In some states, foreclosures can take a very long time—sometimes as long as a few years. Read on to learn which states have lengthy foreclosure timelines and the factors that influence how long a foreclosure might take. (To learn what to do, and what not to do, in a foreclosure, see Foreclosure Do’s and Don’ts.)
According to a midyear U.S. Foreclosure Market Report from ATTOM Data Solutions, the average number of days for a foreclosure—between the first public notice of foreclosure and the end of the foreclosure—was a lengthy 685 days in the second quarter of 2020. In states with prolonged timelines, a foreclosure might take as long as four years or even more.
If you're facing foreclosure in a state where it takes a considerable amount of time to complete the process, you'll probably have plenty of time before losing your home to:
Depending on the state and circumstances, a foreclosure will be either nonjudicial or judicial.
In a nonjudicial foreclosure, the lender doesn't have to go through court to foreclose.
Judicial foreclosures go through the state court system, which means the courts are involved in every step of the foreclosure. As a result, a judicial foreclosure often takes a lot longer than a nonjudicial one. Backlogged courts, judges’ schedules, hearings, and required paperwork all contribute to a prolonged process. Courts are often unable to process large volumes of foreclosures in an expedited manner. (To learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see Will Your Foreclosure Take Place In or Out of Court?)
Another reason that some states have long timelines is due to foreclosure prevention efforts by the government.
To learn about your options if you are facing foreclosure, get Nolo's The Foreclosure Survival Guide.
As of the second quarter of 2020, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, foreclosures in the following states took an exceptionally long time.
As of the second quarter of 2020, Hawaii had the most extended timeline, coming in at 1,558 days (over four years).
The foreclosure process in Louisiana took, on average, 1,341 days.
New York had the third-longest foreclosure timeline, averaging 1,242 days.
Foreclosures in New Jersey took around 1,202 days to complete.
The Indiana foreclosure process took, on average, 1,033 days.
On the flip side, as of the second quarter of 2020, Arkansas's foreclosure process was relatively quick, averaging 181 days. Minnesota (212 days), Arizona (233 days), West Virginia (254 days), and Michigan (265 days) also had shorter timelines.
If you live in a state where foreclosures tend to take a long time and you're about to go through one, you likely will have plenty of time to apply for—and hopefully get—an alternative to foreclosure. Though, keep in mind that the timelines discussed in this article are averages. The actual length of any individual foreclosure depends on a number of factors, and your foreclosure could be longer or shorter than the state average. To find out how long a foreclosure is likely to take in your circumstances and get advice specific to your situation, consider talking to a local foreclosure attorney.