The 3 Biggest Misconceptions About Foreclosure

1. You have to leave the house when you get the foreclosure notice. This is a huge problem with homeowners not knowing what to do. The worst thing you can do is move out of the house the moment you get served the foreclosure complaint. The best thing to do is call a foreclosure defense attorney and review your options. You have 20 days to respond to the complaint. Don’t waste time, allow us to help you save your house in the State of Florida.

2. The banks will not negotiate. Completely false. In fact, with the HAMP legislation some banks are required to evaluate your mortgage for modification options to keep you in the house. In most cases the worst case scenario is for the bank to get the house and have to work to sell the property. The banks want to work with you. A foreclosure defense attorney can work with the bank to advocate for you and a modification of your loan.

3. You must pay the total amount you are behind on or you will be evicted. Do you get the pattern here? Banks have done an excellent job of scaring homeowners into believing the moment they get behind on the house they must abandon the house immediately. What the banks don’t want you thinking about is your homeowner rights. A foreclosure defense attorney can negotiate with the banks to potentially put you back on track. Just because you are behind doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Call us today for a free consultation and let us discuss the particulars of your case.

5 Reasons To Consider A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

1. Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start and help you walk away from your debt. A chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates your debt and allows you to start over with a clean slate.

2. You can keep your home. Even with a bankruptcy, homeowners in the State of Florida have a homestead exemption that allows them to keep their home and they can likely void any secured liens on the property.

3. If you don’t have a home you can likely keep all of your belongings. In the State of Florida those not claiming a homestead exemption can claim a $4,000 super-exemption that will likely allow them to keep all of their belongings at the end of a bankruptcy.

4. With a bankruptcy, you can potentially keep your car. In the State of Florida there is a $1,000 exemption on any equity in your car. If you have a lien on the car and you want to keep it you can keep paying for the car and keep possession. If you don’t have a lien on the car, with a bankruptcy, you can still keep the car with a $1,000 exemption on any equity.

5. It is your constitutional right to declare bankruptcy and the banks like to play “hide the ball” from you. They try clever words such as “obligation” “promised” “reliable”. What they don’t want you to know is in the same courthouse where you are entitled to file bankruptcy they are doing the same thing. Don’t let banks bully you out of your fresh start. The US Constitution states that the Congress shall have the powers to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcy throughout the United States. You wouldn’t let a bank tell you where you can worship, why would you allow them to tell you who you have to pay?

10 Quick Foreclosure Tips for Brevard County

1. When served with a foreclosure complaint you have 20 days to respond. Don’t wait to the last minute to hire a foreclosure defense attorney. Contact a foreclosure defense attorney as soon you are served the complaint. A foreclosure defense attorney can help you draft your response to maximize your outcome.
2. Know your rights when your home goes into foreclosure. Far too often homeowners are just walking away from their house when they don’t understand what their rights are. A foreclosure defense attorney will explain your options and help protect your rights throughout the foreclosure process..
3. Don’t assume the lender that is foreclosing has your mortgage. Mortgages are bought and sold in bundles. A foreclosure defense attorney can review all the documents and protect you against a lender foreclosing on a mortgage they might not properly own.
4. Verify when the mortgage company alleges that you made your last payment. They may have sent multiple earlier demand letters that can start the clock on the statute of limitations on foreclosures.
5. Make sure the pleadings description matches the description in your mortgage. Sloppy paperwork can provide an avenue to defend a foreclosure action.
6. Mortgages may be bought and sold multiple times prior to the foreclosure complaint. Review the documents to ensure there are valid assignments and that the transfers are correct.
7. Check to see if the bank is enrolled in HAMP. If they are, you may be entitled to force the mortgage company into a modification or at least mediation.
8. Did the opposing party comply with the 2013 Florida Fair Foreclosure Act? The filing party is now required to certify under oath that they are in actual physical custody of the note. Verify that this has been completed.
9. Save all documents that you receive throughout the process. Countless times the information you may have could differ from what the bank has accumulated. Why trust the bank? Protect yourself and create a record of all your foreclosure and mortgage documents.
10. Hire a foreclosure defense attorney. You may think you will save money using online research to save your home and negotiate the foreclosure process. Too often, “going it alone” costs the homeowner more in the long run. Hiring a foreclosure defense attorney that you trust will help ensure that tips 1-9 happen and that your foreclosure rights are protected. At The Law Office of John A. Russo, P.A. we always offer a free consultation to listen to your situation, explain the process and help you understand your rights. This enables you to decide the most optimum course of action for your situation.

5 Reasons You Should Consider A Short Sale

1. A short sale can allow you to abandon the house in an orderly process. A short sale will allow you to list your home for sale and negotiate a purchase price that will allow you to leave the home on a set date with the buyer taking possession.
2. A short sale will allow you to walk away without a deficiency judgment. When you sell your house through a short sale the bank agrees to accept the purchase price as the final amount due and waive any responsibility the home seller has for the deficiency.
3. In a short sale, a realtor will do all the leg work on selling the house. All you will have to do is sit back and watch the realtor coordinate everything.
4. An attorney will negotiate for you with the bank so that you are aware of different options available. Short selling without an attorney could cost you thousands of dollars and prevent you from understanding all of your options.
5. In a short sale you live in your house until the house is sold. An attorney can negotiate with the bank in regards to the mortgage and potentially lower your monthly payment.


1. If you declare bankruptcy you’ll ruin your financial life forever.  This has to be one of the dumbest sentiments I’ve encountered. In fact a debtor is eligible to receive an FHA loan just two (2) years after declaring a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and only 1 year, with the trustee’s consent, on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Does that sound ruined to you?

2. It is your obligation to pay back the bank, bankruptcy and foreclosure are the easy way out.  Really? The exact same banks that have taken billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts have a double standard. Why is it OK for them to write off their mistakes but, not you?  The bank’s sanctimony is laughable, if it wasn’t so sad.

3. You don’t need to file for bankruptcy or seek foreclosure protection, Credit Counseling can help you pay off your debt and lower your monthly payments.  Potentially – however, that is not always the case. If you fail to complete the entire program you could be in the same situation you were to start, determining if you need to file for bankruptcy protection or negotiate a foreclosure. The difference is you wasted precious time that you could have used to rebuild your financial life. Most credit counselors get a cut of your payment before forwarding the rest to the bank. A credit counselor is not qualified to give you a legal opinion about bankruptcy and your legal options. Any opinion they give you is really just advocacy dressed up so they can get your account.  Don’t fall for the trap, know all the options regarding bankruptcy and foreclosure and how they relate to your individual situation.

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Melbourne Chamber LogoThe Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce provides leadership in economic and community development, and works to improve the quality of life for residents.  There are 7000 Chambers of Commerce throughout the United States dedicated to this mission.

The Law Office of John A. Russo, P.A. is proud to be part of a dedicated group of businesses and individuals committed to improving the quality of community and life throughout Brevard County.

John’s Approach

I get to know you.  I listen to your unique legal situation and work with you to determine the best path.  I then approach each case as if it would be a jury trial.

Having tried over 50 felony jury cases, I learned the intricacies and depth needed to develop a case for trial.  By approaching each case with this preparation, I am able to think steps ahead of where we are at in the process and am prepared for most every outcome.

John’s Background

I am a Central Florida native that has returned to the area, with my wife, to raise our family.

After serving my country in the United States Army and Texas National Guard, I graduated from the University of Texas (hook ’em horns) with a degree in Youth and Community Services.  I then went on to receive my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wyoming.

After graduating from Wyoming, I was a prosecutor in 3 states (FL, AL and CO), litigating to trial all forms of crimes from drug possession to homicide and from white collar crimes to juvenile crimes.  It is this unique background that I employ with each case to achieve the most favorable results for my clients.

I am an avid football fan, who waits for the day that the Dolphins will dominate again.

I encourage you to fill out our free, confidential consultation form so that I can get to know you and your unique legal needs.


Having been a prosecutor for over 7 years, in 3 states, I know how the system works and I am here to help you during these difficult times. Whether you have been charged with a crime or are struggling financially, my detailed and disciplined approach, will provide you with exceptional and respectful legal services at an affordable price.

The Law Office of John A. Russo, P.A. knows that this is a stressful time for you and we are here to help ease the stress. My office hours are flexible and I will even travel to you (saving you time and gas). Please fill out our form for a free, confidential consultation so you can get to know me and I can begin to understand your needs.

Foreclosure Questions

What is a loan modification?

In the State of Florida, a loan modification is when the bank modifies the terms of the mortgage. This can include a modification of the interest rate, the principal amount, or any other terms listed in the mortgage paperwork.

How can a foreclosure defense attorney help me?

Hiring a foreclosure defense attorney is the best way to protect your rights. From reviewing your initial mortgage for predatory lending to working together on a loan modification, a foreclosure defense attorney has many tools to assist you. Banks hire large law firms that process a significant amount of foreclosure cases which can result in sloppy pleadings or overlooking key components of a mortgage. A foreclosure defense attorney will work to protect your due process rights, ensure the mortgage note is legitimate, review short sale options, and assist with any loan modification needs.

What is the foreclosure process?

In the State of Florida, a foreclosure begins when the alleged holder of the mortgage files a complaint in the Circuit Court. After the home owner is served they usually have 20 days to respond. If the home owner doesn’t respond the Court may enter a default judgment. After a default judgment the bank will move quickly to have your house sold and you evicted.