How Do You Foreclose on a House?


Quick Answer

Failing to make mortgage payments can lead to foreclosure, the process of which varies from state to state, according to Nolo. Some states require lenders to file a lawsuit to foreclose, whereas other states allow nonjudicial foreclosure, which does not require court supervision.

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Full Answer

Foreclosure legally enables a lender or investor to sell a house to recoup the money loaned to the defaulting borrower, explains Nolo. The foreclosing party usually sends a notice through mail to inform a homeowner about the start of foreclosure proceedings if he fails to make the necessary past-due payments within 30 days. In some states, homeowners can avoid foreclosure through preforeclosure mediation.

In a judicial foreclosure, the foreclosing party files a lawsuit as a plaintiff and sends a complaint copy to the homeowner, who must respond to the lawsuit within a limited period, states Nolo. The foreclosing party wins the case and sets a sale date if the homeowner fails to respond to the lawsuit. Lenders typically publish a notice of the foreclosure sale in local newspapers before starting the sale.

Homeowners often own their properties until the foreclosure sale, which means they can stay in their homes until the sale period, notes Nolo. Some states allow homeowners to continue staying in their homes until the expiration of the redemption period or an action such as sale ratification takes place.

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