Caroline Secor PA

Foreclosure Attorney Largo

Preventing Foreclosure Process from the Beginning

Homeowners should take all necessary steps to prevent a lender from filing a formal foreclosure action. As might be expected, once the foreclosure action begins, odds increase that the homeowner will ultimately lose their home. Fortunately, several pre-foreclosure strategies can be pursued with lenders to prevent a foreclosure from occurring.

Special Forbearance – Your lender may be able to arrange a repayment plan based on your financial situation and may even provide for a temporary reduction or suspension of your payments. Sometimes, a lender may offer to work out a repayment plan--one that includes your regular monthly payments plus a fraction of what you have missed, until you are all caught up. You may qualify for this if you have recently experienced a reduction in income or an increase in living expenses.

Mortgage Modification – You may be able to refinance the debt and/or extend the term of your mortgage loan. This may help you catch up by reducing the monthly payments to a more affordable level.

Short Sale - If your home is worth less than the amount you owe, you might be a candidate for a short sale. A short sale affects credit, but it's not as bad as a foreclosure. You or your agent will need to negotiate with your lender to find out if the lender will cooperate on a short sale.

FHA Assistance – If you have a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage, your lender may be able to work with you to obtain a one-time payment from the FHA insurance fund to bring your mortgage current.

Steps You Can Take After the Foreclosure Action Begins

After the foreclosure action begins, a homeowner’s options are limited, but there are still things that can be done to save the home or prevent the sale from occurring.

Sell the Home – If there is equity in the home, you may seek to sell the home before the foreclosure sale takes place. To halt the foreclosure action, the sale price must yield the outstanding amount owed on the home, plus all of the fees and costs the lender has incurred thus far in the foreclosure proceeding (i.e. court costs, attorney fees, default interest, etc.). Unfortunately, most homeowners in foreclosure do not have equity in their property, and thus, a sale would come up short paying off the underlying debt.

Contest the Validity of the Default – If you believe that you have made all of your payments on time, and that the default is a mistake, you should retain an attorney to contest the lender’s notice of default and subsequent foreclosure proceeding.
This must be done within the first few weeks of when the property is put in foreclosure.

Sign a Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure - This is called deeding the home back to the lender. The homeowner gives the lender a properly prepared and notarized deed, and the lender forgives the mortgage, effectively canceling the foreclosure action. This would have the affect of minimizing the legal fees and costs the lender would have to incur if it proceeded through the sale date. If you pursue this option, seek to negotiate with the lender that your credit not be negatively affected, as would have been the case if the property were foreclosed upon.

File for Bankruptcy - If all else fails, you may wish to consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In fact, many people file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy specifically to stop foreclosure. In most cases, an automatic stay is entered as soon as a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition is filed. The automatic stay will temporarily stop foreclosure, along with all other collection action, regardless of the stage of the foreclosure proceedings. With the automatic stay in place, the debtor and his attorney have the breathing room to work out a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

In summary, don’t wait until your home is in foreclosure to begin weighing your options. If you are having trouble making your mortgage payments, contact the lender immediately and attempt to negotiate a loan modification or forbearance. If you are uncomfortable doing this on your own, retain an attorney or contact a foreclosure counselor. Once the foreclosure process begins, it may be wise to retain an attorney either to contest the validity of the default or to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

For additional information about preventing a pending foreclosure, contact our office for a free consultation.

Carolyn Secor


The federal government passed new bankruptcy reform legislation in October 2005. However, don't be discouraged! Most studies indicate that the new law affects less than 15% of individuals who could have filed previously. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debts and considering filing bankruptcy, it is highly probable that you fall into the category of the 85 percent of people who are still eligible to file.




"Serving Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough Counties."

Carolyn Secor, Attorney at Law
Bankruptcy Attorney Tampa Bay Florida
Florida Law Firm with Offices in
Clearwater (Main Office) Tampa St. Petersburg Port Richey
Phone:  1-727-254-1704

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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