Foreclosures are once again on the rise. According to a report from Bloomberg, the nationwide mortgage foreclosure rate jumped 22% in the first quarter of 2023. Notably, South Florida has a higher foreclosure rate than the national average. Facing foreclosure on your home is stressful, frustrating, and intimidating. The good news is that you are not without options. 

Every homeowner in Florida has a right to defend their property against a foreclosure. A number of different foreclosure defense strategies are available—you need to be ready to explore every available option. In this article, our Coral Gables foreclosure defense lawyer provides an in depth guide to the strategies that you can use to defend your home in Florida. 

You Have the Right to Defend Your Home Against Foreclosure: An Overview of Florida Law

As a starting point, homeowners should have an understanding of how the foreclosure process works in Florida. While there are some federal mortgage regulations in place, there are also significant state-to-state variations in foreclosure laws. Here is a list of some of the most important things that financially-distressed homeowners need to know about Florida’s foreclosure laws: 

  • Federal Law Generally Sets a 120-Day Timeline: Federal law sets the general timeline for most residential mortgage foreclosures in Florida. With few exceptions, there is a 120-day timeline before a lender can initiate foreclosure. The clock starts after the first missed mortgage payment. The 120-day period is designed to grant financially distressed homeowners ample time to resolve their issues or explore alternatives to avoid foreclosure, 
  • Homeowners Should Receive Proper Notices:  In Florida, homeowners must receive proper notices throughout the foreclosure process. The lender must send a Notice of Default (NOD) and a Notice of Acceleration, which outline the homeowner’s rights and the amount owed. Later in the process, the lender must provide Notice of Foreclosure Sale, stating the date and location of the foreclosure auction, giving homeowners a chance to take action. 
  • Florida is a Judicial Foreclosure State: Florida follows a judicial foreclosure process, which means that lenders must file a lawsuit in court to initiate foreclosure proceedings. Once the lender obtains a final judgment, a foreclosure sale can be scheduled. Not all U.S. states are judicial foreclosure jurisdictions. As a general rule, the foreclosure process takes longer in states that require judicial foreclosure. 
  • Florida Allows Deficiency Judgments: All homeowners navigating the foreclosure process should understand that Florida is one of the state’s that allows lenders to pursue deficiency judgments. After a foreclosure sale in Florida, the lender can seek a deficiency judgment against the homeowner if the proceeds from the sale are insufficient to cover the outstanding mortgage balance.

Understanding the Most Common Foreclosure Defense Strategies

Foreclosure Defense Strategy #1: Go After the Validity of the Mortgage or Conduct of Lender

Challenging the validity of the mortgage or the conduct of the lender is a common foreclosure defense strategy. Homeowners can scrutinize the loan documents for any errors, any material misrepresentations, or any type of fraudulent or otherwise legally improper practices by the original lender, a mortgage servicer, or the company that currently owns the mortgage. 

All homeowners should be ready to work with an experienced South Florida foreclosure defense lawyer who can thoroughly investigate whether the lender followed proper procedures and complied with all relevant state and federal laws during the loan origination, loan servicing, and the foreclosure process itself. 

If any violations or discrepancies are discovered, you may be able to defend your home against a foreclosure. These are highly fact-specific legal matters. In some cases, homeowners can use improper conduct on the part of a lender or mortgage servicing company to negotiate an outcome that allows them to save their home. In other cases, the company initiating the foreclosure may not even actually be the rightful owner of the loan. 

Foreclosure Defense Strategy #2: Explore Options for a Loan Modification 

Another foreclosure defense strategy is to explore options for a loan modification. A loan modification involves changing the terms of the mortgage, such as reducing the interest rate, extending the loan term, or adding any missed payments to the principal balance. It is important to emphasize that loan modifications are not available in every case. That being said, they are always a strategy that should be explored for foreclosure defense. 

A well-tailored loan modification can halt the foreclosure process. It can alter the terms of the loan, make monthly payments more manageable for homeowners, and prevent foreclosure. To qualify for a loan modification, homeowners must demonstrate financial hardship and provide documentation proving their ability to make the new, adjusted payments. Working with a Florida foreclosure defense lawyer is a must. An attorney can improve your chances for getting a modification. 

Foreclosure Defense Strategy #3: Buy Time and File for Bankruptcy Protection

Filing for bankruptcy protection is another foreclosure defense strategy that can help homeowners buy time and possibly save their property. When a homeowner files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is issued, which temporarily halts all collection activities, including foreclosure. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows homeowners to restructure their debts and create a repayment plan to catch up on missed mortgage payments over a period of three to five years. 

Of course, a personal bankruptcy filing is certainly not the right path forward in every situation. Still, it is an approach that may be viable for some homeowners in Florida—especially those who are facing overall financial challenges. A bankruptcy filing could delay the foreclosure process, allow a person to remain in their home, and provide them with an opportunity to reorganize their finances and address their financial challenges. 

Speak to Our Florida Foreclosure Defense Lawyer for Immediate Help 

At Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, our Florida foreclosure defense lawyer is an experienced, effective advocate for homeowners. If you have any specific questions or concerns about foreclosure defense strategies, we can help. Call us at 305-669-5280 or connect with us online to schedule your fully private case review. From our office in Coral Gables, we provide foreclosure defense representation to homeowners in Miami-Dade County and throughout the surrounding area in Southeast Florida. 



A HELOC, also known as a Line of Credit Mortgage or Second Mortgage is often “charged off” or appears on a borrowers credit report as “bad debt” or “charge off”. Often, borrowers wrongly assume that the mortgage is then completely forgiven or written off and not collectible.  This is not necessarily true. Often bad debt gets sold on the market and creditors, debt companies and third parties purchase it at a discount. The mortgage remains on the title to the property and is not satisfied or reflecting a zero balance.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we have over 20 years experience negotiating debt for our clients and have been successful in wiping these HELOC and Lines of Credit Mortgages off or settling them for pennies on the dollar. The most important step and first step is to make sure the debt was transferred to the new owner correctly and that it is in fact collectible. You do not want to settle or work something out on a debt that was never collectible to begin with.

Once we determine it is collectible, then we go to work to have it worked out whether written off or settled for the borrower.

If you have a HELOC or Line of Credit mortgage sitting on your credit report or property, or have been sued in foreclosure recently to collect on the line of credit, call us.

Contact the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA today at (305) 669-5280 to schedule your legal consultation.

The Law Offices of Jacqueline Salcines offers cost effective services designed to meet your individual needs and requirements. For strong legal representation, call us at (305) 669-5280 today! Attorney Jacqueline Salcines  has been handling all types of mortgage, debt settlement and foreclosure  matters for 20 years.

 Main office 305 | 669 | 5280. Or email the attorney directly:


Jacqueline A. Salcines

Jacqueline A. Salcines

TEL. 305 669 5280



Hands - Holding HouseFlorida homeowners facing foreclosures may be able to obtain a 90 day reprieve or stalling on their case due to Hurricane Irma. Florida and Puerto Rico residents in disaster designated areas can obtain what is called or referred to as a “moratorium” on their foreclosure and forbearance on foreclosure proceedings.  However, the 90 day moratorium does not apply to ALL loans or ALL counties.  Certain restrictions for the government assistance apply for example, to FHA insured home mortgages.

Moreover, the county must be designated as eligible  As of the writing of this article, the following counties were eligible: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, Volusia.

If you have a pending foreclosure, foreclosure sale or foreclosure trial, you may be eligible to hire us to file a Motion to have the moratorium stop your case for the 90 days in order for you to recover.

Call us today.

Florida residents may also call their  recovery assistance representatives to see if they are eligible.  This information can be found by visiting and

Also, Florida has two HUD Field Offices:

Jacksonville Office
Charles E. Bennett Federal Building
400 W. Bay Street, Suite 1015
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: (904) 232-2627
Fax: (904) 232-3759
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Miami Office
Brickell Plaza Federal Building
909 SE First Avenue,
Room 500
Miami, FL 33131-3028
Phone: (305)536-4456
Fax: (305) 536-5765
TTY: (305) 536-4743
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday


Call us today for a free no obligation consultation.

Law Offices of Jacqueline Salcines, PA

706 S. Dixie Highway

Second FL

Coral Gables, Florida 33146

Tel.  305  669  5280




If you are the successful bidder at a Florida foreclosure auction and yet, after the issuance of the Certificate of Title, the prior homeowner refuses to leave, then you must move for possession.  This is not a full blown eviction procedure. Rather, you are required to file a Motion for Writ of Possession in order to have the Judge Order the prior owner out.

This also requires a hearing before the Court.  Often, the prior homeowner will show up and complain to the Judge for mercy. The prior homeowner will tell the Judge they were negotiating a loan modification with the bank or “they have nowhere to go”.  While the Courts have mercy and sympathy for these homeowners, truth be told, by the time the property sells at the foreclosure auction, they have already been living on the property, rent and mortgage free, for numerous years. It should not be any surprise that they need to relocate.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA we have been assisting Defendants with their foreclosure defense and third party bidders with obtaining possession of properties rightfully belonging to them, for over 18 years.

The Law Offices of Jacqueline Salcines offers cost effective services designed to meet your individual needs and requirements. For strong legal representation, call us at (305) 669-5280 today! Attorney Jacqueline Salcines  has been handling all types of real estate matters for over 18 years. If you have an issue with a residential lease commercial lease, landlord tenant law, real estate contract, title insurance, tax deeds, quiet title or any real estate issue, contact our probate and real estate attorney!

 Main office 305 | 669 | 5280. Or email the attorney directly:


Jacqueline A. Salcines

Jacqueline A. Salcines

TEL. 305 669 5280




The Florida Legislative Foreclosure Act, while helping the banks out more than the borrowers, did one positive thing.  It limited the time period when a bank can go after a borrower for the balance of the mortgage after the foreclosure.  This is called the deficiency.

The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 has already witnessed the filing of  thousands of lawsuits in Florida against the homeowners to collect these deficiencies after the foreclosure or short sale.  Many, though are past the one year mark and therefore easily dismissed.

Lawsuits filed by Dyck O’Neal are on the rise.  Dyck O’Neal is a third party that has purchased loans or the ability to collect these deficiencies in bulk.  The Dyck O’Neal suits carry larger amounts then HR87 allows them to collect, which is the difference between the amount the property sold for and the fair market value at the time of the sale.

There are many defenses to these lawsuits brought by Dyck O’Neal, and other lenders,  for deficiency balances on the foreclosure.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline Salcines, PA, attorney Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq. is knowledgeable and has experience in defending these suits.  She has been protecting and defending homeowners and borrowers with their mortgage and real estate litigation needs for over 17 years.

Let our knowledge go to work for you in defending these suits.

In fact, class actions have already been filed alleging these suits are unlawful as against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Don’t be victim.

Let us protect your rights.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, the attorney holds a dual degree in Law and Accounting, is a  realtor and has hosted many seminars and lectures on real estate and real estate law. Allow our experience to go to work for you

Call us today.   305.669.5280 Or visit us as  http://WWW.SALCINESLAW.COM

See why our business is built on referrals and for over 17 years, clients keep coming back and referring their family and friends. 



Jacqueline A. Salcines

Jacqueline A. Salcines

TEL. 305 669 5280



If your home sold in foreclosure and after the sale, there are funds left over, you may be entitled to collect those funds.  This is called SURPLUS FUNDS, that is, the winning bidder paid more than the amount of the judgment.  Pursuant to Florida Statutes, the homeowner and borrower is entitled to request the surplus funds which are paid to it by the Clerk of the Court.

There is certain eligibility requirements to make a motion for the surplus funds, including being the homeowner and others.  And the courts generally give it to the first person that makes a bid.  That means that the first person to file a motion and have it heard and granted by the Judge, will be the winning party.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we are keenly aware of the requirements for filing a Motion for Surplus Funds and have represented hundreds of homeowners in foreclosure, including those vying for such funds.

Allow my team of attorneys and accountants to go to work for you to file a Motion for Surplus Funds on your behalf.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, P.A., our lead real estate attorney brings over 15 years experience in the foreclosure, mortgage and real estate field as well as 20 in the accounting field. Ms. Salcines has been helping homeowners in foreclosure for over 10 years and is available by email to answer all your questions and concerns, without ever charging a consultation fee.

Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your purchase or sale. We are here for you!

Main office 305 | 669 | 5280. Or email the attorney directly:


Jacqueline A. Salcines

Jacqueline A. Salcines

TEL. 305 669 5280



Recent months have experienced an avalanche of less than savvy investors entering the foreclosure auction arena to try their luck on bidding on foreclosed properties.  Many of these novice investors believe that they are getting a great deal because they are acquiring properties worth thousands for very little. What they do not realize, is that they are bidding on Homeowner Association and Condominium Association foreclosure liens.  That is, that once they are the successful bidder and pay the fee to the county, the now own the property, often with a first mortgage and accompanying liens.

The Homeowner Association and Condominium Association foreclosure judgment and subsequent successful bid on the auction, does not wipe out first mortgages, second mortgages, or any liens on the property. It merely pays the association the maintenance and assessments the homeowners failed to pay.  And the new Certificate of Title holder is left with a property that they can only rent temporarily until the mortgage company forecloses or obtains a judgment and places at auction as well..


There are many things investors can do to protect themselves prior to bidding. First and foremost, hire an attorney to run a title search and examination and provide an Owners and Encumbrance letter.  This typically costs between $150.00 to $200.00 and results in peace of mind.  Knowing whether bidding is smart or not.


Even if you bid and were the successful bidder and now acquired the property without examining title, there is still Hope.  At the Law Offices of Jacqueline Salcines, PA we have helped hundreds of third party bidders negotiate the title back to the prior owner, and recuperate what they paid at the auction.   Or, in the alternative, you may be able to negotiate with the private lender or bank to settle the mortgage amounts and remove the mortgage from the title.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, the firms’ lead attorney, Jacqueline A. Salcines, Esq.,  brings extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of negotiating and settling debt for pennies on the dollar.   We employ market knowledge, extensive litigation experience,  contract and statutory knowledge, and take proactive and calculated measures to protect our clients. Our knowhow in debt settlement and oral and written contracts as well as negotiating them when they don’t go as planned, is what sets us apart.

With prompt intervention to resolve disputes amicably, without the need to litigate,  we are here to get debt settled, without the necessity of filing for bankruptcy.

With more than 16 years experience,  attorney Jacqueline Salcines has been practicing law with the need of her clients first.  Upon calling the firm you get the feel of how the client is our first priority.  We are here to help you with your purchase or sale and do so with hands-on legal experience.

Jacqueline Salcines, Esq. has been an accountant for over 20 years and an attorney for over 15  years.  She brings her knowledge and experience to every real estate transaction.  Let us go to work for  you!

Main office 305 | 669 | 5280. Or email the attorney directly:


Jacqueline A. Salcines

Jacqueline A. Salcines


TEL. 305 669 5280


HELOC loans, or Home Equity Lines of Credit, are great loans for helping with closing costs at the time of purchase, or for helping pay for vehicles, or house repairs, or any emergency.  However, when the balance of your first mortgage exceeds the fair market value of your home, or the first and HELOC added together total more than your home is worth, HELOC’s become not so fun and endearing.  In fact, many homeowners want to knock themselves over the head for taking them out and now having to be stuck in an underwater property.

But, what many borrowers do not know if the hidden secret behind HELOC’s and the lenders who hold them.

At the beginning the HELOC’s have very low interest rates, or are interest only, causing only a $200 or $250.00 dent in the borrowers pocketbook. But as the amortizing HELOC’s now reach maturity or rate adjustments, homeowners are finding themselves unable to make the payments.

That’s where we come in.


If the home is upside down, meaning you owe more than its worth (with both mortgages added together), the majority of lenders will not foreclose or even attempt collection efforts, since they know they are in second position of priority.   Therefore, the solution here is settlement.  Not modification.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline Salcines, PA, we handle hundreds of these second HELOC mortgage negotiations and have experience in settling them. By first ordering the appraisal and a payoff of the first mortgage, we know how to approach the lender to make a case for 100% settlement and write off of the HELOC loan.  Often lenders have faulty assignments, have lost notes, and the debt is uncollectable merely because they don’t have the documents to pursue the foreclosure collection in court.   When these scenarios arise, the majority of the lenders will agree to this position and sign a Satisfaction of Mortgage and release of the lien.


If not agreeable, then they may still settle for pennies on the dollar, again not a modification!  A loan settlement means that they may agree to accept $1,500.00 or $2,000.00 on a loan of $150,000.00 or $200,000 (10 percent to the total debt owed)  And the remainder is not paid in installments. Rather, it is completely erased and forgiven.  So the only remaining loan on the property is the first mortgage.

At the Law Offices of Jacqueline A. Salcines, PA, we have extensive, over 25 combined years experience in navigating through mortgage, real estate and debt settlement law to get the possible results for our clients.  HELOC loans can be troublesome.  But we can help you navigate through the maze of homeownership and HELOC’s.  Knowing  the type of loan settlement you can qualify for and whether the servicer participates is our job.

Allow us to put our knowledge and expertise to work for you.  The first consultation is always free of charge and can determine, after careful examination of the above details, provide options available to you.   Call today.







TEL: 305 669.5280

Direct email:

Distressed Properties “With great power comes great responsibility” ~Peter Parker’s (Spiderman) Grandfather … Yes I have kids!

I’d like to rephrase that to: “With great value comes great responsibility and the good kind of risk”

So many properties coming on the market today are distressed properties, foreclosed, at massive discounts to market, selling “as is” and often times in questionable condition. defines “distressed property” as:

Property that is under a foreclosure order or is advertised for sale by its mortgagee. Distressed properties usually fetch a price that is below market value.

Read more:

The opportunities are obvious, and sure, you can buy a properties for pennies on the dollar “as is” but here are some points to consider:

  • the worse the condition the harder it is to assess value
  • the more the costs of improvement
  • the longer the time to either rent or re-sell
  • Value not subject to local comparables
  • Not finding a bank to finance the sale because of the condition

On this last bullet it’s necessary to point out that  Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently developed a classification system for housing condition ranging from C1 (the best) to C6 (the worst), but only C6 is unacceptable to the agencies in “as is” condition. Nonetheless, many lenders require a C4 or better.

But what should your purchase strategy for distressed properties be?

Here are a few interesting items to consider:

  • An inspection report from a licensed expert will help in the decision as to whether to buy the house but will not eliminate uncertainty regarding how an appraiser will classify the condition of the house. If the house is classified C5 or C6, a loan may not be available.
  • If the sales contract has a mortgage contingency clause, which is a standard provision in some states, the buyer who can’t get a mortgage because the property is classified C6 or C5 will get his earnest deposit back and the deal is canceled. However, the thwarted buyer will not be reimbursed for the cost of the inspection or the appraisal, which might total about $700.
  • If a property is being sold “as is” and the standard sales contract does not have a mortgage contingency clause, I would pass unless the seller agreed to return my earnest deposit if the property is classified C6 by the appraiser. You could be more conservative and require the return of the deposit with a C5, which would avoid a mortgage problem because most lenders will accept a C4 or better, but it may substantially reduce the number of sellers who will deal with you.
  • While accepting a C5 will give you access to more houses, you must find one or more lenders who will accept a C5. You would be well advised to do this in advance of purchase.

Read more: Buying Distressed Properties: A Guide To Opportunities and Hazards |® Blogs

As with all investment categories and types, there are always elements of risk at hand, real estate is no different. We’ve all been able to witness first hand what a downturn in a particular sector of a market can do.

But fear of risk itself should never be a reason to avoid good buying or selling opportunities when it comes to Real Estate, and education and research is the cure for doubt, what’s left after that is just indecision. I wonder if there is a cure for that?