Staying in Your House After Foreclosure Proceedings Start

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The length of time the defaulting homeowner can remain in the home once the foreclosure process begins varies from state to state. However, no matter what jurisdiction, legally the homeowner is not required to immediately move out until after receiving legal notification of the foreclosure.

Staying in the Foreclosed House

The homeowner may remain in the home until he receives notification of the sheriff’s sale. This notice will include the date and time of the sale. Until then, a homeowner remains the legal owner of the home since title to the house has not yet transferred to a new owner. Once this happens, the defaulting homeowner no longer has any rights of possession. After transfer of title, he can wait until a sheriff arrives at the home to remove him from the premises, or he may vacate following the sale.

Eviction by the New Owner

Once the new owner receives title, he has the right to begin eviction proceedings. It only takes 14-30 days to complete the eviction process. In most states, once the paperwork is completed and approved, the new owner has the legal right to serve a 3-day “Notice to Quit”. After the 3-day notice period ends, the sheriff may show up within several days, or within several weeks.

Homeowner’s Next Step After Losing His House

Because the defaulting homeowner had not been paying his mortgage during this time, he should save as much money as possible. He will need it for a rental security deposit, utility deposits, and other service deposits such as cable. Unfortunately, with a foreclosure on his credit report, rental and most other deposits tend to be much higher than normal. Moreover it might be difficult to get approved for an apartment rental as well. It is best that this defaulting homeowner learn more about his rights in the foreclosure process, by contacting a real estate attorney in the area where the house is located. 

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