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The foreclosure process will vary in each State depending on whether you are in a Mortgage State or Deed of Trust State. Most mortgage states use the judicial process, while most deed of trust states use the power of sale process. For this purpose we are focusing on Florida, which is a judicial state.


Judicial Foreclosure


The first step of the foreclosure process begins with the non-payment of the mortgage/lien by the property owner. Banks/lien holders vary on the amount of time they will allow to pass before they begin the foreclosure process. As a general rule this period is usually 90 days in default. Once they do, it proceeds as follows:


1.    A "Lis Pendens" is filed on behalf of the Plaintiff. A Lis Pendens is a notice of pending litigation. Anyone who acquires an interest in the property is subject to the result of litigation. The Plaintiff is the party filing the Lawsuit. If other parties have a claim against the property, they can join the lawsuit. (See example A).


2.    Service of process is initiated on behalf of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff(s) can either hire an Attorney to represent them or can file pro se.


3.    Defendants are the homeowners and anyone else who holds an interest in the property. A Process Server hired by the Plaintiff's attorney will serve the homeowner at the property. If the Defendants are unable to be served personally, then the Plaintiff must place an ad in a newspaper circulating in the County in which the property is located. This is called constructive notice. They will receive the Complaint, Lis Pendens and a copy of the mortgage instrument.


4.    Defendants have 20 days to answer the Complaint. An answer is a response to the Complaint filed by the Defendants, which admits or denies the allegations contained in the Complaint. If the Defendants file an answer, the judge will set a hearing date, at which time the Defendants must defend the foreclosure.


5.    Defendants must either send their response by certified mail with return receipt requested to the County Courthouse and the Plaintiff's attorney or take the response personally to the Courthouse with an extra copy which the Clerk will stamp with a date and time of receipt. The Clerk will keep the original and place it in the Defendants file. The other copy should be faxed to the Plaintiff's attorney's office. Defendants should keep any receipts as evidence that the reply was mailed.


6.    If no answer is filed within the required time, the Plaintiff may move for a default. This may accelerate the foreclosure process in that the Plaintiff can move for a Summary Final Judgment.


7.    At the hearing on a motion for summary final judgment, if the court grants the motion, a summary final judgment is entered and a sale date is set. The summary final judgment indicates the sale date and the judgment amount.


8.    Defendants should be encouraged to respond to the Complaint and also attend the Summary Final Judgment hearing. If the Defendants attend the hearing they will be allowed to plead their case to the judge and ask for more time to resolve the foreclosure. They should tell the judge and the Plaintiff's attorney what they are doing to get the house sold and ask for a minimum of 90 days. In most cases the judge gives 60 days with the Plaintiff's attorney in agreement. If a homeowner does not show up at the hearing the sale date will be set approximately 30 days from the hearing date.




9.    The property is sold for cash to the highest bidder on the sale date at the courthouse auction. If no one bids on the property it goes back to the Plaintiff and now becomes an R.E.O. property or Real Estate Owned by the Plaintiff.


10.                       The clerk of the court will issue a Certificate of Title to the new owner of the property approximately 10 days following the sale.


After the foreclosure sale the homeowner must vacate the property. Timeframes vary from lender to lender but usually the homeowner should vacate within 10 days of the foreclosure sale.

Comments (16)


I am a renter caught in the middle of all this, how can I find out when these dates are set for the court, so I can know when I need to move...(yet again)? I know the Motion for Summary Final Judgement of Foreclosure has been can I know when that court date is? I tried looking for an online docket, but there is none available. Please help!! Thanx!!

Feb 16, 2008 10:19 AM
I am going thru this process now, I have received my notice of hearing, but have not recieved a copy of the motion for summary final judement. Looking at the court docket this has not been filed as of yet - my hearing is in a week, should I not have recived any info on the total amount that is owed or the figures that will be included in the final judgment?
Apr 11, 2008 01:28 AM

I received a Lis Pendens complaint regarding foreclosure of the note and mortgage. I wish to admit to the complaint. Is there a template or standard response that I can use to send my response?

Aug 23, 2008 05:01 AM

I recieved my Notice of Hearing for the Motion for Summary Judgement of Foreclosure, today for in Dec. Does anyone know what that means, will I have 30 days to get out from the court date? I would like to know more about what to expect at the hearing, it's only scheduled for 5 mintues, how can this be descided upon in 5 mins?????

Oct 10, 2008 10:52 AM

i received my motion for summary final judgment of foreclosure on the 12th of november 2008.  what can i expect after this.  does any one know how long it takes and also my landlord has 14 homes and 14 evictions all in the same county of Charlotte.  He denies its him and its his business partnet. 

Nov 17, 2008 03:23 AM
Mark Sullivan

I am one of many facing foreclosure in Florida- I have to say that I am most discusted in the lack of human in ALL these greedy attorneys- I see when I search on the "entire web" they have gone out of the way like an unspoken pact among them to NOT have any copies of a general response letter. I see where desperate people have asked on atty websites and there are 19 responses from atty's saying that they should hire an atty or why don't they hire an atty.  Maybe "folks" can't hire an atty because their family will have  to not eat or they will get a utility shut off. What part of "depression" do they not get?  I/ among others have been swindled in this state by EVERYONE- TAXES-INSURANCE- NO JOBS- I lost 60% of value in  my home and owe 80K more than what its worth. - WHAT THE &&^%%$????? 

Jan 26, 2009 02:05 AM

I am in the same boat as the first guy - a renter stuck in the middle with no info, no dates, no idea of when I will need to vacate.  Can someone give some perspective? Thanks!

Feb 16, 2009 09:46 AM

I am like alot of people am in default, by no fault of my own. I lost my job in April of 08 and managed to pay my motgage up until Nov, before running out of money. Now my husband lost his job in March of 09. I have been told my my mortgage comapny that i do not qualify for any of there remodification programs or any of Obama's programs because my husband and I can't find jobs. It is going out to an attorney on May 26.  Does that mean I have to go to court immediatly i have heard of people in Lee county that have waited almost 2 yrs before getting a court date.

May 05, 2009 02:17 AM
Dianna Hobson

You can download several short sale forms from our web-site under downloads. How long you can stay in the house will depend upon several factors, including the bank, the county and state,  and if you chose to hire a good local attorney.

May 05, 2009 10:07 PM

What happens after the home is sold at auction for less than the Summary Final Judgment?  Does the homeowner have to pay back the difference?

Oct 07, 2009 03:59 AM

Where can I get the format to file a response?

Oct 15, 2009 04:11 AM
Kenneth M. Coill

My wife and I live in a monil home park, located in MAATEE COUNTY FL - zip 34203.  We have  had a lien of forclosure placed on our property, we have deeded property.  We have since contested the lien.  Since that time we have received a summons, which we have answered in the required time period.  Other property owners have likewise been served and summary judgements were scheduled and have been postponed.  One of the propery owners has hired a lawyer, he filed two motions and the hearing has been stayed. 

The lien is being placed by The Board of Directors and is only for a small amount of money.  We stopped paying our maintenance fees in June of 2008.  There are many reasons for this being done.  Primaraly the board has overstepped its' authority in many areas, they do as they please, god complex.

The infrastructure is owned by the county, streets etc. and we pay the county for water, sewerage and disposal, this is paid to the county on an individual basis.  We have noyified our mortgage holder of the situation.

If I am correct there can be no dispute for a summary judgement to be finalized. Is this correct?

Currently there are two cases pending;

     One in the court of appeals and the other in the 12th judicial circuit court.

          Both of these cases were initiated by Mr. James A Peronti.

A hearing is presently scheduled at the state court of appeals for February 26th. 2010.  Where oral arguments will be heard.

We do not posess the funds to hire an atorney, and it would cost more than the lien.  The Board of Directors is usin our monies to sue us!!!


Feb 04, 2010 06:09 PM

Interesting to read these posts. Where is the personal responsibility. I don't have answers because I waited until I could afford housing in a reasonable market (telling the bank "no" to the 100 percent mortgage offer). Many people refinanced to get equity during the boom. Where did all that money go? Credit is equal to honor, or it should be.

Mar 14, 2011 02:02 PM

"Credit is equal to honor" Really!!! That is the most dishonorable thing I have ever heard... Credit is dishonor for it never satisfies an equitable exchange hence DISHONOR.  "or it should be" is a better arguement but still void of dishonor. YOU are so wrong here buddy. Learn the real facts before you go on explaining the pretense of honor/dishonor. Acceptence is honor with only remedy, it's due course. If only you knew how money is created by one's promise (debt) and that all money equals debt. You wouldn't be talking such nonsense!

Jun 22, 2012 04:12 PM
Leonard Davis

My Foreclosure started Dec 2006 can some tell me how many days the bank/ATTORNEY has to do summary judgement

for the start of the foreclosure. I think they waited too long.


Leonardsilver wiytiz

Aug 13, 2012 09:53 AM
marlene r

both myself and my family are renters in miami florida, and the rented property has a final summary judgement hearing 1/15/13 we are currently still paying rent we will be attending the hearing this tuesday

my husband ask the landlord for a lease and he said he could not give that to us . What is our right in this situation?



Jan 12, 2013 10:21 AM