Foreclosure is a process that allows a lender to recover the amount owed on a defaulted loan by selling or taking ownership (repossession) of the property securing the loan. The foreclosure process begins when a borrower/owner defaults on loan payments and the lender files a public default notice or a lis pendens (Latin for “lawsuit pending”) – depending on the state. The default notice is a public record, and for buyers it’s the first step in locating a property in foreclosure.
The foreclosure process can end one of four ways:
1. The borrower/owner pays off the default amount to reinstate the loan during a grace period known as pre-foreclosure.
2. The borrower/owner sells the property to a third party during pre-foreclosure, allowing the borrower/owner to pay off the loan and avoid having a foreclosure on his or her credit history.
3. A third party buys the property at a public auction at the end of the pre-foreclosure period.
4. The lender takes ownership of the property, usually with the intent to re-sell. The lender can take ownership through an agreement with the borrower/owner during pre-foreclosure or by buying back the property at the public auction.
Eric P. Egeland, SFR, CDPE, e-PRO