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How do I find out if a house in the neighborhood is in mortgage foreclosure?

Foreclosures are not listed by the address. You may contact the Property Appraiser's office with the address to determine the owner's name. On the Clerk's website do a courts record search to determine if a foreclosure case has been filed.

What is foreclosure?

When property is mortgaged, the property is transferred to a creditor to be used as secured collateral on a loan. The individual exchanging the property for the loan becomes the mortgagor, and the creditor acquiring the property title becomes the mortgagee.

If the mortgagor defaults on the loan payments associated with the mortgage, the creditors can take legal action to enforce a mortgage against the property and prevent the mortgagor from keeping the property. This type of legal action is referred to as foreclosure.

Where do I file a foreclosure action?

Foreclosure actions may be filed at the Clerk of Courts office located in the Courthouse, at 1 Courthouse Circle, FL 32344

All mortgage foreclosure files are public record and can be viewed at the Courthouse or the Clerk’s website.

What happens in foreclosure proceedings?

If the Court finds that the mortgagor is in default of the mortgage payments, a final judgment will be issued in favor of the creditor. The final judgment sets forth the costs due to the plaintiff, such as principal charges, interest, costs of the suit, and attorney fees.

In addition to the assessment of costs, the final judgment will list instructions for the sale of the mortgaged property at a public auction. The instructions will include a description of the property to be sold; the time, place, and date of the sale; the amount due on the mortgage; and instructions to the Clerk's Office regarding distribution of the proceeds of the sale if someone other than the creditor is the successful bidder.

What is done prior to the foreclosure sale?

The original final judgment is filed and recorded with the Clerk's Office. Simultaneously with filing the final judgment, or shortly thereafter, the plaintiff must provide a Notice of Sale for issuance by the Clerk's Office.

A copy of the notice must be advertised in a local newspaper authorized by law to accept legal notices. The advertisement must be published once a week for 2 consecutive weeks, and the second publication must be at least 5 days before the sale date. Before the foreclosure sale occurs, the plaintiff must file with the Clerk's Office an Affidavit of Publisher which proves the sale has been properly advertised.

How do I find out about mortgage foreclosure sales?

You may view the list of cases for the Mortgage Foreclosure sale in the Circuit Civil Division of the Courthouse or click the link at the top of this page for a complete list of sales.

Once you have found a property that you are interested in, it is very important that a title search is obtained on the property. All properties sold at a mortgage foreclosure sale qualify under "buyer beware".

May a person who is not involved in the foreclosure lawsuit bid on the property?

Yes and this person is often referred to as a “third party bidder”.

When and where are mortgage foreclosure sales held, and how are they conducted?

Mortgage foreclosure sales are conducted by the Clerk’s Office according to Section 45.031, Florida Statutes, and are held at 11:00 am on Thursdays. The sales are normally held at the North Door of the Courthouse.

Prior to the bidding, the deputy clerk conducting the sale will read an announcement informing potential buyers of their rights and responsibilities under Florida law. A description of the property is not read. Potential buyers take the property as is, subject to any defects, liens, encumbrances, and all matters of which the buyer had notice or could have obtained knowledge.

If the plaintiff is the successful bidder, no funds are deposited with the Clerk, unless  the bid is above the amount of indebtedness. However, if a party other than the plaintiff is the successful bidder, an immediate deposit of 5% of the bid along with the Court Registry Fee is required. The balance of the bid, and court registry fees (3% on the first $500.00 and 1.5% on the balance), must be received by 4:00 pm on the date of the sale. Payment must be in the form of cash, certified check, cashiers check or credit card (additional fees will apply). No personal check or promissory notes will be accepted. If the balance in full is not paid by 4:00 pm on the date of the sale the property will be resold.

If the balance is not paid by the deadline, the sale will be declared void and a resale will be scheduled. The bidders deposit is nonrefundable and will be used to pay for the costs of the resale. Any amount remaining will be applied towards the final judgment.

A $70.00 sale fee is required by Florida Statutes before the sale can be conducted.

How do I cancel a sale or what if the party has filed a suggestion of bankruptcy?

A written motion for cancellation from the plaintiff and an order of cancellation from the judge must be filed with the clerk prior to the sale. If there is a suggestion of bankruptcy, a written notice must be filed with the Clerk for the sale to be cancelled. This cannot be verbal.

Can anyone make an objection to the sale?

An objection to the sale may be filed within 10 days after the filing of the Certificate of Sale. This will stop issuance of the Title until the Court has a hearing and makes a decision on the objection.

When is the Certificate of Title issued?

If no objections are filed within 10 days of the sale, the Clerk’s Office will issue the Certificate of Title. However, if the 10th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the title will be issued on Tuesday; if Monday is a holiday, the title will be issued on Wednesday. The Certificate of Title will remain unrecorded until the document stamps ($.70 per $100.00) are paid.

Do I get a clear Title?

The Clerk’s Office does not guarantee a clear title and is not responsible for any encumbrances on the property after the property is purchased at the auction. It is in your best interest to research the property for sale or hire some to do the research for you.