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Mortgages

How does foreclosure work?

Foreclosure processes differ by state. If you are worried about foreclosure, you should call the CFPB at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) to be connected with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counselor.

Typically, once you fall four months behind on your mortgage payments, the foreclosure process may begin (although the process can begin earlier or later). The foreclosure process may proceed in one of three ways depending on your state: judicial sale, which requires that the process go through court; power of sale, which can be carried out entirely by the lender; or strict foreclosure, which is only available in a few states and requires the lender or a servicer acting on the lender’s behalf to file a lawsuit against the borrower.

All types of foreclosure generally involve public notice to be given and require all parties to be notified regarding the proceedings. States laws on giving notice and scheduling a foreclosure sale vary. Some states may also provide you with the right to mediation prior to foreclosure. Be sure to read your mail carefully and act promptly on notices you receive.

For a list of foreclosure resources by state, please visit the HUD’s website. Military members or veterans can call the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or visit the VA’s home loan website to get personalized assistance. If you believe you are in need of an attorney, or if you have been served with a notice of foreclosure or other related legal document, you may be able to find legal aid in your state for legal representation available at little or no cost to you. If you need help finding an attorney, you can view this list of legal aid services in your state, or you can find lawyer referrals in your county and state by visiting the American Bar Association website.

Foreclosure prevention counseling and counseling services for homeless persons are available free of charge through HUD's Housing Counseling Program. To learn more, call the CFPB at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) to be connected to a HUD-approved housing counselor today.

Tip: Use this checklist for more information on how to avoid foreclosure.

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