My wife and I own a home in Chicago, Illinois. A few months ago my wife lost her job and we fell behind in our mortgage payments. (I’m a stay-at-home dad.) The house is now in foreclosure. We love living here and would like to hold on to the house. Neither of us is currently working, but I’m expecting a big inheritance soon. Is there any way for us to get the house back if we lose it to foreclosure?
Yes, Illinois law gives you a certain amount of time to “redeem” your home by paying off the full amount of the loan, plus various costs. You can redeem the home before it is sold at a foreclosure sale, as well as after the sale (if the lender is the purchaser). However, you should also be aware that the redemption period can be shortened, in certain circumstances.
In a nutshell, here are the rules (which are explained in more detail below):
- General right to redeem. You can redeem the home up until seven months after you receive the foreclosure summons or three months after the court enters a judgment of foreclosure, whichever is later.
- Special right of redemption. If the lender (or subsequent owner of the loan) purchases the home at the foreclosure sale and the sale price was less than the total amount you owed, then you have 30 days after the court confirms the sale to redeem.
- Reduced redemption period for some situations. The court can reduce the redemption period under certain circumstances, such as if you abandon the home.
When You Can Redeem Your Home Before the Foreclosure Sale
Illinois foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender must file a lawsuit in court to foreclose your home. After the lender gets a judgment for foreclosure from the judge, your home will be sold at a foreclosure sale. (To learn more about foreclosure laws and procedures in Illinois, visit Nolo’s Illinois Foreclosure Law Center.)
In Illinois, you can redeem your home until the later of:
- seven months after you receive the summons of the foreclosure action (or are served by publication if the lender is unable to serve you the foreclosure papers personally) or
- three months after the date that the court enters the judgment of foreclosure (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(b)(1)).
The foreclosure sale may not be held until after this redemption period expires.
In order to redeem, you must pay the amount specified in the judgment (including principal, interest, fees, and costs), plus any additional expenses incurred between the date of judgment and the date of redemption (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(d)).
When You Can Get Your Home Back After a Foreclosure Sale in Illinois
You get a special right to redeem for 30 days after the court confirms the foreclosure sale if:
- the lender purchases the home at the foreclosure sale, and
- the sale price was less than the total amount you owe, including principal, interest, fees, and costs (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1604(a)).
To get your home back through the special right of redemption, you’ll have to pay the foreclosure sale price plus interest and costs (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1604).
Redemption Period for Abandoned Homes
If the court finds that you abandoned the home (left it), the redemption period expires 30 days after the foreclosure judgment date (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(b)(4)).
Other Circumstances When the Redemption Period Can Be Shortened
The redemption period can also be shortened if:
- the value of the home on the judgment date is less than 90% of the amount required to redeem, and
- the lender waives the right to a deficiency judgment (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(b)(3)). (Learn more about Deficiency Judgments After Foreclosure in Illinois).
Under these circumstances, the redemption period will be reduced to 60 days after the foreclosure judgment date, or the expiration of any reinstatement period (learn about reinstatement in foreclosure), whichever is later.
How to Redeem Your Home
To redeem the house, you must give written notice of your intent to redeem to the lender’s attorney at least 15 days (excluding weekends and holidays) prior to your proposed date of redemption. (Be sure to specify the date of redemption and your current address in the notice.) You must also file a certification with the court stating that you gave the notice.
Then, at least three days (excluding weekends and holidays) before the redemption date, the lender must file a certification with the clerk of the court regarding any additional costs it incurred between the judgment and the date of your proposed redemption and provide you with a copy (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(e),(f)). You can then pay the total redemption amount (the amount in the judgment plus the lender's additional costs) to the lender or the lender’s attorney.
If Possible, Don’t Wait Until the Redemption Period to Save Your Home
In most cases if you want to keep your home, it is better to take action before the redemption period. This will give you more options to save the property. For example, you could pay off the past-due amounts to reinstate (catch up on) the loan.
Foreclosures in Illinois take a long time to complete so you should have plenty of time to explore alternatives to foreclosure before the sale. (Learn more in Nolo’s article States With Long Foreclosure Timelines.)
Finding Illinois’ Redemption Laws
To find the statutes that discuss your right to redeem the home in Illinois, go to Chapter 735 (Code of Civil Procedure), Article XV, of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.