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As soon as you agree to leave your home, you should begin the moving process. Refer Bankruptcy Network.

Divide your possessions into three categories.

  • Stuff you definitely want to keep.
  • Stuff you definitely want to donate or throw away.
  • Stuff you are not so sure.

Every week go through each pile.

  • Stuff you are definitely keeping but not using currently go ahead and pack.
  • Remove the stuff you are not keeping from the home on a weekly basis.
  • Continue sorting through stuff you are unsure of and place in one or the other two piles.

Take the mortgage payment you were paying or anticipated rent payment and place it into a separate bank account.

Check with your attorney because this process is dependent upon local standards.
Save this money for moving as well as deposits for utilities and rent.


Begin to look for a new place to live so you have an idea ahead of time.
Have a backup plan if you need to stay somewhere for a couple of weeks or months before moving into a new place.

Check with your attorney for the local process. I advise my clients to NOT MOVE until the foreclosure has taken place.

Until a foreclosure has taken place you own the property.

This means you are responsible to keep the property in compliance with code regulations.

  • If you have peeling paint or you fail to cut the grass you may be charged with a code violation.
  • If you have moved from the property, you may not receive the code violation.
  • If you do not receive the code violation notification and fail to remedy the violation a court hearing will be issued.
  • If a court hearing is issued and you fail to appear a warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Now you have surrendered the home but wind up in jail because the mortgage company refused or delayed in foreclosing on the property thereby leaving you with the maintenance responsibility.

If you must move from the property, don’t forget to maintain the surrendered property until you have verified the foreclosure.

You can verify by calling the law firm holding the foreclosure sale and request a copy of the trustee’s deed.
So the property has sold and you still have not moved. What is next?

There is a process called Unlawful Detainer. Again the process may vary state to state.

  • Generally, the lender or the new owner will file an action to evict or remove you from the home.
  • This process takes anywhere from 30-60 days.
  • You want to keep in close contact with the law firm handling this action. If the law firm receives an order to evict, the sheriff may throw your “stuff” out on the front lawn.

The best course of action is to either contact your attorney or the law firm handling the action and coordinate a date certain to leave the property.

Also, contact the lender and inquire about a Cash for Keys option.

This is where the lender may pay you to move.

KEEP IN MIND there is no guarantee as to a timeline for the lender to foreclose when you surrender a home. Once you make the decision to surrender a home, begin taking steps to prepare for the move. It is possible for that move to be a smooth process, but, it is going to take work, preparation, and diligence to ensure success.

Carolyn Secor P.A. focuses its practice in the areas of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense in Clearwater, Florida. For more information, go to our web site or call 727-335-7151.