States With Long Foreclosure Timelines

The average foreclosure in New Jersey, Hawaii, New York, Utah, and Florida takes longer than foreclosures in other states. Find out why.

While the overall housing market in many places has recovered following the mortgage crisis, homeowners in many areas still face foreclosure. In certain states, a foreclosure can take a very long time to be completed--sometimes as long as a few years. Read on to learn which states have lengthy foreclosure timelines and the factors that influence how long a foreclosure may take.

Overall Foreclosures Are Decreasing, But Foreclosure Timelines are Increasing

Even though data shows that the number of foreclosures is dipping, foreclosure timelines are getting longer.

According to RealtyTrac (an online marketplace for foreclosure properties and real estate data), the timeline for the foreclosure process recently reached a record high. Based on the data, it took on average:

  • 629 days (around 21 months) to process a foreclosure in the second quarter of 2016
  • 629 days (around 21 months) to process a foreclosure in the second quarter of 2015
  • 572 days (around 19 months) to process a foreclosure in the first quarter of 2014
  • 477 days (around 16 months) to process a foreclosure in the first quarter of 2013
  • 414 days (about 14 months) in the previous quarter, and
  • 370 days (about 12 months) in the first quarter of 2012.

In fact, there are multiple states where a foreclosure takes more than a year to complete and, in the states with the longest timelines, a foreclosure can often take as long as more than three years.

This means that if you a facing foreclosure in a state where it takes a considerable amount of time to complete the process, you will have plenty of time before the foreclosure is done to:

To learn about your options if you are facing foreclosure, get Nolo's The Foreclosure Survival Guide.

Judicial Foreclosures Take Longer

Depending on your state and your circumstances, a foreclosure will be either nonjudicial or judicial.

Nonjudicial foreclosure. If you’re in a nonjudicial foreclosure state, the lender does not have to go through the state court system to foreclose.

Judicial foreclosure. Judicial foreclosures go through the state court system, which means the courts are involved in every step of the foreclosure. As a result, the judicial foreclosure process often takes a lot longer than a nonjudicial one. Backlogged courts, judges’ schedules, hearings, and required paperwork all contribute to a prolonged process. Courts are simply unable to process a large volume of foreclosures in an expedited manner.

To learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see our Judicial v. Nonjudicial Foreclosure topic area.

Homeowner Protection Laws Delay Foreclosures

Another reason that certain states have long timelines is due to foreclosure prevention efforts by the government.

Foreclosure laws. California, Minnesota, and Nevada, for instance, all passed laws to increase homeowners' protections from foreclosure, which initially delayed the rate at which new foreclosures were initiated. (See California Foreclosure Protection: The Homeowner Bill of Rights, for example.) Now, however, lenders have gained efficiency in how they deal with these laws. Still, foreclosures can take a long time because lenders must comply with the requirements under these laws.

Mediation laws. During the foreclosure crisis, some states passed foreclosure mediation laws that delayed the foreclosure process. See our State Foreclosure Mediation section for more information.

Mortgage servicing laws changed in 2014. Federal laws that went into effect in 2014 added time to the pre-foreclosure period. Lenders cannot officially begin the process until the borrower is more than 120 days overdue on payments.

Top Five States With the Longest Foreclosure Timelines

The following states currently take an exceptionally long time to complete the foreclosure process.

New Jersey

As of the second quarter of 2016, New Jersey has the longest timeline, coming in at 1,249 days (over three years). To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in New Jersey, see our Summary of New Jersey’s Foreclosure Laws.

Hawaii

The foreclosure process in Hawaii takes on average 1,236 days. To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in Hawaii, see our Summary of Hawaii’s Foreclosure Laws.

New York

New York currently has the third-longest foreclosure timeline, averaging 1,058 days. To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in New York, see our Summary of New York’s Foreclosure Laws.

Utah

In Utah, it takes 1,025 days on average to complete a foreclosure. To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in Utah, see our Summary of Utah’s Foreclosure Laws.

Florida

Foreclosures in Florida take around 1,012 days to complete. To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in Florida, see our Summary of Florida’s Foreclosure Laws.

States With the Fastest Foreclosure Timelines

On the flip side, the foreclosure process in Virginia is relatively quick, averaging 195 days. Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wyoming also have short timelines, generally averaging several months to complete the process.

For More Information

To learn more about how foreclosure works in your state, visit Nolo's Foreclosure area and check our Summary of State Foreclosure Laws.

To learn more about the timelines for judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures, see our articles Timeline for a Judicial Foreclosure and Timeline for a Nonjudicial Foreclosure.

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