Recently on our bankruptcy blog a user asked, “If I have initiated a home foreclosure do I need to leave right away or can I stay a few months?” Although home foreclosures have been in decline from their highs a few years ago, some home owners are still facing a financial crisis and have been unable to meet their mortgage obligations. So what do you do if you have missed a few payments? Should you leave right away or is it better to stay put until you are forced to leave?
If you have not made a mortgage payment in a few months you will receive a breach letter from your lender. If you ignore the letter and do not make payments your lender will initiate the home foreclosure process. Eventually, the property will be sold through some type of sale. Generally, you can stay in your home until the day of the sale, although states which allow a redemption period may allow you to stay until that date expires. If you fail to leave your property by the day of the sale or the redemption date (if allowed), the new owner will likely evict you from the property.
How long will the home foreclosure take?
If you miss a few mortgage payments and the home foreclosure process has been initiated there is no reason to start packing your bags immediately. In fact, you have the right to stay in your home until the foreclosure action is completed, which could take months or years.
So how long will the home foreclosure take? It will depend on whether you live in a state that requires a nonjudicial foreclosure or judicial foreclosure. Judicial foreclosures will be more difficult and require the lender to go through the court system and fight scheduling conflicts with hundreds of thousands of other cases which are backlogged in the court system.
If you live in a state such as California, Minnesota, and Nevada which have passed foreclosure protection or states, such as Oregon or Hawaii, which have passed mediation laws, it could take even longer.
Home foreclosure timelines by state
If you live New Jersey or New York you can expect to wait approximately 1,103 days (just over three years) and 986 days, respectively, before the home foreclosure is completed. Florida homeowners wait an average of 935 days, and Hawaii homeowners can wait an average of 835 days.
Other states, however, may have much faster home foreclosure timeframes. For instance, in Alaska you could wait an average of 151 days, but in Texas, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Alabama you could be forced from your home in as little as a few months.
Good News for Homeowners
According to recent home foreclosure data, it is taking longer and longer for many states to process foreclosures. The good news for many homeowners is this may allow time to find other ways to keep their home. For instance, homeowners may be able to refinance their home through the Home Affordable Refinance Program or talk to their mortgage lender about whether there may be other alternatives to foreclosure. If this is not possible, however, you may still be able to live in your home.
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