If you are a New Jersey homeowner and you are past due on- your mortgage loan payments, you are probably wondering when your lender will start the foreclosure process. New Jersey is a judicial foreclosure state, which means that mortgage lenders must typically use the court system to foreclose on your home. For the homeowner, this is good news because the judicial process is usually slower than the non-judicial process. While no two cases are identical, below is a general summary of the foreclosure procedure in New Jersey:
Although your mortgage loan documents provide that you are in default as soon as you miss a payment, your lender will typically not take action until you are at least three payments behind. Every lender is different and the timing can depend on a variety of factors, so as soon as you miss your first payment, you should start considering your debt relief options. The law requires your mortgage lender to provide you written notification delivered by certified mail at least 30 days before it begins any action against you. The notice will provide you with information on how you can “cure” the default, which usually is to pay your lender everything that you owe.
Your mortgage lender will begin the foreclosure process by filing a complaint with the court, which must be properly served on you. A homeowner has a set period of time to file an answer (which is usually 35 days). At some point after you fail to answer the complaint, the court will enter a judgment against you. This does not happen immediately. There are other steps the lender needs to take before obtaining that judgment. Once your lender has obtained a judgment, it can proceed with having the sheriff sell your home at an auction. The lender must give public notice of the sheriff’s sale for four weeks in a local newspaper. The amount received from the sheriff’s sale will be applied to the amount you owe under the mortgage loan.
If you file an answer to the complaint, your case will proceed to hearing before a judge. Both parties will have an opportunity to review the evidence of the other side and present their side of the case. Depending on the court’s schedule, this process can take many months. If the court finds in favor of your lender, it will enter a judgment in the lender’s favor and grant it the right to proceed with the foreclosure process. If the court finds in your favor, the case may be dismissed.
Don’t assume that your mortgage lender has the right to foreclose on your home. It is important to review the loan documentation to confirm the party suing you has the right to do so. It is also essential to confirm that the amount being alleged as due and owing is correct. As soon as you start missing mortgage payments, you should seek help. The quicker you get us involved the more likely we can help you obtain a successful result. We can help you file for bankruptcy protection, modify your loan, negotiate a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or aggressively defend the foreclosure action
We are foreclosure and bankruptcy lawyers who know how to make a difference in your financial situation. We have experience you can rely on and we care about your results. Contact our New Jersey law firm online by filling out the form or by calling 973-323-2953 to schedule a free initial consultation.