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Tricky Business – Fixing Florida’s Foreclosure Process

Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let’s start with what’s broken. It may take years to foreclose on a house in Florida. Years. Far above the national average due to our process. While the years go by the property may languish, HOA fees go unpaid, neighbors pick up the unpaid HOA fees in the short term maybe for the long term and all are left with sometimes unsightly deteriorating and abandoned homes. But hold on, be careful, we do not want to swing the pendulum so hard the other way so a mortgage holder, like a bank, can just throw folks out of their homes. Where do we find a better balance? This is what the Florida legislature is trying to work out.
My view? The legislative process is working pretty well. A legislator drafts a bill, committees debate, the bill is tuned and off it goes to the floor. I would like to see more opportunity for public debate but I guess that is why we elect officials. Anyway more public debate would be good but I really think we need to swing the pendulum back somewhat. The current process is broken.
The Naples News reported yesterday ( “Approval of a Naples lawmaker’s foreclosure bill Monday drew outbursts from a crowd of opponents gathered for a Senate meeting devoted to the legislation, aimed at hastening foreclosure proceedings.The close affirmative from the Senate panel included hesitation from three Republicans, two of whom voted no. One Democrat voted for the measure. The 6-4 vote at its last committee stop sends the Senate version of a bill propelled by state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, to the chamber’s floor.”
There is plenty of opposition from consumer rights groups and I think they make good points but as the Naples News reports “With two weeks left in the session, lawmakers who support the bill say Florida needs it to go through. They say the faster homes are returned to the market, the sooner the state’s economy can recover.”
Don’t get me wrong – I have a lot of sympathy for folks who lose their home, particularly those who did nothing wrong. There are plenty of folks who put 20%+ down, paid their mortgage and have now lost their job and may lose their house. I hate that. What I have little sympathy for are the folks who put 0% down, or borrowed the down payment, may not have had verifiable income and for what ever reason have decided to stop paying their mortgage – even though they are capable of paying. I know of few of these folks personally and I think it is wrong. How do you separate the two? Pretty tough business.
Let’s hope the legislature gets the balance right and we make some real progress. Please tell us your thoughts on this one.

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Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan. Talk to Mark and Nan about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
Mark Goebel, PA
REALTOR Coldwell Banker 5th Avenue South
Mobile: 239.595.3921
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Twitter @mcgoebel
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