay damages to the borrower.

A Foreclosure Defense Attorney Can Offer Peace Of Mind

Fear of the unknown adds pressure to any stressful situation – the same is true for homeowners facing foreclosure. Everyone has heard horror stories of dealing with mortgage lenders and homes being foreclosed without the borrower being aware. Situations in which the homeowners are evicted from their home and unprepared can be avoided with a foreclosure defense attorney representing your case.

In Florida, the foreclosure system is judicial, meaning that the lenders have to file the foreclosure through the court system and the homeowner has a right to have an attorney defending his or her interest. Going through the courts also means that the lender has an obligation to give proper notification of their next move, which may not be fully understood by the average person, but another attorney will know how to proceed and prepare. Our attorneys at Graham Legal, P.A., always advise clients of any motions or hearings that may have a significant outcome, allowing everyone time to prepare emotionally and financially.

Having someone monitor your case and providing insight throughout the duration of the foreclosure process will provide you with the peace of mind necessary to focus on adjusting your financial situation, health, and family. Foreclosure is difficult, but it shouldn’t take over your life and it doesn’t need to keep you from resting at night. A foreclosure defense attorney takes the guesswork out of the equation and can provide an approximate timeframe.

Do Not Wait To Begin Your Defense

One of the biggest mistakes someone can make is pursuing a legal matter without an attorney’s help. You deserve the best from your lawyer, which is why we are available 24/7 to our clients. From our Coral Gables office, we can represent clients in Miami-Dade County and throughout Florida. We also can provide virtual assistance.

If you are ready to meet with a Florida attorney whom you can count on, contact us today. You can schedule your initial consultation by calling 305-985-6555 or clicking this link to email us. We are eager to earn the opportunity to represent you when you need us most; act today to protect tomorrow.