Circuit Civil

Circuit Civil handles cases which involve monetary judgments in excess of $15,000, injunctions, declaratory judgments, mortgage foreclosures, negligence, professional malpractice, and other matters where a claimant may be made whole by receiving a money judgment.

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Forms and Assistance

Foreclosures FAQ'S (850) 606-4170

Are there any steps I can take to avoid foreclosure?
Does the foreclosure or tax deed sale eliminate all other liens on the property?

No. There may still be other encumbrances (judgments, priority mortgages, taxes, or liens) that survive the sale. The winning bidder takes title to the property subject to all defects, liens, encumbrances, and matters of which he/she has or could obtain knowledge. It is the bidder's responsibility to perform all research regarding the property, including the value, title defects, liens, mortgages, or other encumbrances. The Clerk’s Office does not guarantee a clear title and is not responsible for any encumbrances on the property purchased at auction. The laws regarding foreclosures are complicated and all bidders should consider performing a title search and consulting an attorney before placing a bid.

How do I view a mortgage foreclosure case?

There are several ways:

  • Online on our public website,
  • Online on our secure website, after submitting a notarized application form, located at the website
  • In person at Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe Street, Room 100, Tallahassee, FL

How do online sales work?

At www.leon.realforeclose.com, our office conducts sales by public auction on properties offered for sale to the highest bidder.

  • Anyone may bid on the properties but must register online prior to the sale.
  • The site provides information for each sale item, including the name of the owner, legal description, and the opening or base bid.
  • At the date and time specified for the sale, each item is auctioned in order of file number and sold to the highest bidder.
  • At the time of the sale, the successful high bidder must post with our office a nonrefundable deposit of 5% for the successful bid. This fee is processed by Real Auction from the deposit.
  • The remainder of the bid, court registry fees, and the Judicial Sale Winner Bid Service Fee are due by 4:30 pm ET the day of the sale.
  • Payment may be made in the form of wire transfer, payment from deposit, cash, cashier’s check, or money order.
  • Upon payment of the remainder of the bid, we will issue a Certificate of Sale.
  • The Clerk’s Office will issue a Certificate of Title after 10 full days have elapsed from the issuance of the Certificate of Sale, provided there is no other action relating to the subject proceeding. If the 10th day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the title will be issued on Tuesday; if Monday is a holiday, the title will be issued on Wednesday.

How does the bidding work? What is a proxy bid?

At www.leon.realforeclose.com:

  • Auction participants enter their highest acceptable bid for a property.
  • The auction system then checks all other bids and enters a bid on your behalf at $100.00 more than the next highest bidder (proxy bidding).
  • The system stops entering bids for you when your highest acceptable bid is reached.
  • When an auction closes, each property is awarded to the participant with the highest bid.
  • If identical bids are placed prior to the auction start date and time, the first participant to place the bid is deemed the official high bidder. Tie bids are not allowed once the auction begins.
  • Bids may be cancelled or modified (raised or lowered) at any time before the auction officially begins for that case. Once an auction begins bids may be increased only; cancelling or lowering a bid during a live auction is not permitted.

How much is the deposit and how do I pay?

At www.leon.realforeclose.com:

  • You must place a deposit equal to 5% of your estimated high bid for each item you anticipate winning at the sale.
  • Deposits can be made electronically on the site via ACH-WIRE (electronic check).
  • Wire transfers will be accepted but you must add a $4.00 fee per transaction or it will be deducted from your deposit amount. Wire transfers may take up to 48 hours to be received and processed.
  • Cash, cashier’s checks, and money orders will also be accepted. These forms of payment must be delivered to the Clerk’s Office, which will deposit them in your Real Auction account for you to manage.
  • Personal checks are not permitted.
  • Deposits are due by 3:00PM ET the day prior to the sale.
  • Payments are due by 4:30PM ET the day of the sale. If payments are made by cash, cashier’s check, or money order, these forms of payment must be delivered to the Clerk’s Office, which will deposit them in your Real Auction account for you to manage.

May anyone object to the sale?

An Objection to the Sale document may be filed within 10 days after the filing of the Certificate of Sale. This will stop issuance of the title until the Court holds a hearing and makes a decision on the objection.

What happens in a foreclosure case?

Foreclosure cases are started with the filing of a complaint with the Clerk’s Office, in either county or circuit court, depending on the value of the property. Documents for a mortgage foreclosure case may be filed:

  • Online at www.myflcourtaccess.com; or
  • In person at Leon County Courthouse, 301 South Monroe Street, Room 100, Tallahassee, FL
The Clerk will issue a summons to each defendant in the case, and the defendants have 20 days to respond to the complaint by filing an answer. If no answer to the complaint is filed, a default judgment can be entered. If an answer is filed, then the lender cannot obtain a default judgment and instead will file affidavits in support of its position; respond to the answer; and file a motion for summary judgment (lender must show that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law) and set that motion for hearing. Alternatively, a lender may skip that last step and set the case for trial. Before summary judgment, a lender may engage in the discovery process, requesting documents, asking questions, and taking depositions to obtain facts to address defenses raised by the homeowner.

After the judge signs the final judgment, it is filed and recorded with the Clerk’s Office. The Clerk’s Office issues a notice of sale that the plaintiff will advertise in a local newspaper, published once a week for 2 consecutive weeks.

Sale dates and final judgments can be viewed at www.leon.realforeclose.com. You must register on the site to access the sales calendar. Then click on the date on the calendar and the list of cases being auctioned will appear. Select a case number to view the final judgment which includes the case number, style of the case and legal description.

What happens next?

Proceeds from a sale are distributed per the final judgment. Our office will issue a certificate of disbursements. A lender may file for a writ of possession to evict the homeowner. A deputy sheriff will serve the writ, which gives the homeowner 24 hours to move out.

During the 60 days after issuance of the certificate of disbursement, the Clerk’s Office will hold any surplus amount, pending a court order. The owner of record and other lienholders may file claims, and the judge may require a hearing. The form for filing a claim is available on our website. There will be a $50 reopen fee to file a claim. .

If any person other than the owner of record claims an interest in the proceeds during the 60-day period or if the owner of record files a claim for the surplus but acknowledges that one or more other persons may be entitled to part or all of the surplus, the court will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine entitlement to the surplus funds. If the owner of the surplus funds cannot be located, the funds will be deposited with the Chief Financial Officer, pursuant to Chapter 717, Florida Statutes.

What happens to leftover deposit money?

Unused deposit money will be returned upon request of refund by clicking "Request Refund." Allow approximately two weeks after the close of the auction for the processing of refunds.

What if I fail to make the final payment or choose not to purchase the property?

If full payment is not made by 4:30 PM ET the day of the sale, your deposit will be forfeited. Our office will enter the default on the progress docket and on the Real Auction fee section for the winning bidder that the sale was defaulted. The plaintiff will notify the court by filing for a new sale date. The Clerk’s Office will deduct the registry fee from the deposit and the remainder of the deposit is normally released to the plaintiff by the court.

What is foreclosure?

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

If the homeowner defaults on loan payments, the lender typically sends out letters offering mitigation opportunities and may eventually send a breach letter, indicating the intent to start legal proceedings. A foreclosure case is filed to enforce the mortgage against the property and prevent the homeowner from keeping the property.

What is the overtime period? Why does the auction keep extending?

Any bid placed with less than 30 seconds remaining on the auction clock will automatically extend the bidding period by an additional 60 seconds. Bids placed below the stated Plaintiff's Maximum Bid will not extend the auction bidding period.

When is the Certificate of Title issued?

If no objections are filed within 10 days of the sale, the Clerk’s Office will issue and record the Certificate of Title. If the 10th day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the title will be issued on Tuesday; if Monday is a holiday, the title will be issued on Wednesday.