My wife and I own a home in Chicago, Illinois. A few months ago my wife lost her job and we fell behind in our mortgage payments. (I’m a stay-at-home dad.) The house is now in foreclosure. We love living here and would like to hold on to the house. Neither of us is currently working, but I’m expecting a big inheritance soon. Is there any way for us to get the house back if we lose it to foreclosure?
Yes, Illinois law gives you a certain amount of time to “redeem” your home by paying off the full amount of the loan, plus various costs. You can redeem the home before it is sold at a foreclosure sale, as well as after the sale (if the lender is the purchaser). However, you should also be aware that the redemption period can be shortened, in certain circumstances.
In a nutshell, here are the rules (which are explained in more detail below):
Illinois foreclosures are judicial, which means the lender must file a lawsuit in court to foreclose your home. After the lender gets a judgment for foreclosure from the judge, your home will be sold at a foreclosure sale. (To learn more about foreclosure laws and procedures in Illinois, visit Nolo’s Illinois Foreclosure Law Center.)
In Illinois, you can redeem your home until the later of:
The foreclosure sale may not be held until after this redemption period expires.
In order to redeem, you must pay the amount specified in the judgment (including principal, interest, fees, and costs), plus any additional expenses incurred between the date of judgment and the date of redemption (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(d)).
You get a special right to redeem for 30 days after the court confirms the foreclosure sale if:
To get your home back through the special right of redemption, you’ll have to pay the foreclosure sale price plus interest and costs (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1604).
If the court finds that you abandoned the home (left it), the redemption period expires 30 days after the foreclosure judgment date (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(b)(4)).
The redemption period can also be shortened if:
Under these circumstances, the redemption period will be reduced to 60 days after the foreclosure judgment date, or the expiration of any reinstatement period (learn about reinstatement in foreclosure), whichever is later.
To redeem the house, you must give written notice of your intent to redeem to the lender’s attorney at least 15 days (excluding weekends and holidays) prior to your proposed date of redemption. (Be sure to specify the date of redemption and your current address in the notice.) You must also file a certification with the court stating that you gave the notice.
Then, at least three days (excluding weekends and holidays) before the redemption date, the lender must file a certification with the clerk of the court regarding any additional costs it incurred between the judgment and the date of your proposed redemption and provide you with a copy (735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/15-1603(e),(f)). You can then pay the total redemption amount (the amount in the judgment plus the lender's additional costs) to the lender or the lender’s attorney.
In most cases if you want to keep your home, it is better to take action before the redemption period. This will give you more options to save the property. For example, you could pay off the past-due amounts to reinstate (catch up on) the loan.
Foreclosures in Illinois take a long time to complete so you should have plenty of time to explore alternatives to foreclosure before the sale. (Learn more in Nolo’s article States With Long Foreclosure Timelines.)
To find the statutes that discuss your right to redeem the home in Illinois, go to Chapter 735 (Code of Civil Procedure), Article XV, of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.