The Foreclosure Process: Understanding Foreclosures
The Foreclosure Process
Note: The following is a generalized breakdown of the foreclosure process.
A foreclosure occurs when a property owner cannot make principal and/or interest payments on his/her loan, typically leading to the property being seized and sold.
Stages of Foreclosure
The foreclosure process is not very difficult to understand. There are several stages during which the homeowner has an opportunity to bring the loan current and avoid foreclosure.
After about three to six months of missed payments, the lender orders a trustee to record a Notice of Default (NOD). At the County Recorder’s Office. This puts the borrower on notice that he or she is facing foreclosure and starts a reinstatement period that typically runs until five days before the home is auctioned off.
If the default isn't corrected (the loan must be brought current) within three months, a foreclosure sale date is established. The homeowner will receive a Notice of Sale, and this notice will also be posted on the property. In addition, the Notice of Sale is recorded at the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the property is located. Finally, this Notice of Sale is also published in newspapers local to the county in question over a three-week period.
The foreclosure Trustee Sale typically occurs on the steps of the county courthouse in which the property is located. The time and location of this sale are designated in the Notice of Sale. At the Trustee Sale, the property is auctioned in public to the highest bidder, who must pay the high bid price in cash, typically with a deposit up front and the remainder within 24 hours. The winner of the auction will then receive the trustee’s deed to the property.
At auction, an opening bid on the property is set by the foreclosing lender. This opening bid is usually equal to the outstanding loan balance, interest accrued, and any additional fees and attorney fees associated with the Trustee Sale. If there are no bids higher than the opening bid, the property will be purchased by the attorney conducting the sale, for the lender.
If this occurs, and the opening bid is not met, the property is deemed a REO or Real Estate Owned. This typically occurs because many of the properties up for sale at foreclosure auctions are worth less than the total amount owed to the bank or lender.
When you purchase property at a foreclosure sale, all junior liens other than property, State and Federal taxes are usually wiped out. Priority of liens is determined by the date of recording. When you purchase a REO aka. Bank REO, you will typically receive the property with a clean title.
California Foreclosure Law
Judicial Foreclosure Available: Yes
Non-Judicial Foreclosure Available: Yes
Primary Security Instruments: Deed of Trust, Mortgage
Timeline: Typically 120 days
Right of Redemption: Varies
Deficiency Judgments Allowed: Varies
In California, lenders may foreclose on deeds of trusts or mortgages in default using either a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process.
The judicial process of foreclosure, which involves filing a lawsuit to obtain a court order to foreclose, is used when no power of sale is present in the mortgage or deed of trust. Generally, after the court declares a foreclosure, your home will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Using this type of foreclosure process, lenders may seek a deficiency judgment and under certain circumstances, the borrower may have up to one (1) year to redeem the property.
The non-judicial process of foreclosure is used when a power of sale clause exists in a mortgage or deed of trust. A "power of sale" clause is the clause in a deed of trust or mortgage, in which the borrower pre-authorizes the sale of property to pay off the balance on a loan in the event of the their default. In deeds of trust or mortgages where a power of sale exists, the power given to the lender to sell the property may be executed by the lender or their representative, typically referred to as the trustee. Regulations for this type of foreclosure process are outlined below in the "Power of Sale Foreclosure Guidelines".
Power of Sale Foreclosure Guidelines
If the deed of trust or mortgage contains a power of sale clause and specifies the time, place and terms of sale, then the specified procedure must be followed. Otherwise, the non-judicial power of sale foreclosure is carried out as follows:
A notice of sale must be: 1) recorded in the county where the property is located at least fourteen (14) days prior to the sale; 2) mailed by certified, return receipt requested, to the borrower at least twenty (20) days before the sale; 3) posted on the property itself at least twenty (20) days before the sale; and 4) posted in one (1) public place in the county where the property is to be sold.
The notice of sale must contain the time and location of the foreclosure sale, as well as the property address, the trustee's name, address and phone number and a statement that the property will be sold at auction.
The borrower has up until five days before the foreclosure sale to cure the default and stop the process.
The sale may be held on any business day between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm and must take place at the location specified in the notice of sale. The trustee may require proof of the bidders ability to pay their full bid amount. Anyone may bid at the sale, which must be made at public auction to the highest bidder. If necessary, the sale may be postponed by announcement at the time and location of the original foreclosure sale.
Lenders may not seek a deficiency judgment after a non-judicial foreclosure sale and the borrower has no rights of redemption.