Foreclosure in Tampa>Question Details

Joann, Both Buyer and Seller in Clermont, FL

I've just been served w/foreclosure papers - do i need a lawyer to answer

Asked by Joann, Clermont, FL Tue Sep 2, 2008

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If you have money to pay attorneys but not to make your mortgage payment, that's an irony... Whether to hire an attorney is your decision. But typically, the lender is following the law and standard industry practice, and the law is on their side, not yours. If you really made your mortgage payments all along, and the foreclosure proceedings are way off base, then sure, fight it. Otherwise, it's time to face reality. But is foreclosure your only alternative? Refinancing probably isn't feasible. And despite what various people may say on here, a short sale is virtually never a desirable outcome for you as the homeowner, because you are not protected. In a short sale, a lender can usually sue you after closing or require you to sign a new note in order to close, and your credit will always be ravaged (there's no special category for short sales in the credit reporting world). Did you explore ways to keep the home by talking to your lender, either on your own or with professional help? Loan modifications are possible to reduce your payments dramatically and save your home. If that isn't desirable or feasible, then the best alternative hands-down is a deed in lieu of foreclosure, which is accepted as payment in full (and noted that way in your credit report), protects you from being sued for the loss (which is a bigger amount than you may realize, when the lender's legal fees are tacked on), and lets the lender deal with the hassles of selling the home later, completely on their own. If you'd like to discuss these options live, let me know. I'm a senior loan officer at an FHA-approved lender based in Florida and have access to federal initiatives such as FHA Secure, which are supposedly designed to help avert foreclosure. But those initiatives are still more rhetoric than substance, so I also negotiate loan modifications and other foreclosure prevention measures.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008
I would really like to explore the "Deed in lieu of foreclosure" option. I was served last sunday (11/3/13)and I have 20 days to respond. Please advise. My email address is
Flag Fri Nov 8, 2013
Your first call should be to your lender, if you want to stay in your home ask for the home retention team/department. Without knowing your situation it is impossible to give an oppinion however if you tell them they may have an answer for you. Be nice, be patient, they are not collectors, if they seem unreasonable ask for a supervisoer, but dont yell at them as you need them to help you. If that fails then you should seek a free consultation with an attorney to decide your course of action. Good luck Joann
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 3, 2008
We would recommend a free 30 min consult with a local attorney as your next step.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 3, 2012
My house is on the market but has not sold because it needs alot of updating. The realator has reduced the price and been in touch with the finance company regarding a short sale. So far, I don't believe the mortgage company has said yes or no. I received papers from lawyers and I need to know what to now in keeping with Tennessee laws. I lost my job and had to relocate to another city in Tennessee to work. So I just want to sell. I have missed 5 payments because I can't make payments and pay rent in the city where I work. Do I need a laywer?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 3, 2012
Hello Dorothy,
Have you received any answers to your question yet? I am in the same situation as you and I just want to sell the home. I had to relocate to NC from Alabama because there was no work there and after 16months of unemployment I had no choice. My houise is also listed but I have had no luck selling and if I could afford to pay rent and a mortgage this wouldn't be an issue. My name is Tina by the way. Please let me know if you had any luck at all. my email is
Flag Tue Sep 4, 2012
JoAnn: An attorney can help you if you actually have a defense. In a foreclosure, the only real defense is that you have made the payments the mortgage company claims you have not. A lawyer can provide advice but cannot stop a foreclosure without a valid defense or unless you are filing bankruptcy which will stay the foreclosure (and keep you in the home) until the bankruptcy is discharged (the bankruptcy trustee can and most likely will deal with the house as part of the bankruptcy). Your best option of course is to refinance if you are able or try to sell it yourself through a realtor familiar with short sales. Filing an Answer to the foreclosure complaint will only delay the foreclosure maybe another month or two as the mortgage company would then file a Motion for Summary Judgment. If you are able to come up with all the payments that are due (including atty's fees, costs, late fees, etc.) prior to the completion of the foreclosure, you will be able to save your home. Note also that the mortgage company can come after you for any deficiency amount after the house is foreclosed upon and sold at Sheriff's Sale. (Again, a good reason to speak with a bankruptcy attorney). With a short sale, the bank agrees to accept the contracted amount for the house that the buyer is willing to pay and thanks to some recent IRS changes, you won't have to claim the "forgiven" amount as income on your tax return.
*not to be construed as legal advice.
Debbie Leo
Keller Williams Town & Country Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 11, 2008

First off be careful not to get tied up with anyone who promises they can help you for an upfront fee or those that want you to sign your deed over to them.

Is the home currently listed on the market as a short sale? If not it should be, some banks will not work anything out if it’s not exposed on the MLS.

Is this a primary or investment home?

Have you tried to work this out with the bank?

Have you tried Hope Now?

Can you refinance?

The attorney call will need to be your judgment, I have heard at times they can prolong it but again I feel it must be listed to sell.

I’ve just recently helped two short sellers to find nice homes to rent. One is for three years with a possible lease to buy after the first year with seller financing.

Good luck,

Dave Lowe

Dave Lowe's advice is an opinon based on the facts given, Buyer & Seller will hold Dave Lowe harmless.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 5, 2008

You do not NEED an attorney however, it would be extremely wise to at least consult with one.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 5, 2008
Hello Joann,

I am sorry to hear of your situation.
Have you already been speaking with the bank with what is going on with you?
If so, then I would definitely get a lawyer to discuss your options.

Good Luck to you.

Jacqueline Fortier
Cinderella Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 4, 2008
Call the the Florida Bar for "free" foreclosure advice from an attorney asap!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 2, 2008

Firstly, I would like to thank you for using this forum as an avenue to find answers for your situation. I think this is an extremely beneficial website for buyers, sellers, and professionals alike!

The foreclosure papers, that have been served to you, are of a legal nature. They are the instrument that begins a legal proceeding against your property. In my opinion, it is never a bad idea to seek legal counsel that represents you, and can give you proper guidance.

If you would like a referral, or if I may help you get started in the right direction with solid options, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Brian Russell
"Uncompromising Excellence in Service"
Keller Williams South Tampa
(813) 875-3700 ext 288
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 2, 2008
Technically, not. It may be best to have an attorney answer- and get it done properly. A good lawyer can help buy time and possibly get things sorted out to avoid eviction. Loan modification, short-sale, deed in lieu of foreclosure and just some of the options.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 2, 2008
In reality, only a lawyer can answer that. Are you the owner or a tenant of the property? If you are the owner, I would presume that you are at least 3 months behind, have you considered selling, renting or refinancing it? I can probably help you with all of these options, even if you have no equity in the home. Let me know some more details and we will go from there. Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 2, 2008
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