When property is mortgaged, the property is transferred to a creditor to be used as secured collateral on a loan. The individual exchanging the property for the loan becomes the mortgagor, and the creditor acquiring the property title becomes the mortgagee.

If the mortgagor defaults on the loan payments associated with the mortgage, the creditors can take legal action to enforce a mortgage against the property and prevent the mortgagor from keeping the property. This type of legal action is referred to as foreclosure.

Buyers Beware

Bidders are responsible for conducting their own research as to the property/lien being sold.  The Clerk’s office makes no warranties or representation about the location or condition regarding any property, the condition of any structures or fixtures, its marketability, existing or potential uses, zoning regulations or laws that may affect current or future uses of the property, outstanding or potential liens, mortgages or other encumbrances or defects in title that may exist, including whether any defendants have filed a bankruptcy.

There are certain risks associated with bidding at foreclosure sales.  One of them is the possibility of a foreclosure sale being set aside or vacated due to bankruptcy proceedings, orders of the court, owner redemption, appellate proceedings or other reasons.  Notwithstanding the vacation of a foreclosure sale for any reason, the Clerk’s statutory fees (including the sale fee, electronic online auction fee and the registry fees) will not be refunded, as the Clerk is entitled to retain these fees under Florida law.  Bidders at foreclosure sale are expressly assuming the risk of forfeiting Clerk fees upon vacation of the sale, as agreed in the bidder user agreement

Homeowner's Rights Information

If property is sold a Public Auction, there may be additional money from the sale after payment of person(s) who are entitled to be paid from the sale proceeds pursuant to the final judgment. If the property being foreclosed on has qualified for the homestead tax exemption in the most recent approved tax roll, and if you are the property owner, you may claim these funds yourself. 

You are not required to have a lawyer or any other representation and you do not have to assign your rights to anyone else in order for you to claim any money to which you are entitled. Please check with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Circuit Civil Division, at 850-595-4130, within ten days after the sale to see if there is additional money from the foreclosure sale that the Clerk has in the registry of the court.

Legal Assistance

If you decide to sell your home or hire someone to help you claim the additional money, you should read very carefully all papers you are required to sign, ask someone else, preferably an attorney who is not related to the person offering to help you, to make sure that you understand what you are signing and that you are not transferring your property or the equity in your property without the proper information. 

If you cannot afford to pay an attorney, you may contact Northwest Florida Legal Services at 850-432-2336 to see if you qualify financially for their services. If they cannot assist you, they may be able to refer you to a local Bar Referral agency or suggest other options. If you choose to contact Northwest Florida Legal Services for assistance, you should do so as soon as possible after receipt of this notice.

Additional Information

For questions concerning Foreclosure Sales, please call the Civil Division of the Clerk's Office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Once you have found a property that you are interested in, it is very important that a title search be obtained on the property since the Clerk's Office does not guarantee a clear title and is not responsible for any encumbrances on the property after the property is purchased at auction.