Can My House be Sold at Sheriff’s Sale in the Middle of Winter?

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If you’ve failed to make your mortgage payment  (even for one month) – you should know that your bank or lender can start the foreclosure process at any time. Typically, they won’t file for foreclosure unless you have missed at least 3 payments, but each lender is different.

Typically, though, after your first missed mortgage payment, you’ve probably got around 3 months until the foreclosure process starts. Luckily, New Jersey is a judicious foreclosure state, which means that all of our foreclosures go through the court system. There are many homes in foreclosure at the present, creating a substantial backlog, and giving you (most likely) more time to find a suitable place to live when the foreclosure is complete.

Your bank or lender is required by law to send you official notice of their intent to foreclose, and they must do so at least 30 days before they file a Foreclosure Complaint with the court. A Complaint is a lawsuit that someone is initiating against you. This particular lawsuit is brought against you when you fail to pay back the money you borrowed for your home.

The court will send you a copy of the Complaint when it is filed. You may choose to do nothing, if you are in agreement with the lender foreclosing on your property. You can also submit an Answer to the Complaint that is not contesting the foreclosure. The court system will then move your foreclosure case to the administrative processing part of foreclosures in New Jersey. Here, a judge will closely examine all of your foreclosure paperwork to ensure that everything is included and is as it should be. If so, the case will be decided in the favor of your lender.

Will my lender kick me out of my home in the middle of winter?

The short answer to that is: if your house has been properly foreclosed upon and the court has entered a judgement giving your lender the rights to your home, they can sell the property whenever they want.

There are some lenders who, in order to avoid bad press, will wait until after the December holidays to start proceedings for a Sheriff’s Sale, especially if there are children in your family. Additionally, they must advertise the Sheriff’s Sale for a month (4 weeks) in at least one newspaper that is local to your home.

Most lenders today are dealing with a multitude of foreclosures at any given time, which means they probably won’t schedule the sale of your home immediately, allowing you an even longer period of time to find a place to live.

New Jersey has the unfortunate ‘honor’ of having the 2nd highest number of foreclosures in the U.S., second only to New York. Because of the struggling economy in recent years, there was a housing crisis because so many people could no longer afford to pay their mortgages. Due to this, even years later, New Jersey’s foreclosure courts are are still digging themselves out from under all of the foreclosures.

That means, that while nothing is certain, you’ll probably have a significant amount of time from the last mortgage payment you make and when you’ll actually have to vacate your home. It could potentially be in any season of the year when it finally happens, though, so you should prepare yourself and secure a new place to live (or someone to stay with) way ahead of schedule. You can also fight to stay in your home if your circumstances change for the better. In that case, you should contact an attorney experienced in foreclosure defense immediately.

Image credit: zenjazzygeek

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2 Responses to Can My House be Sold at Sheriff’s Sale in the Middle of Winter?

  1. Pingback: Negotiated an Agreement with Someone? Put it IN WRITING. | Veitengruber Law

  2. Pingback: Cancelled Flight? Know Your Rights! | Veitengruber Law

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