What Is a Foreclosure?

What Is a Foreclosure?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A foreclosure is a process that lenders use to claim property from borrowers who can’t continue to pay their loans. The process typically starts after a certain period of missed payments and could eventually lead to the lender taking over the property. The goal of a foreclosing party, usually a lender, is to recover the outstanding loan amount. After a foreclosure, the property is sold and proceeds from the sale are used to repay the loan amount. If there is any remaining balance, it is typically the responsibility of the borrower.

Related Questions

1. What happens during the foreclosure process?

During the foreclosure process, the borrower has a pre-determined period known as the pre-foreclosure to settle their loan defaults and prevent their property from being foreclosed. If the borrower cannot settle these payments, the lender then initiates the foreclosure process. The property is then auctioned or sold off to the highest bidder.

2. What’s the difference between being delinquent on your payments and going into foreclosure?

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Being delinquent on payments refers to a situation where a borrower fails to make timely payments on their loan. Foreclosure, on the other hand, is the process that occurs after prolonged delinquency, where the lender steps in to recuperate their money by selling off the property.

3. What rights do homeowners have during the foreclosure process?

Homeowners have various rights during the foreclosure process. They have a right to be notified about the foreclosure and the right to request loss mitigation options. They can contest the foreclosure if they believe they’ve been treated unfairly, and also have the right to remain in the home until the foreclosure process is complete.

4. Can foreclosure be avoided?

Yes, foreclosure can be avoided. Homeowners can get in touch with their lenders to discuss modifications to their loan terms, or possibly refinance the loan. Another option might be to sell the property themselves before foreclosure, to pay off the loan amount.

5. Does a foreclosure always mean the property will be auctioned off?

No, property doesn’t always have to be auctioned off during a foreclosure. The lender can choose to maintain ownership of the property, in which case it becomes a “real estate owned” property and is typically sold off in a private sale.