Distressed Florida homeowners may have more power than they realize, as evidenced by a recent report issued by RealtyTrac.
According to the latest figures, more than a quarter of all borrowers whose homes are in foreclosure have positive equity. That means that the borrower owes less on the property than it’s currently worth. An owner in this situation has more options than perhaps they realize. If the borrower with positive equity can’t afford the mortgage, he or she would still have the option of selling the home – avoiding a foreclosure altogether. In the alternative, the home could likely be refinanced, with the homeowner using the equity as leverage in that process. There might also be the possibility of an equity sale of the home.
Miami foreclosure defense lawyers suspect the reason why so many homeowners are forgoing these options is because they don’t realize they are on the table. They don’t know that they have equity. In some situations, they may have already moved out of the property, having been informed by the banks that a foreclosure is all but inevitable.
How could a homeowner not know? Florida has recent home price rebound happened very quickly. We are also notorious for having an especially lengthy foreclosure process in this state. Given this, it’s not unthinkable that a borrower who walked away form a home initially would have in the interim regained a fair amount of equity.
Florida foreclosures in 2007 used to take about 200 days. Now, according to RealtyTrac, they take about 935 days. That’s plenty of time to see significant market fluctuation.
But in failing to revisit the issue with an experienced attorney, they are not aware of their advantage. Some may be so sick of dealing with it that they’d rather not fight the bank.
These folks should consider what a foreclosure can do to one’s credit. Bankrate.com estimates that a foreclosure can cause a person’s credit score to plummet by 30 percent. That’s going to mean it will be tougher to get any kind of new loan or credit, or if you do, it will cost a lot more in interest than you would have paid otherwise. That kind of impact could also affect a person’s ability to land certain types of jobs. Homeowners also may not realize that they could be responsible for taxes on whatever mortgage debt was “forgiven” or not otherwise recovered by the bank.
That makes an investment in an experienced foreclosure defense attorney worthwhile.
Another recent report from RealtyTrac indicates that in South Florida, we have the second-highest foreclosure rate among metro areas in the country during the second quarter of this year. In other words, 1 out of every 106 housing units in the area has a foreclosure filing. That could mean a new filing, a judgment or a repossession.
What’s more, of the 10 worst foreclosure markets in the country, eight of them were metro areas in Florida.
During the first quarter of this year, nearly 24,000 foreclosures occurred in South Florida. That’s up more than 2 percent from the first quarter, but it’s down nearly 25 percent since the first quarter of last year.
If you’re battling foreclosure in Miami or the surrounding areas contact Jacobs Keeley for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (305) 358-7991. Also, don’t miss Miami Foreclosure Attorney Bruce Jacobs on 880AM/the Biz, every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on “Debt Warriors with Bruce Jacobs,” discussing foreclosure topics that matter to YOU.
Quarter of Florida foreclosures have equity, confounding experts, April 18, 2014, By Kim Miller, The Palm Beach Post
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