This is the true story of a man who we will call Fred (not his real name but feels better to type a personal name rather than an article replete with colloquialisms such as ‘this guy’ or ‘this dude’). Fred called me late in the foreclosure process which is also typically too late for me to help. Judgment had already been entered and the foreclosure auction was on the docket a little over a month away. Was not looking good for Fred; he had no job, no car, no money, and was about to lose his house at the courthouse steps and join the ranks of the homeless.
Then Fred called Paul the Realtor. It was a smart move. It appeared to this Realtor that he might have a little equity, so I met with him and brought a cash investor with me who that day made a cash offer on Fred’s house that after paying off his mortgage, would net him around $7,500. We could have closed that before auction and this in itself would be worthy of a blog post, but this realtor wanted to do a little more digging into Fred’s situation.
I asked Fred how he was served the foreclosure summons/complaint and he said that they served his ex-wife at the house. His ex-wife’s name is Amber – I will use her real name because she is not my client and won’t be reading this article any time soon. Amber is in prison. She was in prison at the time the foreclosure was first filed and she remains there to this day. Intrigued, I left Fred’s house and traveled to the Courthouse to request the affidavit of service in his case. Here is the redacted version of what I obtained from the Courthouse: Process Server Affidavit
In Florida there is something called ‘substitute service’ which basically means that the process server can knock on the door of your abode and if anyone answers who resides there and is over the age of 15, then he can hand the summons/complaint to them and you have been served. The affidavit of service that I obtained listed Amber as 26-30 years of age, 5’4’’ to 5’7’’, and weighing between 111-130lbs. Amber is quite a bit older than 30 and weighs way more than 130. More importantly, she is in prison and not scheduled for release until 2024. The process server lied!
In Florida foreclosure cases, the defendant can file a motion to quash service which means they are informing the Court that service was invalid for some reason and in Fred’s case it was a pretty darn good reason. But now we have a problem. Fred had no money to pay an attorney.
I crunched the numbers. If Fred could make some minor repairs to the house and we had enough time to sell to a buyer who was able to get a mortgage on the property, then Fred could net around $35,000. I found an attorney who was able to take Fred’s case for $1,650. I paid the fee and gave Fred a few hundred to make the minor repairs to the house. Service was subsequently quashed which means the case that was already considered closed, with judgment entered, and auction date days away, is brought back to the very beginning of the case and they have to serve Fred again.
Then Fred got an unwelcomed visitor. Another real estate agent knocked on Fred’s door a day after the scheduled auction (but that auction unbeknownst to the agent was cancelled because service was quashed) and told him he has been employed by the Bank of NY Melon to sell the house and Fred needs to vacate. Fred called me while this goofball was at the house and I had him put me on speakerphone. I told the agent that the bank is not selling Fred’s house, Fred is selling Fred’s house. I told the agent that the auction was voided through the quashing of service and told him to take a hike, and he left. As for Fred – Fred’s future is bright; he will be netting around $35,000. We snatched a property back from the bank and put that equity back in Fred’s pocket. I love a happy ending.