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Are you worried about foreclosure? You still have options

There are a lot of reasons why people fall behind on their mortgages. Maybe you were in an accident that left you unable to work for a while. Perhaps you got diagnosed with a serious medical condition that required expensive treatment and kept you bedridden. You could have lost your job or had to accept a sudden pay decrease when your company restructured. Whatever the cause, after missing a few mortgage payments, your biggest investment is now in jeopardy.

For most Americans, a house is the most expensive thing they ever buy. Mortgage payments represent a substantial portion of their monthly income, and the equity in their home represents the largest investment of their lives. Even if you've been paying on time for 25 years, once foreclosure proceedings start, you could lose your home and all the money you invested in it, forever.

There are options available to homeowners

You don't have to accept that foreclosure is the only potential outcome once your lender warns you about potential foreclosure proceedings. You have several options available, including redemption, a loan modification or even a trial-based defense against the foreclosure proceedings.

A redemption is when, after a foreclosure has initiated, the homeowner manages to pay the amount in arrears and the remainder of the mortgage in full. This can be difficult for some, but for those close to the end of their mortgage, it may be possible. Borrowing from family members and friends to retain your home or selling other assets to pay it off is obviously a better idea than walking away from years, even decades, of equity.

Loan modifications are also possible, if your lender is willing to work with you. Although real estate prices have been on the rise in recent years, that isn't universally true. Some areas are still seeing price depreciation, meaning that homeowners could owe more than the property is worth. Instead of foreclosing, your lender could be willing to work with you to keep you in the home, paying what you are able to.

You can defend against a foreclosure in court

There are important considerations about going to court to defend against foreclosure efforts. First and foremost, you will face only a judge. Florida law does not allow for jury trials when it comes to foreclosure defenses. Florida has a faster foreclosure process than some other states, so you need to begin preparing as soon as possible for your defense.

Has your lender failed to credit payments to your account? Is the amount owed on the documents you were served incorrect? Did you lender fail to properly serve you with notice about the foreclosure? Is the lien secondary to another loan?

Any of these issues could help you defend against a foreclosure. Instead of simply giving up and walking away, you should carefully consider all your options when you're facing a foreclosure.

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