Foreclosure / How To Stop Foreclosure / When Is It Too Late

When Is It Too Late To Stop A Foreclosure? 4 Things To Know

Written by Ben Tejes
Updated Oct 11th, 2023
This article is for informational purposes only. Ascend does not provide legal advice, and are not attorneys. If you'd like to speak with a bankruptcy attorney that serves your city, you can speak with one in a free consultation.

You can potentially stop a foreclosure sale up until the auction date, but it may depend on the state, so if it's helpful, you can get a free consultation with a local attorney to consult on this matter.

This means you could walk up to the auction with a solution, and the foreclosure will be stopped immediately, pending the solution falling through. There are many things you can do to stall or stop the foreclosure auction, which we will look at more. Keep reading to see when and how you can stop the foreclosure on your house. 

How do I know it's too late to stop a foreclosure from happening?

So, we know that there are ways to stall and stop a foreclosure, but you may be wondering if there is a time at which you can no longer take action. The answer is yes, but you may be surprised how late into the process you can stall or stop a foreclosure. 

In fact, up until the new purchasers of the property sign, all of their paperwork, and the deed is officially transferred, you can still stop the foreclosure. However, the earlier you start communicating and working with your lender, the better. Lenders are typically more willing to work with you if you reach out to them before you ever even miss a payment. 

What is foreclosure?

Times have been tougher than normal lately, and when you have a mortgage on a home, any small change in your financial situation can be the difference between staying in your home and having your home foreclosed. There are many different ways that you can stall or stop a foreclosure, but you may be wondering how long you have until it's too late to save your house. This article will cover what a foreclosure is, the process of foreclosure, and how you can stop it before it's too late. 

Foreclosure is a legal proceeding in which the lender seizes and resells a home after the borrower fails to make payments on the mortgage for a certain period of time. There are many different situations that can lead to missed mortgage payments — illness, disability, job loss, divorce just to name a few. 

When these pop up, they may cause delinquent mortgage payments, at which time your lender has the authority to demand full payment of the mortgage, and can begin issuing notices that demand payment and let the borrower know that foreclosure is a possibility if payments aren’t made. 

What is the foreclosure process?

There is a pretty straightforward process that happens after you miss your mortgage payment, though the times may vary based on your state and your lender. Let’s take a look at the process of foreclosure:

  1. On the day that you miss your first mortgage payment, the lender will begin tracking your account. 30 days after your missed payments, most states require your lender to try and contact you to inform you of any loss mitigation options that may be available to you (we will cover those in a second).
  2. After 120 days have passed from the first missed payment, lenders are now able to send what is known as a notice of default. This notice outlines the payments you have missed, the length of time, and the lender’s intent to pursue foreclosure on your property. It’s important to note that these times change based on what state you are living in. Make sure you are aware of your state’s timeline, especially since a lender who files for foreclosure early could have their lawsuit dismissed. 
  3. After the notice of default, you are officially in pre-foreclosure. During this time, the lender is preparing to file a lawsuit to foreclose. If you are able to, this may be a time where you and your lender work together to figure out an alternative way to pay back what you owe. Make sure you are communicating with your lender during this time. 
  4. If you and the lender are not able to figure out an alternative method of paying off your mortgage, and the court grants the order to sell, then the lender will begin auctioning off the property. There are some requirements that the lender has to follow, and this process can take three weeks or longer. During this time, you can still stop the foreclosure from happening — which we will cover in a minute.
  5. If you are unable to stop the auction, and the house sells, you are officially in post-foreclosure. This means that the house has been sold and you can no longer stop the foreclosure. If you are still living in the foreclosed property, you will be served a notice of eviction.

We know that certain circumstances can keep you from being able to stay on top of your mortgage payments, but one of the best things you can do, if you are able, communicate with your lender to figure out a way to avoid foreclosure. We are going to cover some of the ways that you can stall or stop a foreclosure. 

Are there ways to stop a foreclosure?

The only way to fully stop a foreclosure is to catch up on your payments and then continue making your expected monthly mortgage payments. There are ways, however, to stall a foreclosure so that you can get back on top of your finances. Let’s take a look at some of those options:

  • Loan Modification: Work with your lender to see if they can modify your loan. This could look like stretching out the length of time you pay off the mortgage, making your monthly payments less. It could also look like adding your missed payments to the end of your loan so that you can continue making normal payments without having to worry about the missed payments immediately. 
  • Forbearance: Your lender may be open to forbearance if you can show them that the reason you cannot make your monthly payments is a circumstance that won’t be permanent. If you have a sudden debilitating illness, you’ve been let go from your job, or you have a temporary disability, your lender may allow you to miss payments for a few months, or pay less, in an effort to keep you from defaulting on your loan. 
  • Repayment Plan: It's possible that your lender will agree to break up your missed payments and add the sum to your monthly payments over a span of time. This will allow you to pay off your missed payments over a period of time, instead of all at once upfront. 
  • Sell Your Home: It may be a difficult decision, but if your home is a luxury that you can’t necessarily afford, it may be worth putting the home back on the market. Depending on what you owe and how much the home is worth, you may end up on top of this situation, meaning you could make money off of the sale, even after paying back your loan and missed payments. 
  • File For BankruptcyThough this method is tricky and intricate, filing for bankruptcy does put an automatic stay on all of your lenders, meaning they cannot pursue you for debt while the bankruptcy is in progress. The lender can ask for a lift of the stay, at which time you would once again be responsible for the payments. 

What Would I Have To Pay If I did Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

One of the most important questions to consider with Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to understand the monthly cost and see whether it's feasible to catch up on your house in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.

As such, we built the following free Chapter 13 calculator to help you estimate the all-in monthly cost of Chapter 13 bankruptcy to help you stop foreclosure.

These are just a few options you have to stall your foreclosure. As you can see, most of them require you to fully communicate with your lender. Unlike other kinds of debt (like credit card debt, hospital bills, etc.) ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Talk with your lender and see what options are available to you. If you are looking for a way to immediately stop the foreclosure from proceeding, even for a short period of time, check out our article on ways to bring your foreclosure to a halt.