Mortgage Foreclosure Timeline

Mortgage Foreclosure Timeline
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Last updated: July 2013

A mortgage is a written agreement between a mortgage company or bank and a home buyer. If you do not pay your mortgage, then the bank can try to take your home. This process is a mortgage foreclosure.

This timeline is only a general guide for a homeowner who chooses not to fight the foreclosure case. 

Before the bank can sue you for mortgage foreclosure, they must see if you qualify for a loan modification under the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). To qualify for HAMP, both you and the bank must be eligible.

0-2 Months

  • After 3 missed mortgage payments, foreclosure action may begin. This is the lawsuit brought by the bank to end your mortgage and take away your home.
  • The Sheriff or process server will serve you the foreclosure complaint. "Service" is the term for delivering legal papers to the opposing party in a case. If the Sheriff cannot locate a party, they can post a notice in a local newspaper.

2-3 Months

  • You have 90 days after you receive the foreclosure complaint to reinstate your mortgage. This right of reinstatement means that you are allowed to repay all the money you owe on the mortgage, plus all costs and fees. If you can do this, the foreclosure case against you is over. You may not be able to reinstate your mortgage again for 5 years.
  • You will receive a motion and a notice of motion.
    • The notice is a written announcement or warning, telling you when the court date is. You should go to court on that date. (See below).
    • The motion is what the bank is asking the court to do. This is usually called a Motion for Default or a Motion for Summary Judgment. 

3-4 Months

  • At court you may ask the judge for more time to hire a lawyer or complete the forms you need to represent yourself and answer the bank's complaint.
  • The judge may hear the bank's motion for default or summary judgment.
  • If you lose the hearing, the judge will sign a judgment of foreclosure against you. The judgment may state that:
    • you did not pay your mortgage,
    • the bank has a right to foreclose and
    • the total amount you owe on the mortgage, including any costs and fees
  • Once the judge signs a judgment of foreclosure, your redemption period begins. This period gives you time to pay off the overdue money of your mortgage, court costs, attorney fees and taxes.

Your redemption period ends:

  • 7 months after you are given the foreclosure complaint, if you are living in the home;
  • 6 months after you are given the foreclosure complaint, if you are not living in the home; or
  • 3 months after you get the judgment of foreclosure, whichever is later.

7 to 10 Months

Before the foreclosure sale of your property takes place, the bank must:

  • Publish a notice of sale in a local newspaper. The notice must be in the real estate section and should appear at least 3 weeks in a row.
  • Check if you qualify for a loan modification under the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). If they do not, a foreclosure sale may not be valid.

8-11 Months

A judge will usually confirm a foreclosure sale unless you can prove one of the following:

  • Notice was not given in the right way
  • The terms of sale were unreasonable
  • The sale was conducted fraudulently (in a dishonest way)
  • Justice was not done
  • The lender violated HAMP requirements

9-12 Months

You no longer have the right to stay in your home and the bank can ask the court to have the sheriff remove you from the property, if you do not do so by yourself.

After You Have Left the Property

The foreclosure deed, a written document of foreclosure, becomes public record.

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