If you stop making your mortgage loan payments, the bank may use a process called foreclosure to sell your home and use the proceeds to repay the amount you borrowed (plus fees and costs). Though, after you lose your home at a foreclosure sale to a new owner—a third party or the foreclosing bank—you might be able to get the property back afterwards. Some states permit foreclosed homeowners to buy the home back after a foreclosure by “redeeming” it during what’s called a “redemption period.” Read on to learn more.
While all states allow a borrower to redeem the home before a foreclosure sale, only certain states provide time after the sale for homeowners to redeem their property. This right is called a "statutory" right of redemption because the amount of time allowed to redeem and the right itself arises solely from state statutes.
How does a statutory right of redemption work? Statutory rights of redemption grant borrowers a certain period of time after a foreclosure during which they may reclaim the property by paying the foreclosure sale price or, in some cases, the full amount owed to the bank, plus certain other allowable charges.
Benefits to borrowers. Statutory redemption laws give the borrowers more time to obtain the funds needed to reclaim the home, and, sometimes, the redemption period gives the borrowers additional time to live in the property before they can be evicted.
A statutory redemption period aims to ensure a fair price at the foreclosure sale. The right of redemption attempts to ensure that bidders at the foreclosure sale will bid a fair price because a higher winning bid at the foreclosure sale reduces the likelihood of the former owner’s redeeming the property. In reality, though, redemption statutes may chill bidding at the foreclosure sale because the purchaser must wait for the statutory redemption time to expire before they officially own the property, thus reducing the price a purchaser is willing to pay for the property.
The length of the statutory redemption period varies from state to state, and not all states provide one. When available, the redemption period generally ranges from thirty days to a year.
In most states that provide a post-sale redemption period, certain factors may change the length of the redemption period. For example:
To learn find out if your state’s laws provide borrowers with a post-sale right of redemption, see our Key Aspects of State Foreclosure Law: 50-State Chart.
In order to redeem, a foreclosed homeowner usually has to pay either:
Generally, to redeem the property after a foreclosure sale, the foreclosed homeowner must give a written notice of redemption to:
Then, the former homeowner must pay the redemption amount to the buyer, court, or other party. State law normally says what information has to go in the notice of redemption and who gets the redemption money.
Most people who go through a foreclosure have trouble finding enough money to redeem their home afterwards. Instead of waiting until after the sale to try to keep your home, consider applying for help before the sale takes place. Most banks offer loss mitigation (foreclosure avoidance options) like modifications—including Flex Modifications for borrowers with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans—to borrowers who are struggling to make their mortgage payments.
But you must apply for help before the foreclosure sale. It's a good idea to apply for a foreclosure avoidance option as early in the process as possible. Under federal mortgage servicing laws, if you submit a complete application more than 37 days before a sale, the servicer generally has to put the foreclosure on hold while it evaluates your application.
To learn whether state law provides a post-sale redemption period where you live and in your situation, consider talking to a local foreclosure attorney. If you need information about different ways to avoid a foreclosure sale, consider talking to a HUD-approved housing counselor.