Foreclosure Education

Foreclosure FAQs

Foreclosure Education

Because of the complex legal and financial details associated with the foreclosure process, homeowners at risk of foreclosure and those in foreclosure often have many questions. While the FAQs below are not inclusive, they do provide a baseline of information to help you take the first steps in resolving your mortgage issue.

What do I do if I get behind on my payments?

Being proactive is the best approach if the possibility of foreclosure becomes real. If a life change like a job loss or an illness causes you to get behind on mortgage payments, contact your lender immediately. In many cases, lenders are willing work with homeowners who experience a temporary change in income status.

What should I do if I receive letters saying my home is being foreclosed upon?

Do not ignore letters or phone calls from your lender. If you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments, call or write your lender to determine what options are available. Remember, local and state laws determine how much time you have to respond. Don’t wait to take action.

What should I do if I receive a foreclosure notice?

Call your lender immediately to discuss alternatives to foreclosure. If you can afford one, consider contacting an attorney. If you are unable to hire an attorney, some organizations like Legal Aid offer assistance to those who qualify. Visit our Foreclosure Resources page to learn more.

How long does the foreclosure process take?

There is no set period of time to complete a foreclosure. However, there are specific periods of time in which you are required to respond to notices from your lender. In most cases, you have 20 days to respond once you have been served with foreclosure complaint. If possible, consult with an attorney regarding your legal options.

If my foreclosure action goes through, how soon do I have to leave my house?

Generally, you should expect to vacate the property between 30 – 60 days once the foreclosure sale has been confirmed. If this is the case, a HUD-approved housing counselor agency can refer you to community services in your area that may be able to help. Visit our HUD-Approved Housing Counselor section for more information.

What is foreclosure mediation?

Foreclosure mediation brings homeowners and lenders together with a neutral, third-party mediator in an attempt to resolve issues related to a foreclosure action. Through a court order, the Orange County Bar Association is the official provider of foreclosure mediation in Orange County. For more information on foreclosure mediation, visit the Orange County Bar Association website.

I just received a foreclosure notice, should I continue to live in my home?

Yes, if you abandon your home, you may not qualify for assistance from your lender or governmental agency.

Where can I go to find help?

The first step should be to contact your mortgage lender. Once you’ve done that, there are several governmental and non-profit resources that offer home counseling, load modification assistance, money management tools and more. Visit our Foreclosure Resources page for a list of agencies and organizations that may be able to help. 

Do I need a Lawyer?

The foreclosure process can often be complex, involving financial and legal requirements that many homeowners are not experienced in handling. Seeking legal advice in these matters is always a good idea. Once you have contacted your lender, you may feel you need legal representation before making any decisions. If you are unable to afford an attorney, organizations such as the Legal Aid Society offer programs for those who qualify.  Visit our Foreclosure Resources page for more information on pro-bono legal advice.

Are companies that claim they can stop my foreclosure a scam?

Be cautious of any firm that claims it can stop a foreclosure action. The reality is, once a foreclosure action has been initiated, only a legal agreement between you and your lender can halt the process. Many of the foreclosure “experts” who claim to be able to stop a foreclosure charge substantial fees upfront and provide little in the way of foreclosure relief.

For more information on foreclosure scams, visit our Scam Alerts page or the Consumer Protection section of the Florida Attorney General's office website.

How do I know if I qualify for any alternatives to foreclosure?

Your mortgage provider and a HUD-approved housing counselor will be able to determine if you qualify for any of the alternatives. Visit our Foreclosure Resources page for more information on HUD and a HUD-approved housing counselor.