The Emotional Part of Foreclosure

Losing your home to a foreclosure can be a psychological blow, as well as a financial and practical one.

It’s important to acknowledge that the prospect of losing your house can be a psychological blow, as well as a financial and practical one. You can’t avoid these emotional realities—you’re not a machine—but facing them can help you approach your foreclosure in as calm and rational manner as possible.

Dealing With Fear

If you’re like many homeowners, the thought of foreclosure triggers fears of ending up in the street. So let me reassure you: It just doesn’t happen like that.

Preforeclosure period. Foreclosure is an orderly process. Under federal law, a foreclosure generally can't start until the borrower is more than 120 days delinquent. (Read about federal laws protecting homeowners in foreclosure.)

Foreclosure. You’ll likely get:

  • some type of notice before the process starts (for example, a breach letter if your mortgage contract requires one) and
  • some notice before the house is eventually sold (perhaps through the mail, personal service, a posting, or publishing), if it comes to that.

Foreclosures take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on a few factors like whether the process is judicial or nonjudicial.

After the sale. Once the property ends up in the hands of a new owner at the foreclosure sale, you'll likely get some sort of notice to leave. (Read about eviction after a foreclosure.)

Redemption period. You might even get some time to live in the home after the sale, if your state's laws let you stay at the property during a post-sale redemption period, if there is one.

In other words, you’ll almost certainly have enough time to make new housing arrangements.

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