Foreclosure Timeline: After You Receive a Formal Notice of Intent to Foreclose

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Before your house can be sold, you must get some sort of formal notice required by your state’s foreclosure laws. The kind of notice you will get depends on where you live.

If you’re in a nonjudicial foreclosure state, you may get:

  • a notice of default (allowing you time to reinstate your mortgage by making up all the back payments) followed by a notice of sale (if you haven’t reinstated your mortgage by the deadline)
  • a combined notice of default and sale (stating that the property will be sold on a certain date unless you make up the missed payments)
  • only one notice—a notice of sale announcing that the property will be sold on a certain date unless you pay off the mortgage, or
  • in a couple of states, notice only by publication and posting.

If you’re 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 and that you have a certain amount of time to respond.

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 count on at least 30 days’ notice before the sale (except in a few states that give you just 15 days’ notice); in most states, you’ll get at least 60 days. Check your state’s law in our Summary of State Foreclosure Laws to find out the precise amount of notice you are entitled to.

Judicial Foreclosure States

If you are in a state where foreclosures go through court (check our Summary of State Foreclosure Laws), you typically will receive ten to 30 days’ notice of the lender’s intent to file a foreclosure action. Once it’s filed, you will have 20 to 30 days to respond. 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 of intent to file the case 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.

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