Devoted to providing Central Florida with excellent legal representation.
Valuations and Taxation
Valuation and taxation issues go hand in hand with the ownership of real property. With government entities, municipalities and counties struggling financially, they are turning increasingly to real property owners to improve their tax base.
Sometimes property owners disagree with the assessed value of their property or with the designation of the property’s tax category. These are the types of valuation and taxation issues the DeWitt Law Firm handles.
The DeWitt Law Firm represents property owners facing valuation and/or taxation issues on residential, commercial, and agricultural property. We appear with our clients at valuation and taxation hearings and work with our clients to prepare presentations advocating their positions.
Sherri DeWitt served on the Value Adjustment Board for Orange County, Florida from 2005- 2009. She acted as a hearing officer for the Value Adjustment Board, hearing valuation and taxation issues and making findings and recommendations concerning the matters that were argued before her.
If you have a taxation or valuation issue, please consider letting the DeWitt Law Firm use its experience to help you.
Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that all foreclosures must be processed through the court system.
Notice of Default – This is a written notice from the lender to the mortgage holder. It must contain specific information in order for the lender to proceed with the foreclosure lawsuit. If the lender fails to include the required default language, the foreclosure lawsuit, once it is filed, may be dismissed. If a borrower receives a Notice of Default and does not cure the default; the lender may accelerate the loan and file a lawsuit to foreclose on the mortgage.
Foreclosure Complaint – Once a borrower receives a Complaint, they only have 20 days to respond or a default may be entered against him or her. The Foreclosure Complaint must plead standing, jurisdiction, that the proper notice requirement have been met, and the amount owed. Additionally, the Foreclosure complaint must include a verification clause that is signed by an individual who has actual knowledge regarding your loan.
If you have received a foreclosure Complaint, it is imperative that you respond within 20 days. Failure to do so may result in a default judgment and the bank may be allowed to foreclose on the property.
How long is the average foreclosure process?
The timeframe for a foreclosure action varies dramatically and is difficult to estimate.
Am I required to have an attorney during a foreclosure?
You are not required to hire an attorney to defend a foreclosure action. However, it is advised that once you are served with a foreclosure complaint, you have an experienced foreclosure attorney review your paperwork within 20 days. An attorney’s role in the foreclosure process is a vital one. They will appear on your behalf and defend you throughout the Court proceedings. Additionally, an attorney may be able to work with your lender to determine if there are other options besides foreclosure.
What should I expect from an experienced foreclosure attorney?
From an experienced foreclosure attorney, you can expect:
An understanding of the available defenses available and experience in handling real estate litigation. Many attorneys treat foreclosure cases as if they are not litigation. This is improper. A foreclosure case is litigation and any attorney handling these types of cases should have extensive experience in handling real estate litigation.
A detailed examination of the terms and conditions in your purchase agreement, mortgage, and other documents from your lender.
An understanding of your side of the story: your financial situation, your objectives and your current and future interests in the property.
A detailed analysis of your failure to make the payments. This can include if you recently lost your job, substantial loss of income or serious illness or injury..
A list of viable options to foreclosure that might be in your best interests.
An experience negotiator that is on your side. There is a possibility that an alternative to foreclosure can be found and worked out. There are possible defenses and counterclaims that can be filed on your behalf as well.
What's the biggest mistake made in the foreclosure process?
Many clients come to our office days before their property is to be sold. This not only makes our job as your attorney more difficult, but it limits the defenses available to you. If the Court has already entered a default judgment against the borrower, we must show both a meritorious defense and excusable neglect to have the default set aside. Although this is possible in many instances, it is always better to consult an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. The longer you wait to get an experienced foreclosure attorney on your side, the fewer opportunities your attorney has to help you.