Foreclosure: Definition, process and Next Steps

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Foreclosure: Definition, process and Next Steps,, imagine 1

Others have changed hands so many times that it is difficult to determine who actually owns them. As a result, it is often difficult for mortgagors to modify the terms of their mortgage. Similarly, mortgagees might have trouble proving that they own a mortgage they want to foreclose on.


The method of alerting a borrower of the threat of eviction varies based on your state. A letter or warning typically gives residents a period of time (usually between 3 and 30 days) in which they have to vacate the premises. Up until the time your house is scheduled for auction, there might still be a chance to halt the process. Many people feel intimidated by calling their lender and would rather avoid this uncomfortable situation by putting it off, but that can only hurt you in the long run.

Meaning of foreclosure in English

If a lender does not seek a deficiency judgment, a foreclosure can relieve your financial burden. Although it is a loss when a lender takes the home you partially paid for, it can be a start to rebuild your finances. Thirty-eight states allow financial institutions to pursue deficiency judgments against borrowers for this money. Foreclosures often result from a loan default when the borrower stops making payments.

Foreclosure is simply the legal process a creditor uses to take back ownership of a house if a borrower defaults on a loan. If you’re wondering not just how to define foreclosure, but what foreclosure means for you, read on. A foreclosure by civil action differs from a power of sale foreclosure. A foreclosure by civil action is filed in either district or superior court depending on the value of the real property subject to foreclosure. The procedure for a sale in a foreclosure by civil action is contained in Article 29A in Chapter 1 of the North Carolina General Statutes. A judge in a foreclosure by civil action has broader jurisdiction and authority than the clerk does in a power of sale foreclosure.

Guide to foreclosures

The notice of hearing must be served on borrowers, record property owners, and anyone else required under the deed of trust. The notice must be served in any manner provided by the Rules of Civil Procedure for services of summons, including service by the sheriff or certified mail, return receipt requested. If a party cannot be personally served, the sheriff can serve it by posting a copy of the notice in a conspicuous place and manner upon the real property.

  • If you’re in a financial situation where paying is hard, or impossible, let your lender know.
  • CFI is the official provider of the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst.
  • Following the auction and sale of your home, you’ll generally have a few days to gather your belongings and move to a new residence.
  • Refinancing your loan into a more affordable payment can help you avoid defaulting on your loan.
  • Even though a judicial foreclosure is a type of court proceeding, you won’t have an attorney assigned to you.
  • You should be aware that foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams exist.

In New Zealand, as in England, say, the land title database is now electronic so there are no paper „title documents”. The mortgage holder can usually initiate foreclosure at a time specified in the mortgage documents, typically some period of time after a default condition occurs. In the United States, Canada and many other countries, several types of foreclosure exist. In the US for example, two of them—namely, by judicial sale and by power of sale—are widely used, but other modes are possible in a few other U.S. states.

Foreclosure Center

Other types of foreclosure are considered minor because of their limited availability. Should the mortgagor fail to do so, the mortgage holder gains the title to the property with no obligation to sell it. This type of foreclosure is generally available only when the value of the property is less than the debt („under water”).

What happens when you foreclose?

Foreclosure is what happens when you can't pay your mortgage and the lender takes over owning your home. The lender then sells your home to pay off what you owe them. You have no control over how the home is sold and will be given notice to leave the property, sometimes even before it's sold.

When you sign a deed in lieu, you voluntarily give your lender the deed to your home. In a non-judicial foreclosure, the lender automatically issues you a notice of default (NOD) via certified mail, which is also recorded with the county registrar. This tells you how much you owe, including past due amounts, late fees and foreclosure costs. Once you receive the NOD, you typically have 90 days to repay what you owe or work with your lender to come up with a repayment agreement. Acceleration is a clause that is usually found in Sections 16, 17, or 18 of a typical mortgage in the US.

Borrowers considering potential defenses to a foreclosure should consult an attorney licensed in North Carolina. Under North Carolina law, a homeowners’ association or a condominium owners’ association may file a claim of lien on real property when a homeowner does not pay assessments as required under restrictive covenants (declaration). The procedure for filing and foreclosing a claim of lien is set forth in North Carolina General Statute §47F for homeowners’ associations and North Carolina General Statute §47C for condominium owners’ associations. The association, acting through the executive board, may foreclosure the claim of lien in a like manner as a mortgage or deed of trust under power of sale as provided under Art. 2 in Chapter 45 of the General Statutes.

GOBankingRates spoke with some real estate experts to find out why foreclosures are rising and what they think will happen next. Forclosure is never a good sign — back in 2008 and 2009, it was a stark symbol of the Great Recession. This current data set shows a 7% increase from April, but twice that much from 2022, with 14% by comparison. However, taking into account all that foreclosures mean, analysts can use the data to predict real estate trends going forward. Find pre-foreclosures, foreclosure auctions, and bank-owned properties in your area. Contact your lender as soon as you have concerns about missing a payment, even before you’ve missed a payment.

Most states require mortgagees to sell foreclosed property at public auction. If the property does not sell at auction, the mortgagee keeps it, and later resells it in a normal real estate sale. State laws vary regarding what happens if foreclosed property sells for less than the mortgagor’s unpaid debt. In every state, if the property sells for more than the mortgagor’s unpaid debt, the mortgagor gets the difference.


A mortgage is a contract that requires the borrower to make monthly payments, usually for a term of  15 or 30 years. If the borrower gets behind on payments, the lender can take the house back. The good news is that it’s possible to get another mortgage after a foreclosure, just not immediately.

The foreclosure process and timeline

Forbearance lets you pause your mortgage payments when you’re experiencing financial hardships, like if you lose your job or are saddled with large amounts of medical debt. If your lender allows you to do this, they’ll agree to reduce or pause your monthly payments for a set period of time until you can save up enough money to restart your regular payments. Unlike credit card debt, which is an unsecured loan, a mortgage is a real estate secured loan that uses your home as the collateral. That’s what allows your lender to start proceedings if you miss multiple payments. Between the notice of default and sale of the home, the borrower can pay what’s owed to stop the foreclosure process.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Upgrading to a paid membership gives you access to our extensive collection of plug-and-play Templates designed to power your performance—as well as CFI’s full course catalog and accredited Certification Programs. Understanding foreclosure and how it works is key to avoid losing your home. Borrowers who work with their lender may be able to keep their home, or at least emerge from foreclosure with finances relatively intact. Military members or veterans can call the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or visit the VA’s home loan website to get personalized assistance.

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