If I’m considering a strategic foreclosure as a way out of my real estate problems, what can I expect to happen?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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If I’m considering a strategic foreclosure as a way out of my real estate problems, what can I expect to happen?

Understanding that I am responsible for the house until someone else has ownership, I would like to stay in the property as long as possible, but not be faced with having to suddenly move out with little notice. I can not find any clear information on the eviction process for a home owner in a foreclosure. From the time of the sale where someone else has ownership of the property, how long do I have to move out? What notices should I expect, and what are my rights? If I move out before the sale, am I responsible for the property (utilities, theft, damage)? What is the safest, legal way to time this?

Asked on August 14, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

1) After the sale, you could be out in very few weeks (possibly as little as 2 - 3), but it could also be longer: the eviction process is generally a fast one, but much depends on how quickly the buyer starts the process. They cannot begin until they own the property, and some may start right away...others may procrastinate, get distracted, etc.

2) You should receive a notice to leave, followed by the actual summons and complaint, which initiate the matter.

3) You don't really have any rights, since once someone else buys the property in foreclosure, you have no legal right to possession or to stay there. About your only right is that they have to evict you through the courts--they can't simply remove or lock you out on their own.

4) If you do any damage, use any utilities, etc. you have to pay for them. Of course, if it's only a small amount of money at stake, the new owner might not bother suing...but he/she would have the right to.

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