The home foreclosure process varies from state to state. Some states have non-judicial foreclosure, in which the lender must follow a distinct series of steps to legally foreclose. In other states, a judicial foreclosure process exists meaning that a case is field in court  by the lender and a judgment is handed down. Some states have both options, and which one is used depends on the clauses included in the mortgage document.

Many homeowners who are facing foreclosure come to think that the bank or mortgage company would like nothing better than to take their home away from them. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, your home is worth much more to the lender if you keep it and make payments. They profit from getting the loan repaid, not from foreclosing on your home which costs them money and time and leaves them with property which must be disposed of.

Typically, the mortgage foreclosure process starts when you miss the third consecutive payment and the lender takes legal action. In judicial foreclosure states, a case is filed with the court and a judgment handed down. Then an auction date is set and a notice of sale is published.

In a non-judicial state, multiple attempts are made to collect the amount needed to bring the account current, followed by a demand letter being sent via attorney. If this letter yields no response, a notice of default is filed with the court in the county where the property is located. Twenty to thirty days later, if the borrower has not responded, a notice of sale may be filed and a sheriff's auction date will be determined.

In judicial foreclosure states, the borrower has the right to attempt arrangements to regain control of their mortgage through refinancing, loan modification, or other methods. Usually this right extends up to the date of sale, although in some states it expires five days prior to the sale. Once the sale is complete, the borrower has no rights. The lender may also be allowed to seek a deficiency judgment against the former homeowner for the difference between the amount owed and the amount recovered through the sale of the home.

In a non-judicial state, the borrower often can still reclaim the property through certain channels for one to three months after a sale. There is also commonly no option for the lender to seek a deficiency judgment. In all states, the eviction process is completely separate from the foreclosure process.

Stopping the mortgage foreclosure process is not difficult in the early stages when there are many different options open to you. Left unattended to, however, the situation can escalate and avenues you can take start becoming blocked off. If you can be proactive and take action on your part before foreclosure starts in earnest, you can often secure more favorable results than if you wait until things are at crisis stage. The best route is to stay on top of your affairs, and act quickly at the first sign that you are about to stop being able to make payments. A lawyer versed in the home foreclosure process can be invaluable in negotiating the best possible deal.

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