Before a bank can sell your house at a foreclosure sale, you will get some sort of formal notice about the foreclosure. The kind of notice you will get depends on whether the foreclosure is judicial or nonjudicial, and what your state’s foreclosure laws require.
In around half of the states, the bank has to file a lawsuit in court to foreclose. This is called a judicial foreclosure. If you live in a state where foreclosures go through the court system, you might get 30 days’ notice of the bank’s intent to file a foreclosure action. You will definitely get a summons and complaint telling you when a foreclosure action has been filed in the appropriate court. Once you receive notice about the lawsuit, most people typically have 20 to 30 days to respond to the suit. If you file a response contesting the foreclosure action, it may take a few months—or even longer—before a judge rules on whether to grant the foreclosure.
Even if you don’t contest the foreclosure action, the sale usually won’t take place until at least a month after the judge issues the foreclosure order. So you’ll have at least a couple of months from the first notice of the case to the date the court orders the sale to take place. You’ll probably have at least double that amount of time if you decide to oppose the foreclosure in court.
In almost all judicial foreclosures, if the judge orders the foreclosure sale, you’ll get a notice telling you when and where the sale will take place. In Connecticut and Vermont, though, the judge can transfer title to the property as part of the judgment of foreclosure—there is no foreclosure sale.
In the remaining states, the creditor can opt to use an out-of-court (nonjudicial) process to foreclose. With a nonjudicial foreclosure, the bank has to carefully follow a series of steps described in the state statutes to complete the process.
Depending on which state you live in, you might get a pre-foreclosure notice stating the bank’s intent to file a foreclosure action. How much time you have from the first formal notice that foreclosure proceedings have started to the date your property will be sold—and the procedures in between—varies from state to state. State law might require:
You can probably count on at least 30 days’ notice before the foreclosure sale after the first official notice. In most states, you’ll get a couple of months. Check your state’s law in our Summary of State Foreclosure Laws to learn the process in your state.
Foreclosure procedures and timelines are different in each state. To learn exactly what type of notice you’ll receive and how long a foreclosure will take in your state and particular circumstances, consult with a local foreclosure attorney.