Understanding Florida’s Foreclosure Process

Next to worrying about losing your home, one of the most stressful parts of foreclosure is trying to understand the foreclosure process itself. At The Andres Lopez Law Firm, we explain the home foreclosure process in Florida, step by step, to our clients in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Many homeowners have valid defenses against foreclosure, but the homeowner must act diligently to raise those defenses before it is too late. The longer one waits, the harder it becomes to defend a foreclosure.


Foreclosure is a lawsuit brought by a lender against a homeowner based on the homeowner’s failure to pay the mortgage. The lender cannot sell the property until the court enters a judgment in the lender’s favor giving the lender the right to conduct the sale. Some important things to know about the foreclosure process are:

Service stage

  • Once the bank files the foreclosure lawsuit, it must serve the homeowner with the foreclosure complaint and the mortgage documents. Generally, a process server will deliver the documents to the homeowner.
  • Once the homeowner is served, the homeowner must file a response to the complaint in court within 20 days of receiving those documents. If the homeowner fails to respond within that time, the bank can seek and obtain a default judgment against the homeowner, giving the lender the right to sell the property. This makes it more difficult for the homeowner to raise defenses against the foreclosure, regardless of how valid those defenses may be.

The most important thing to know about foreclosure is that you must act fast. Because you only have 20 days to respond to the bank’s complaint, if you are served with foreclosure documents, you should contact an attorney immediately so that you can preserve your defenses.

Discovery stage

  • During this stage, the homeowner can obtain crucial information from the bank and determine what evidence the bank has to support its claim.
  • This allows the homeowner to confirm whether the amount allegedly owed is correct.
  • It also allows the homeowner to determine whether the lender has the necessary documents giving the bank the legal right to initiate the foreclosure.

Summary judgment stage

  • Eventually, the bank will file a motion for summary judgment and the court will hold a hearing on the motion. At this stage, the bank must present evidence showing that they are entitled to a judgment in its favor as a matter of law. If you do not act and defend against such motion, the court will likely grant the bank’s motion and enter a judgment against you.
  • If their motion is denied, your case will go to trial and the lender will have to produce evidence supporting its claim. The homeowner will have the right to present his or her evidence related to any defenses.
  • Most cases do not reach a trial. If the homeowner has a valid defense, the case may be settled to avoid the foreclosure.


To arrange a consultation with a knowledgeable foreclosure defense lawyer, contact The Andres Lopez Law Firm today at 954-237-8138 or fill our online form. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request. Se habla español.

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