Your Options After the Foreclosure Sale

Learn what you can do after the foreclosure sale, from staying in the home for a certain period of time to buying the home back.

If your home was recently sold in a foreclosure sale, but you haven’t yet moved out (or if you’re currently going through a foreclosure), you may want to know what happens next. Some homeowners quickly leave the home after the home is sold. However, depending on your circumstances and your state’s laws, you may have other options to either stay in the home for a longer period of time, get money to move out sooner, or even buy back the home.

Redeeming the Home

Some states permit a foreclosed homeowner to buy back the home within a certain period of time after the sale. This is called a redemption period. To redeem the home, you would have to pay the total purchase price, plus interest, and any allowable costs, to the purchaser who bought it at the foreclosure sale. (Learn more general information about the right of redemption.)

The deadline and procedures for exercising a right of redemption varies from state to state, and not all states provide a redemption period after the sale. (Find out whether your state has a redemption period after the foreclosure and, if so, how long the redemption period lasts, in Nolo’s State Foreclosure Laws area.)

Getting Help to Buy Back the Home

In order to redeem, the former homeowner has to come up with another source of financing. However, getting a bank to lend you money after a foreclosure can be very difficult, even if you have a steady income, since your credit score will have taken a bit hit.

There are some special programs available to help homeowners in this type of situation. For example, a program called Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) offered by a nonprofit organization helps foreclosed homeowners in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Rhode Island by purchasing foreclosed properties and then reselling those properties back to the former homeowners, usually at current fair market value, with a new fixed-rate 30-year mortgage. (Learn more about the SUN program.)

Live in the Home During the Redemption Period for Free

If your state provides a redemption period after the sale, you often have the right to live in the home payment-free during this time period. For example, in Michigan, most homeowners get a six-month redemption period (up to a year in some cases) during which time they can live in the home.

By staying in the home during the redemption period, you can save money by living payment-free. This way you can use the money that you otherwise would have spent on housing to pay other bills and start rebuilding your credit.

Remaining in the Home as a Tenant

In some cases, you may be able to remain in the home as a tenant after the foreclosure sale. For example, Freddie Mac offers a program that allows recently foreclosed homeowners to rent their home on a month-to-month basis until they can find a new place to live or the home is sold. (You can learn more about this program, called the Freddie Mac REO Rental Initiative, at the Freddie Mac website. If you want to find out if Freddie Mac owns your loan, go to www.freddiemac.com/mymortgage or call 1-800-Freddie.)

Live in the Home Until You’re Evicted

If you don’t move out after the purchaser gets title to the home (typically either after the sale or after the redemption period), the new owner (often the foreclosing party) will start eviction proceedings to remove you from the property. The length and procedures for the eviction process varies from state to state. In some cases, the foreclosing party can include the eviction as part of the foreclosure action (depending on your state's law and the circumstances of your case), while in other instances, it will have to file a separate eviction action with the court.

You may receive a notice prior to the start of the eviction (called a Notice to Quit), which gives you a certain amount of time (for example, three days) to leave the home before the eviction officially starts. While you can stay in the home until you’re forcibly removed through the eviction process, it is generally best to leave the property before this time period expires. (You can learn more about eviction in our Evictions and Terminations area.)

Getting a Cash for Keys Deal

To avoid having to complete an eviction, the purchaser may offer you a “cash for keys” deal. With this arrangement, you agree to leave the home by a certain date, and in good condition. In exchange, the purchaser gives you a specified amount of cash to help pay for your relocation costs.

You can request a cash for keys agreement if the purchaser doesn’t offer you one.

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