In New Jersey when a mortgage or other lien secured by real estate goes into default the foreclosure process begins. After a mortgage lender has obtained a final judgment in foreclosure, they can schedule a Sheriff Sale. If you are facing this situation, it is important to know that it will not happen immediately, as there is a specific process that must be followed.
The County Sheriff where the property is located is responsible for conducting the sale. Each New Jersey County Sheriff’s department has different schedules for when sheriff sales are held as well as slightly different procedures. Most of the Counties have a list of real estate properties to be sold at auction on their website. Additionally, paper lists can be reviewed at all Sheriff’s Departments during normal business hours.
How Will I Get Notice of the Sheriff Sale? Many people facing a Sheriff Sale are afraid they will not know when it will happen-that they will come home and the house will be padlocked. The sale will not happen without notice. Sheriff Sales are required to be announced by a Sheriff in the following 3 ways:
- A notice of the Sale will be published in 2 newspapers in the County that the real estate is sold in:
· Once a week for the 4 consecutive weeks prior to the sale.
· The first publication must be at least 21 days prior to the sale and the last must be at least one day and not more than 8 days before the sale.
2. Another notice will be posted in the Sheriff’s office in the County where the property is located at least 3 weeks prior to the sale and
3. A third notice will be posted on the property itself.
What is the Sheriff Sale Process? After the required notice is given, the sale itself begins at the time and place set forth in the notice. The Sale generally takes place at the Office of the Sheriff. The Sheriff Sale uses voice bidding instead of sealed bids. The sale is subject to any mortgages and municipal, state or federal liens on the property.
After the sale, the buyer must get a warrant for the homeowner’s removal. How long it takes depends on the particular county, but it can take approximately 4-6 weeks or more. The homeowner has the right to file a motion to ask the judge for more time before they must leave.
CAN THE SHERIFF SALE BE DELAYED? The Sheriff Sale process can be delayed in different ways including:
- A homeowner is entitled to two “statutory adjournments” which are 2-week postponement of the sale-which is a total of 28 days. Note: the lender can adjourn the Sale as many times as they want for any reason and any length of time. To get the adjournment, you generally need to go in person to the Sheriff’s office and include a $28.00 fee.
- After all the adjournments are used, a homeowner can file a motion with the judge to ask to stay the sale.
- Often, if a complete loan modification application is submitted at least 37 days prior to the Sheriff Sale, the lender must adjourn the sale and review the application.
- Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which puts into place an “automatic” stay which halts the Sheriff Sale and other actions by the Creditors.
Your Right to Redeem the Property
Once your property is sold at Sheriff Sale, you have 10 days to redeem (get back) the property. This 10-day period allows a homeowner to arrange to keep the property by refinancing or selling it and paying what in full what is owed plus costs. If you do not redeem the property within 10 days, the proceeds from the sale are paid to the mortgage lender, and any other lienholders, with any excess paid to the homeowner. If the house sells for less than the mortgage balance, which is often the case, the lender may have the right to sue the homeowner for the deficiency (the additional amount owed).
Contact Us Today
If you are facing a Sheriff Sale in New Jersey, or have questions about how to save your home from foreclosure let the attorneys of Levitt and Slafkes, PC help. We help individuals save their homes through loan modification, bankruptcy and foreclosure defense. Contact our law firm online or by calling 973-323-2953 to schedule a free consultation.