In some states, foreclosures can take a very long time, sometimes as long as a few years. According to a 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 930 days in the first quarter of 2021. In states with prolonged timelines, a foreclosure might take as long as five years or so.
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:
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.)
Depending on the state and circumstances, a foreclosure will be either judicial or nonjudicial.
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.
In a nonjudicial foreclosure, the lender doesn't have to go through court to foreclose. For this reason, nonjudicial foreclosures are often faster than judicial ones.
Another reason that some states have long timelines is due to federal and state foreclosure prevention efforts.
To learn about your options if you are facing foreclosure, get Nolo's The Foreclosure Survival Guide.
As of the first quarter of 2021, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, foreclosures in the following states took an exceptionally long time.
As of the first quarter of 2021, Arizona had the most extended timeline, coming in at 1,939 days (over five years).
The foreclosure process in New Jersey took (on average) 1,764 days.
New York had the third-longest foreclosure timeline, averaging 1,691 days.
Foreclosures in Pennsylvania took around 1,654 days to complete.
The Hawaii foreclosure process took, on average, 1,650 days.
On the flip side, as of the first quarter of 2021, West Virginia's foreclosure process was quick, averaging 48 days. Montana (76 days), Nebraska (112 days), Mississippi (132 days), and Missouri (189 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.