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Lis Pendens

A lis pendens is the formal notice that starts the foreclosure process. This may refer to any pending lawsuit or to a specific situation with a public notice of litigation that has been recorded in the same location where the title of real property has been recorded. A lis pendens is a written notice that a lawsuit has been filed concerning real estate, involving either the title to the property or a claimed ownership interest in it. This gives notice to the defendant who owns real estate that there is a claim on the property, and the recording informs the general public (and particularly anyone interested in buying or financing the property) that there is this potential claim against it.

What Does a Lis Pendens Mean in the Foreclosure Legal Process?

Lis pendens is one of the legal terms that homeowners in foreclosure often come across. A lis pendens specifically indicates that the property is facing foreclosure and the document will show anyone, such as a title company or prospective foreclosure refinance lender, researching the real estate that it is involved in a lawsuit. Depending on where the property is located, either a lis pendens or notice of default is issued to begin the foreclosure process.

Recording a lis pendens is a warning to the borrower that the ownership of the concerned property may change, in case he fails to pay the required amount to the lender within a 30 days time from the date of filing of lis pendens to put a stop to the entire legal process of Lis pendens. A property is considered to be in pre foreclosure from the day a lis pendens is filed until the day the property is sold at auction. The amount of time between these two dates varies greatly from state-to-state. Even though this is considered a pending lawsuit, the homeowner still has possession and the right to sell or refinance the property. And, it provides an opportunity for homebuyers and investors to make money in the real estate market. It does nothing to prevent the foreclosure, but it does not itself affect the homeowners' ability to save their home.

If a lis pendens is filed with the county recorder against a piece of property, this indicates that the house is already in some stage of the foreclosure process. The homeowners are no longer in the preforeclosure stage, or merely behind in payments. At this point, foreclosure can not prevented, as it is already being pursued by the lender and its attorneys -- it must be stopped, and homeowners need to begin putting together a realistic plan and researching various ways to stop foreclosure, such as a mortgage modification, repayment plan, selling the house or a foreclosure bailout loan.

"Lis pendens" is one of the major issues that may arise relative to the title report in which a lawsuit is pending. Such a notice warns anyone with an interest in a property that there's a dispute in progress over the title or possession and that any later buyers, lenders or tenants will be bound by the final resolution. Most title companies will refuse to insure the title of a "lis pendens" property.

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As your Florida title search and settlement company, we help you in resolving any title issues which may occur during your escrow and closing process. At The Closing Company, our mission is to make the closing process as stress free as possible. Stay in contact with our closing agent at every step of the escrow process, particularly in regard to issues found in the preliminary title report or abstract of title.

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