How Long Do You Have to Vacate After a Foreclosure?

The view from the street of a vacant foreclosed home.
Image Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

From start to finish, foreclosure can take many months. The process ends with an auction sale and a demand telling the homeowner to leave the property. The notice sets out how long you have to leave, typically between five and 30 days. If you don't leave by the deadline, the new owner can get an eviction order and the sheriff will forcibly remove you from the home.

How Foreclosure Works

By simple definition, a foreclosure is a process by which a lender takes possession of a property in order to satisfy a debt, usually a mortgage. Foreclosures are long, tedious legal proceedings that can take many months to complete. During the process, the homeowner has the right to remain in the home. The state of residence determines the timing of the foreclosure. States that operate judicial foreclosures require the lender to go to court, which slows down the process and can add more time for the homeowner to remain in the home.

Foreclosure Timeline

Foreclosure starts with a default. The bank usually calls or sends a letter after the first missed payment. By month two, the bank will step up its efforts to contact the homeowner. By month three, if there have been no payments, the bank will issue a demand letter, also called a notice to accelerate. This letter gives the homeowner 30 days to get her payments current. Nonpayment results in the start of legal proceedings.

Date of Sale

The lender's attorney files a foreclosure action if the homeowner resides in a judicial foreclosure state. After the filing, the homeowner has 20 to 30 days to respond. If the homeowner does not contest, then the sale will go through, usually within a month of the court order. In an nonjudicial state, the homeowner receives 15 to 30 days' notice before the public sale, depending on the state. During this time, a homeowner can still reclaim his home by bringing all payments current and paying the lender's attorney fees. Usually, several months pass between the demand letter and the public sale of the home.

Eviction After Foreclosure

After the public seller the homeowner receives a notice to vacate the property within, typically, five and 30 days. If you do not leave within that time time frame, a court may order an eviction notice. This allows the sheriff to physically remove you from the property. Eviction court orders can take several months to execute which lets you stay in the home longer, but choosing this route can jeopardize your chances of leasing or renting a home in the future.

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