While the overall housing market in many places has recovered following the mortgage crisis, homeowners in many areas still face foreclosure. In certain states, a foreclosure can take a very long time to be completed—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 may take.
Even though data shows that the number of foreclosures is dipping, foreclosure timelines are getting longer.
According to RealtyTrac—an online marketplace for foreclosure properties and real estate data—the timeline for the foreclosure process reached a record high in 2017. Based on the data, it took on average:
In fact, there are multiple states where a foreclosure takes more than a year to complete and, in the states with the longest timelines, a foreclosure can often take as long as more than three years.
This means that if you a facing foreclosure in a state where it takes a considerable amount of time to complete the process, you will have plenty of time before the foreclosure is done to:
To learn about your options if you are facing foreclosure, get Nolo's The Foreclosure Survival Guide.
Nonjudicial foreclosure. If you’re in a nonjudicial foreclosure state, the lender does not have to go through the state court system to foreclose.
Judicial foreclosure. Judicial foreclosures go through the state court system, which means the courts are involved in every step of the foreclosure. As a result, the judicial foreclosure process 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 simply unable to process a large volume of foreclosures in an expedited manner.
To learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see our Judicial v. Nonjudicial Foreclosure topic area.
Another reason that certain states have long timelines is due to foreclosure prevention efforts by the government.
Foreclosure laws. California, Minnesota, and Nevada, for instance, all passed laws to increase homeowners' protections from foreclosure, which initially delayed the rate at which new foreclosures were initiated. (See California Foreclosure Protection: The Homeowner Bill of Rights, for example.) Now, however, lenders have gained efficiency in how they deal with these laws. Still, foreclosures can take a long time because lenders must comply with the requirements under these laws.
Mediation laws. During the foreclosure crisis, some states passed foreclosure mediation laws that delayed the foreclosure process. See our State Foreclosure Mediation section for more information.
Mortgage servicing laws changed in 2014. Federal laws that went into effect in 2014 added time to the pre-foreclosure period. A mortgage servicer generally cannot officially begin the process until the borrower is more than 120 days overdue on payments.
The following states currently took an exceptionally long time as of the second quarter of 2017 to complete the foreclosure process.
As of the second quarter of 2017, New Jersey had the longest timeline, coming in at 1,347 days (over three years).
The foreclosure process in Indiana took on average 1,259 days.
New York had the third-longest foreclosure timeline, averaging 1,255 days.
Foreclosures in Florida took around 1,203 days to complete.
The Illinois foreclosure process took on average 1,059 days.
To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in New Jersey, Indiana, New York, Florida, and Illinois, see our Key Aspects of State Foreclosure Law: 50-State Chart.
On the flip side, for the second quarter of 2017, the foreclosure process in Virginia was relatively quick, averaging 176 days. Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon, and North Carolina also had shorter timelines during this period, generally averaging several months to around a year to complete the process. To learn about the specific foreclosure laws in Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon, and North Carolina, see our Key Aspects of State Foreclosure Law: 50-State Chart.
To learn more about how foreclosure works, visit Nolo's Foreclosure area.