I was served with my pending foreclosure lawsuit today in Miami and have 20 days to respond…

In real estate on November 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I was served with my pending foreclosure lawsuit today in Miami and have 20 days to respond… I cannot afford this house so if I hire an attorney will they be able to delay my foreclosure by any real period of time? Also, will they be able to stop the bank from suing me for the deficiency amount after bank sale as well as back taxes?

This is sadly, only one of the so many questions homeowners facing foreclosure face, every day.

Although there can be many answers, the most critical thing someone facing this awful reality is to GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.

I’ve been through this and can speak from experience. The real answer is that, it’s not that simple and yet…not that complicated either.

Some things like, what your lender will do with the "shortage" (the amount you aren’t able to pay after the property is sold to cover the balance due on the mortgage note), is really up to them. They seek a deficiency or issue a 1099 so you then must report that shortage as income (AKA: phantom income – see & consult your tax professional to see how this may affect you. The IRS provides for insolvency and it is possible you owe little or no tax as a consequence.

Again…seek PROFESSIONAL help – not from your hair dresser who does taxes once a year during tax season – no offense to these folk but this may require a bit more specialized attention from a professional who does this all day, full time).

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is another way people seek to defend and delay foreclosure. Like modification, this only works if you can afford the payments set in the payment plan (just like modification – you must qualify and adhere to a payment plan). If you fail to make a scheduled payment while in bankruptcy….the buzzer sounds and all clocks start again. There MAY be a ‘2nd chance’ for you and should contact a competent bankruptcy attorney to get more as it relates to YOUR situation.

If your financial situation is such that you are coming to the hard-choice realization that you cannot actually afford your place…you should be looking to get your property listed and GET IT SOLD with a professional Realtor (remember, not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors who adhere to a strict Code of Ethics), and preferably, one with additional training and experience in handling what you are likely to need then….a Short Sale. Visit to find a qualified agent near you. Like with every other professional, interview a few and choose one FAST.

Miami-Dade county’s website offers great resources of information found at

Remember to also thoroughly browse through the CDPE website. They also have a lot of great information and links to local professionals (with over 28,000 CDPE’s nationwide, this is the largest professional designation by far and a competent member is surely near you).

Also try Legal Services of Greater Miami at
IRS to read about Mortgage Debt Forgiveness at,,id=179414,00.html
US Foreclosure Law:
Tests for the federal program Making Home Affordable: and for consumer protection information

Finally…please note that about 7 out of 10 people who lose their home to foreclosure, typically do so because they don’t seek professional help. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

Short Sale is a dignified way out of this predicament and will typically allow you to rebuild credit and in as few as 2 or 3 years and, if you so desire, even provide you the ability to can buy again then, with financing.

After a foreclosure, it takes years for the mark to be erased (unlike a short sale), PLUS, it may affect your ability to keep a job, enter into a better paying job, and/or all activities involving credit such as getting a new credit card, keeping those you still have at decent rates, financing a car and even qualifying to rent somewhere.

In addition, foreclosure will require you to answer "yes" in any application that asks if you’ve ever been in foreclosed on. With all the help today, any lender will likely wonder why you allowed the situation to get so grave as to lose your home to foreclosure, rather than participate in a short sale.

Do what you can…get help…and ACT FAST. You don’t have much time left. Failing a bankruptcy plan will typically put you right back at the very stage you were in before the bankruptcy was accepted by the judge. If you were within weeks or days of foreclosure, the lender will seek as remedy that they are allowed to immediately proceed and THEY WILL.

I went through this once. I was allowed an extension and was provided the ability to sell by the judge doing what I mentioned above – I wrote, documented how I was intending to cure, requested a hearing and was granted a stay and extension that allowed me to find a buyer and move on with my life with my head up high AND YOU CAN TOO.

All the best and remember…Luck, Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity. Get ready, GET HELP and make your own luck.

Finally, contact me for any questions at any time.

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