According to information obtained from the Pinellas County Clerk of Court, there were a total of 1374 foreclosure filings in Pinellas County from June 1, 2009 to July 1, 2009. This staggeringly large number of filings represents a crisis that everyone in Saint Petersburg, Tampa, Gulfport, Tierra Verde and the surrounding communities in Pinellas and Hillsborough County must contend with.
Although firm numbers are difficult to come by it is estimated that more than 80% of homeowners served with foreclosure will not retain an attorney or otherwise defend themselves in foreclosure. Every consumer should hire an attorney who is experienced in foreclosure defense, mortgage modification and general civil litigation to help ensure their rights are protected.
I urge all consumers to aggressively contact their lenders to try and obtain a mortgage modification prior to being served with foreclosure, but the unfortunate reality is that modifications are difficult and very time consuming to obtain. Many consumers receive a mortgage modification package from their lender just before or shortly after they have been served with the foreclosure complaint and are lulled into a false sense of security thinking that the receipt of the mortgage modification package means they do not have to respond to the foreclosure complaint that was served on them.
The unfortunate thing is that even if the lender agrees to a short term modification, the foreclosure case may continue and a foreclosure sale could be set and held shortly after the short term modification period ends. Remember you have only twenty days from the date of receipt of a foreclosure complaint to find an experienced attorney who will file an Answer to the complaint and protect your interests.
The good news for consumers is that an experienced foreclosure defense attorney may be able to raise a wide variety of claims and defenses that will at the very least delay the foreclosure process and could lead to a renegotiation of the mortgage on terms that are more favorable to the homeowner.