If you are selling your Destin Florida home as a short sale, and get an approval, all is wonderful, right? Not necessarily, especially if there are judgments against you from other creditors filed in the State of Florida. For example, you may owe $25,000 on a charged-off credit card, have a defaulted car loan, small business loan, or a foreclosure from another property. In order to sell your short sale home, you would have to get your creditor to release its lien from the property being sold.
How do you end up with a lien on your Destin property from an unpaid loan, in the first place? According to the website of Jonathan Alper, Florida Attorney who specializes in asset protection, “ In Florida, a judgment creditor files its judgment with the Florida government in Tallahasseee, and that judgment then becomes a lien on all the debtor’s Florida real estate.”
So, what do you do if you have this $25,000 judgment, and it’s getting in the way of closing your Destin short sale? If you cannot come to terms with the creditor, and your property is your homestead, you may be able to use Florida Statute 222.01 to have them remove their lien.
Florida Statute 222.01, Methods of Setting Apart Homesteads and Exemptions says, in summary:
1. You can exempt your homestead property from forced sale by filing a written Notice of Homestead describing the property and recording it in the circuit court.
2. The clerk will mail of copy of your notice to your judgment lienor.
3. The creditor has 45 days to “institute an action for a declaratory judgment to determine the constitutional homestead status of the property described in the notice of homestead or to file an action to foreclose the judgment lien, together with the filing of a lis pendens in the public records of the county in which the homestead is located”. If no action is taken, the judgment will not be considered attached to the homestead property, and the status will remain such for 180 days. So you can complete the sale of your homestead.
If the judgment pertains to taxes, assessments, mortgages on the property itself, mechanics liens, or “other obligations” contracted for the real property, you cannot use this Notice of Homestead to remove the lien.
Florida has a great protection for owners of homestead property. If you are in a short sale situation, and need to apply the Notice of Homestead to remove a judgment, please consult with a Florida attorney and a Destin short sale specialist.
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call toll-free 1-877-487-9639 or local 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: [email protected]