If I lose my home to foreclosure in Massachusetts, can I get it back?

Find out if you can redeem (repurchase) your foreclosed home in Massachusetts after the foreclosure sale.

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Question

My wife and I live in Massachusetts and our house is in foreclosure. The sale is coming up soon. I’d like to know if there is a way for us to get the house back if the foreclosure goes through. I heard from a friend that in some states the homeowner gets the right to repurchase or “redeem” the house after the foreclosure.

Answer

In some Massachusetts foreclosure cases, the homeowner gets the right to redeem the home after the foreclosure sale takes place. However, if your foreclosure is like most foreclosures in Massachusetts, you won’t be able to get the home back after the foreclosure goes through. (You do, however, have up until the foreclosure sale occurs to pay off the full amount of the unpaid loan, which will stop the foreclosure. This is also called “redeeming” the home.)

When You’re Allowed to Redeem in a Nonjudicial Foreclosure

The majority of foreclosures in Massachusetts are nonjudicial, which means you do not get to go in front of a judge before you are foreclosed upon. (To learn more about foreclosure laws and procedures in Massachusetts, visit Nolo’s Massachusetts Foreclosure Law Center.)

In Massachusetts, you don’t have a right to redeem after a nonjudicial foreclosure (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 244, § 18; ch. 183, § 21). On the other hand, you do get what is called an "equitable right of redemption" before the sale occurs. This means that you can redeem the home prior to the sale by paying off the full amount of the loan. (Learn more general information about the equitable right of redemption.)

If the foreclosure is nonjudicial (remember, most are) and you don’t redeem the home (or take some other action to stop the foreclosure) before the sale, you won’t get another opportunity to save the house.

When You’re Allowed to Redeem in a Judicial Foreclosure

If your foreclosure is judicial (which means the lender files a lawsuit in court to foreclose your home) or by possession (which is a rarely used foreclosure process in Massachusetts), then you would get three years to redeem the property after the sale (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 244, § 18). The foreclosing lender must keep possession of the property during these three years.

In order to redeem, you’d have to pay the total amount owed on the mortgage, including interest, attorney's fees, and costs (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 244, § 19).

Take Action Before the Foreclosure Sale to Try to Save the Home

If you can’t afford to redeem the home before the sale (or after the foreclosure, if you get the right to redeem), there may be other options available to you to save the home -- if you act before the sale takes place. For example, you could potentially:

You should look into alternatives to foreclosure as soon as possible.

How to Find Massachusetts’ Redemption Laws

To find the statutes that discuss the right to redeem in Massachusetts, go to Part II, Chapter 183, and Part III, Chapter 244 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

by: , Contributing Editor

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