Timeline For Foreclosure

Timeline for foreclosure varies widely from state to state.  Beyond the different state foreclosure laws, mortgage lenders also exercise different grace periods for loan payments. One lender might start foreclosure as soon as you default and another lender might be more lenient and give you a few months before starting the foreclosure process.

A good practice to keep your lender from aggressively pursuing a foreclosure is to keep in touch with them and keep them informed as to what you are doing to resolve your situation.  

Lenders are most concerned about how their loan will be paid back so when you speak with a loss mitigation representative, inform them of the solutions you are pursuing whether it is mortgage loan modification, temporarily borrowing against your equity with a residential hard money loan, considering a forebearance agreement or some kind of repayment plan, or selling your home through a short sale or regular sale.   Working with your lender will help stretch out the timeline for foreclosure.

Foreclosure Timeline - A General Guideline

IMPORTANT:  Below is only a quick general guideline as to the timeline for foreclosure.  Please go to the How Does Foreclosure Work page to get much more detailed information on the foreclosure process for both Judicial and Non-Judicial forelosure.  You will also need to know your state's foreclosure law

STEP 1:  Missed Payment - Once you miss a loan payment AND you are not able to bring your loan current by paying the delinquent amount, the lender can technically start the foreclosure process.

STEP 2:  Lender Attempts to Collect Late Payments - If you do not contact your lender, they will definitely be contacting you by the time your grace period expires (grace periods are typically 15 days).  You will be contacted by phone and by mail.  You can either bring your loan current, but if you don't have the money, you can ask your lender for a repayment or forbearance plan.

STEP 3:  Lender Starts Foreclosure Process - If you are still unable to bring the loan current after numerous attempts to collect the delinquent amount, the lender starts the foreclosure process.  Since the lender will more likely engage an attorney or trustee to execute the foreclosure, attorney's fees will be added to late fees and other penalties on top of the delinquent amount at this point.

This step in the timeline for foreclosure usually happens after you are a few months behind in loan payments.  The lender usually tries all other avenues with you to collect the delinquent payment and will try to evaluate your financial situation to see if a repayment plan might work.

Please note that his step in the foreclosure timeline usually lasts for a specified amount of time (example: in California this period lasts for 90 days from the time the Notice of Default is filed).  Again, please see the the state foreclosure law spreadsheet for more details on your state laws.

STEP 4:  Property is sold at a Trustee Sale Auction or Sheriff's Sale -  If all attempts to bring the loan current fails, the lender instructs for the property to be sold at a public auction.  Most lenders will send you a formal notice of the scheduled sale via regular and certified mail, a process server, or with a notice on or near your front door.

STEP 5:  After the Sale - If you do not vacate the property after it is sold, you may be forced to do so through the eviction process.  If your state has a redemption period, you have the chance to repurchase your property  within a set amount of time if you are able to produce the money for the price paid at auction plus other qualified expenses by the new owner.

Good luck!  Again, visit How Does Foreclosure Work for a more comprehensive explanation of the foreclosure process and timeline for foreclosure.  

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