Summary of Wisconsin's Foreclosure Laws

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If you are facing foreclosure in Wisconsin, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:

  • the most common type of foreclosure procedure (judicial v. nonjudicial) used in Wisconsin
  • how much time you have to respond
  • your rights and protections in the process, and
  • what happens afterwards (for example, whether you’ll be liable for a deficiency judgment).

Below we have outlined some of the most important features of Wisconsin foreclosure law. Keep in mind that this is just a summary; we’ve included statute citations so you can get more details from the laws themselves. And be sure to check out Nolo’s extensive Foreclosure section, where you can find information about all aspects of foreclosure, definitions of foreclosure terms (like redemption and reinstatement), and options to avoid foreclosure.


State Rule

Most common type of foreclosure process


Time to respond

After foreclosing party files lawsuit, homeowner has 20 days to respond. If foreclosure is granted, court issues judgment and order of sale. Sale can’t be held until one year after the judgment is entered; or six months after entry of judgment if the foreclosing party waives its right to a deficiency judgment; or 5 weeks after entry of judgment if the property is abandoned. A notice of sale must be published and posted over a three-week period.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Available any time before judgment; homeowners may reinstate after judgment but if they subsequently default, the foreclosure will continue.

Redemption after sale

Not available. However, the redemption period (ranging from five weeks to one year) occurs prior to the sale. The property can be redeemed at any time during this period.

Special protections for foreclosures involving high-cost mortgages

Prohibition on certain things (such as interest rate increases after a default) for high-cost home loans. Wis. Stat. §§ 428.202 to 428.211

Special state protections for service members

Protections against foreclosure for members of the national guard or state defense force who are ordered into state active duty for 30 days or more. Wis. Stat. § 321.62

Deficiency judgments

Must be requested in the foreclosure complaint

Cash exempted in bankruptcy

About $12,725 for one person, $25,450 for a married couple under federal bankruptcy exemptions. $5,000 ($10,000 if married filing jointly) under state bankruptcy exemptions.

Notice to leave after house is sold

Homeowner may remain in possession through the redemption period up until the confirmation of the sale. If the homeowner does not then vacate the residence, the confirmation of the sale usually will entitle the plaintiff to a writ of assistance. The sheriff executes the writ, typically giving 24-72 hours’ notice to the occupants.

Foreclosure statutes

Wis. Stat. §§ 846.01 to 846.25

Updated by: , Contributing Editor

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