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When meeting with clients to discuss how they can avoid foreclosure

When meeting with clients to discuss how they can avoid foreclosure, inevitably 3 questions will always come up at some point. These are by far the 53most common asked questions regarding foreclosure I hear in case I work. These 3 frequently asked questions (FAQ) regarding foreclosure are the following:

Written by Calisha Francis,

Who is supposed to pay the taxes now that the bank has filed for foreclosure?

Generally, the bank pays the property taxes while the home is in foreclosure. However, if you have been paying and you want to try and keep the home, you can continue to pay. if you do not pay the taxes the bank WILL pay. If you are pursuing an exit strategy to walk away from the property, there is less incentive to pay these bills. If you are seeking a loan modification to keep the property, there is more reason to pay. In Florida, a property owner cannot lose title because of a tax delinquency until 2 years have passed following the failure to pay. Lenders will usually buy a new insurance policy if it lapses and is not renewed and add this cost to the final judgment amount, but homeowners should take care to make sure the policy is replaced to protect their own interests.

Do I need to be present at Trial?

I cannot encourage you one way or another on whether or not you should appear at trial. I can say that I do not call my clients as witnesses. However, if you are present the bank's attorney could possibly call you to testify. You would then be under oath and would be asked about taking out the loan and defaulting on the obligation. Usually, it is easier to win at trial if the homeowner does not take the stand. It's easier to paint a more accurate picture of the complete circumstances surrounding your foreclosure proceedings if the borrower isn't present. However, if you are subpoenaed by the bank's attorney you will have to appear and testify at trial. As we get closer to the trial date, we will contact you and discuss the strategy of fighting vs. consenting.

What is Discovery?

Florida law, like that in most states, has broad discovery rules. Not only must all parties disclose anything relevant to that case, but anything "likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence" should also be provided. These broad discovery rules ensure both sides can litigate fairly, preventing a "trial by sabotage." In every foreclosure case we request production of documents to verify that the bank had the legal standing to begin the foreclosure lawsuit. We request answers to Interrogatories which are questions or direct statements that one party asks of the other and can relate to almost anything in regards to the loan. We also sent out Requests for admissions requiring the bank to admit or deny particular statements. This helps clarify the issues which are being argued in the case and provides a list of facts that the bank and homeowners agree upon that do not have to be decided by the court. The bank typically has 30 days to respond to our discovery request.