Foreclosure Timeline: After You Receive a Formal Notice of Foreclosure

Before you lose your home to a foreclosure sale, you'll get some sort of notice as required by your state’s foreclosure laws.

Before your house can be sold at a foreclosure sale, you must get some sort of formal notice as required by your state’s foreclosure laws. The kind of notice you will get depends on whether the foreclosure is judicial or nonjudicial.

Judicial Foreclosures

In a judicial foreclosure state, you might get a pre-filing notice telling you that foreclosure proceedings will begin within a particular period. You will definitely get a summons and complaint telling you that foreclosure proceedings have been filed in the appropriate court. You will typically have 20 to 30 days to respond once the suit is filed. If you file a response contesting the foreclosure action, it may take several months or even longer before the judge rules on whether to grant the foreclosure. Even if you don’t contest the foreclosure action, the sale usually won’t take place until at least a month after the judge issues the foreclosure order.

So you’ll likely have a minimum of two months from the first notice to the date the court orders the sale to take place. You’ll have at least double that amount of time if you decide to oppose the foreclosure in court.

In almost all judicial foreclosure states, if the judge orders the foreclosure sale, you’ll get a notice telling you when and where the sale will take place. In Connecticut and Vermont, however, the judge can transfer title to the property as part of the judgment of foreclosure.

Nonjudicial Foreclosure States

How much time you have from the first formal notice that foreclosure proceedings have started to the date your property will be sold varies widely from state to state. You can probably count on at least 30 days’ notice before the sale. In most states, you’ll get a couple of months. Check your state’s law in our Summary of State Foreclosure Laws to find out the precise amount of notice you are entitled to.

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