Foreclosure In California: How Long Does It Take?

21 Jun Foreclosure In California: How Long Does It Take?

Sometimes it’s just not worth trying to save your property from foreclosure. When your house is now worth less than you owe, and the mortgage has gone up because of an interest adjustment, it just doesn’t make sense to keep it.

So now what? Well, the good news is that the foreclosure process in California takes a while, and you can stay in the house during the process and not pay the mortgage. You’re losing the house anyway, so not making your payments isn’t going to affect that.

First of all, you will receive a Notice of Default from the trustee company or mortgage servicer doing the foreclosure. Ninety days will go by without much happening. Then the foreclosure company will post a Notice of Sale. They have to tell you when that sale is and it has to be at least 21 days after they file the notice.

If the property is sold at the foreclosure sale, whoever purchases it will serve you with a three-day notice to quit. If you don’t move, they will then serve a complaint for Unlawful Detainer. You will have five days to file an answer. Assuming you don’t file an answer, then, and only then, can they get a judgment and a writ of possession to get the sheriff to “help you move.” That last process takes time too, and the sheriff will almost always give you another week after posting the notice.

So, adding all of above up, with you doing absolutely nothing, you get to stay in the house for a minimum of four and a half to five months from that first Notice of Default. And often, there is a delay between the sale of the property and the three-day notice to start the eviction process extending the period even longer.

If you’re faced with this situation, the best advice is to seek competent counsel knowledgeable about the process in your area. Who knows: maybe there are other alternatives to losing the house in the first place?

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Douglas Jacobs is a California bankruptcy attorney and partner in the Chico law firm of Jacobs, Anderson, Potter & Chaplin. Since 1988, Mr. Jacobs has taught Constitutional law and Debtor-Creditor/Bankruptcy law at the Cal Northern School of Law. He has served as Dean of Students since 1994. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject of consumer bankruptcy law, and has spoken at both state and national levels.
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