According to a recent report by RealtyTrac – a real-estate research organization – Florida led the nation in foreclosures during the third quarter of 2012. The increase in Florida foreclosures is especially concerning given the fragile state of the current economy.
According to the report, Florida had one foreclosure filing for every 117 homes during the most recently completed quarter. Interestingly, even though foreclosures dropped nationwide by 13 percent, Florida experienced a 14 percent increase in foreclosures when compared to the same quarter a year earlier. This recent foreclosure jump represents the first time since 2005 that Florida has led the nation in foreclosures.
In addition, the report indicated that central Florida had a higher foreclosure rate than the state as a whole – with a total of 8,896 foreclosure actions being filed in the third quarter alone.
Several theories have been posited for the recent spike in Florida foreclosure activity, with some experts placing the blame on the hedge funds that have been buying up properties at foreclosure auctions. Because of this, it has been argued that there is more incentive for banks to simply start the foreclosure process in the hopes of a hedge fund buying the property as opposed to marketing the properties as a short sale.
Options Available to Florida Homeowner Going Through Foreclosure
First and foremost, it is important for all Florida homeowners facing foreclosure to review all real-estate and legal documents – perhaps with the assistance of an attorney – as errors are more common than a person may think. For instance, inadequate documentation was at the center of the “robo-signing” dispute that settled earlier this year.
The robo-signing scandal came to light when it was alleged that bank employees were signing factual court affidavits – which are required in many states during judicial foreclosure proceedings – even though the bank employees actually had no personal knowledge of the facts. Ultimately, this dispute ended in a nationwide settlement that created various loan modification and reduction programs.
Beyond loan modifications, there are other options available as well, such as bankruptcy. Not only does filing for bankruptcy immediately stop all foreclosure proceedings, but it may give the homeowner time to figure out how they want to proceed.
For example, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow a homeowner to get current on their mortgage payments over a period of time, while a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may discharge various other debts, thus freeing up money to assist in making mortgage payments.
It is important to speak with an experienced foreclosure defense attorney as soon as possible to determine what option will work best for you – after all, the bank foreclosing on your home likely won’t have your best interests at heart.