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

If your home is foreclosed in New Jersey, you can get it back by redeeming (repurchasing) it.

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Question

Several years ago I purchased a house in Princeton, New Jersey. I got laid off from my job last year and since then I’ve had trouble making my mortgage payments. I fell behind and the bank started a foreclosure. I recently found work, but it doesn’t pay as much as my old job. I don’t want to lose the house. Can I buy it back from the bank after the foreclosure if I can somehow come up with the money?

Answer

Yes, New Jersey law permits you to repurchase or “redeem” the home after the foreclosure. You’ll get at least one, and maybe two, opportunities to get the house back following the foreclosure sale.

When You Can Redeem Your Home After a New Jersey Foreclosure

Foreclosures in New Jersey are judicial, which means the lender files a lawsuit in court to foreclose your home. After the foreclosure sale, the New Jersey Court Rules provide a 10-day period during which the homeowner can file a motion objecting to the sale (New Jersey Court Rule 4:65-5). After the 10-day period, the court must confirm the sale to finalize it.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has determined that foreclosed homeowners get the right to redeem:

  • within the 10-day period after the sale, and
  • up until the court issues an order confirming the sale if objections are filed under the rule. See Hardyston Nat. Bank v. Tartamella, 56 N.J. 508 (1970).

Redeeming After a Deficiency Judgment

New Jersey also provides homeowners with the right to redeem if the lender obtains a deficiency judgment after the foreclosure.

What is a deficiency judgment? A deficiency judgment is a personal judgment against the homeowner for the difference between the total mortgage debt and the foreclosure sale price. Though, if you dispute it, the court may limit the deficiency to the difference between the total debt and the fair market value of the property at the time of the sale. Learn more in Nolo’s article Deficiency Judgments After Foreclosure in New Jersey.

If the lender gets a deficiency judgment and you want to redeem, you must bring an action for redemption within six months after the judgment is entered (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:50-4). However, if you file an answer to the deficiency judgment lawsuit to dispute the deficiency, you lose the right to redeem (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:50-5).

How Much You'll Have to Pay to Redeem Your Home

In order to redeem, you must pay the full amount of the judgment, plus interest, costs, and all reasonable expenses that the purchaser incurred for taxes, assessments, other prior liens, and necessary repairs after the sale (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:50-4). (You can deduct from this amount any income the purchaser received from the property, such as rent.)

Other Options to Get Your Home Back Before the Sale

Rather than counting on redeeming the home, you could catch up on past-due payments before the sale to reinstate the loan. Or you could pursue other alternatives to foreclosure if you want to keep your house. For example, you might be able to arrange a mortgage modification, forbearance agreement, or repayment plan.

You could also redeem the home before the sale by paying the full amount of the mortgage debt. (When you redeem prior to the sale, this is known as the “equitable right of redemption.” Learn more general information about the equitable right of redemption.)

Finding New Jersey’s Redemption Law

If you want to locate the statute that discusses your right to redeem the home after a foreclosure sale in New Jersey, go to Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes.

by: , Contributing Editor

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