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Foreclosure Hits Hard In Florida

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By : Karim El Sheikh    99 or more times read
South Florida is perhaps one of the worst hit areas for foreclosures. With rates topping 50% in the Miami-Dade area, the onslaught of foreclosures has had spiraling effects throughout the entire system. On average, it can take 2 years for the foreclosure process to complete in Florida, while the national average is only 16 months.

There are many issues at hand in the Florida foreclosure crisis. Government agencies are not equipped to handle the significant amount of sales put before them, and the court system has been overwhelmed with the amount of cases being presented. In the early part of 2010, the Miami area had at least 7000 foreclosure hearings scheduled a month, and the numbers continue to grow.

Other problems also lay within the system. Banks have lost mortgage notes and law firms have been found fabricating documents. It seems that each component of the foreclosure process has developed serious problems throughout this crisis and the outlook remains bleak. Because of these many problems in the Florida system it is expected that Florida will take many years longer to recover than other parts of the country.

Lenders have been hit especially hard during the economic meltdown of the last three years. The explosive rate at which loan modifications have been requested and the increasing number of defaults has made it impossible for lenders to keep up. Now lenders are admitting that they cut many corners, bent many rules and, perhaps, even foreclosed on some home owners that may have qualified for a loan modification. Leaders from the banking industry claim that they were ill-equipped to handle so many mortgages failing at once, but have since hired personnel and changed their foreclosure practices.

Florida is one of the states that require a lender to appear before the court before being granted the right to foreclose. The significant amount of foreclosures in Florida has forced the state to bring judges out of retirement and open “make-shift” court rooms in rented retail space to handle the case load.

Counties are generally responsible for holding the foreclosure sales in the state of Florida. Because there have been such a large number of properties being auctioned, a property can take a year before it is available for sale. The Miami Dade area has recently posted their auctions online easing some of the case load. However, county officials are the first to admit that there remains a large back log of properties that need to be sold. This back log damages lenders who cannot collect on the debt or claim possession of the property, and leads to further devaluation of the neighborhood the property is in because it is another vacant home.

The housing and foreclosures problem has led to other problems outside of the real estate industry in Florida. Homes that are significantly decreasing in values in the areas hardest hit by Florida foreclosures are bringing in less property taxes. The home owners appeal to the taxing authority and, after a very long wait, their taxes are reduced to meet the current values. There is a long wait for assessment by the counties to reevaluate the property values. Before the crisis there was not a large demand for this service and staffing was kept to a minimum. Now, with tens of thousands of people requesting this service the wait for appraisal can take over a year.

Charities and other groups offering assistance for home owners are overwhelmed with requests for help. These organizations that once helped a handful of people each month now have waiting lists.

Many home owners that have upside down mortgages are simply letting the mortgage go bad. They have no where to turn for help, and since the process takes so long, they live rent free for almost 2 years. It is a bad situation for all that is involved.

Lenders, real estate agents and even government officials are closely watching for signs of recovery in Florida. Once recovery begins in this area it will be safe to say that recovery is occurring throughout the country. is the top online resource for all real estate investing. Search all foreclosures, preforeclosures, bankruptcies, and rent to own homes.

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