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When Do I Need To Move Out Of My Home?

Homeowners who are already delinquent in their monthly mortgage payments often suffer apprehension as to when their home will be foreclosed and when they need to move out of their homes. It is not uncommon to get questions such as: whether or not the bank can just come anytime and put a new lock on their home and refuse them access? Whether they homeowners will have time to get their personal belongings? Whether the bank will just put a “for sale” sign in front of their lawn and lock out the homeowners?

Depending on the state where you live, there are different time periods required by law before foreclosure can occur. In California, the most common is the extrajudicial foreclosure. It takes approximately 4 months for the whole extrajudicial foreclosure process to complete. For example, once a homeowner is delinquent, the bank will need to give a “notice of default” to the homeowner. Then 90 days is required before the trustee can then publish a notice of trustee’s sale. The home may then be sold at public auction no sooner than 20 days after recording of the Notice of Trustee’s Sale. Thus 110 days have to pass before the foreclosure process can complete.

This, of course, assumes that the mortgage bank will immediately foreclose on a homeowner’s property as soon as the homeowner is delinquent. Depending on the area where the home is located, and, also depending on the different mortgage lenders this does not necessarily happen right away. Thus, it is not uncommon for some homeowners to be already a year or two behind in their mortgage payments yet the mortgage lenders have not even initiated the foreclosure process. Some homeowners are actually getting away with living in their homes without paying their monthly mortgage for long periods of time though sooner or later it will catch up with them.  In the meantime, however, they are living mortgage-free and rent-free.  They do not need to move out right away.

For some homeowners who are in a situation where the value of their homes is already upside down, and they can no longer afford to make the monthly mortgage payments, it is sometimes just a strategic decision to stop paying and expect the foreclosure process to take place. If so, then it does make sense to also not move out of the home immediately. Before the bank actually initiates the foreclosure process, these homeowners are living month to month without paying their mortgage and without needing to pay rent too.  

Once a lender decides to foreclose on a property and a notice of default is issued to the homeowner then one should expect the foreclosure process to complete in approximately 4 months time.  This should give the homeowner more than adequate time to move out and make alternative living arrangements.

In a situation where the home has already been foreclosed yet the homeowner has not found alternative living arrangements, then the homeowner will still have a period of time to still live in the home if need be. Even if the home has already been foreclosed, the lender cannot just go in and lock you out of your home. Neither can they just put a “for sale” sign in front of your lawn. The homeowner who refuses to leave a foreclosed home will still need to be evicted by the lender. This is a court process that may take approximately 2 to 3 more months to complete.  This is additional time period that a homeowner can actually stay in their home while the lender goes through the eviction process. Only when there has been an eviction judgment can a homeowner be forced out of the house by the Sheriff. Before then, you own the home or you possess that home. You cannot be forced out of your home before then.  

(DISCLAIMER: material presented above is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such. Rey Tancinco is a partner at Tancinco Law Offices, a professional corporation with offices in San Francisco, Vallejo, and Manila. The law office website is at:  Rey Tancinco can be contacted at (800) 999-9096 or (415) 397-0808 or via email at:

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