Getting served with foreclosure papers is nerve-wracking. Your biggest concern will likely be how much time you have left in your home, and this can cause a tremendous amount of stress. Knowing exactly what’s going to happen will be a huge help in reducing your overall anxiety.
This foreclosure timeline outlines the three main phases of the process, preparing you for each step should you find yourself in this situation. When you know what to expect, you can make the best decisions for your future.
Phase 1: Pre-foreclosure
Pre-foreclosure happens when you’ve missed 1-3 months’ worth of your mortgage payments. Even though you’re behind, you’re not in foreclosure yet and no papers will be served. During this time period, you’ll probably receive a lot of unpleasant phone calls from the bank’s debt collectors looking for their money.
It’s important to remember that the actual foreclosure process doesn’t begin until your bank sends you a Notice Of Default. You’ll know when this happens because someone will show up at your home with papers in hand. Once you’ve been served a summons and complaint by the lender, you’ll officially be in foreclosure.
In most cases, it will take about 3-4 months of consecutive missed payments for a Notice of Default to be filed.
Phase 2: Foreclosure
The official foreclosure process begins the day the Notice of Default is filed and you’re served with a summons and complaint. In New Jersey, you’ll have roughly 9 months to over 1 year until the foreclosure process is actually completed by the bank.
During this time, you’ll be required to file an answer to the complaint or continue into default of your loan. The lender will apply for a final judgment in the case, which can take anywhere from 2-3 months to complete. A Sheriff Sale will then be scheduled, where your house will be auctioned. This typically takes an additional 2-3 months. Once the house is sold, it will be about another 60 days until you’ll be forced to leave your property.
What Are Your Options?
The good news is that you do have options when facing foreclosure. Choosing to stay in the home until the foreclosure process ends, while not the best plan, is an option. If you really just want to rid yourself of the property and move on with your life, a short sale is another option.
A short sale of your house can help you avoid foreclosure, settle your debts and save your credit. You can start to rebuild your life and leave the stress behind—and stop the harassing phone calls from debt collectors.
If you’d like more information on what the short sale process entails, I’d be happy to talk with you and connect you with my team of attorney to guide you through the next steps.