This varies from state to state and lender to lender, but most lenders don't start foreclosure proceedings until you've missed four or five payments. Before taking back your house, many lenders would rather:
Be sure to explore all of your options if you are facing foreclosure. To learn about ways to prevent foreclosure, see Nolo's article How to Stop Foreclosure.
There are several new federal programs designed to assist people in foreclosure. Some allow people to refinance and others allow homeowners to modify and existing loan. To learn more about these programs, see Nolo's articles Mortgage Modification and Refinancing Under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan and Mortgage Refinancing to Avoid Foreclosure: The HOPE for Homeowners Act.