A Comprehensive Guide to the Georgia Foreclosure Timeline
Understanding the timeline of the foreclosure process in Georgia is crucial if you risk losing your home. Get the facts here from our trusted bankruptcy lawyers.
How Does the Georgia Foreclosure Timeline Compare to Other States?
A quick fact about Georgia is that it is among the few states in the U.S. with the shortest foreclosure timeline. Technically, the average foreclosure process from issuing a foreclosure notice of default is approximately 60 days in Georgia, while the national average is at least four months.
So, why is the foreclosure in Georgia that short? This is because the foreclosure process in Georgia does not necessarily require a court order hence eliminating the case backlog in the other U.S. states.
Get to Know the Foreclosure Process in Georgia
Typically, foreclosure occurs when an individual falls behind on their mortgage payments and the owner of that loan, which is usually the bank, uses different state procedures to sell their property and repay the debt. It’s important to mention that foreclosure doesn’t work the same way in every state.
According to Georgia state foreclosure laws, all lenders are allowed to follow one of the two foreclosure processes: judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure processes. The terms of the loan agreement determine the type of foreclosure process you will take.
What is a Judicial Foreclosure?
In this process, for a lender to obtain a court order allowing a foreclosure sale, they must file a lawsuit against the homeowner. The homeowner will usually have up to 30 days to respond to the filed lawsuit, and if they don’t the court will usually grant the foreclosure process. If the homeowner responds, the court will review the case and determine whether the property should be foreclosed. The better the defense, the longer the process will last and give the homeowner more time to handle their financial hardship.
Once the court order is issued, the property can be sold at auction. In case of a judicial foreclosure, the sale is usually a public auction, and the highest bidder becomes the new owner of the foreclosed property. The judicial process can take up to one year or even longer, depending on the court’s caseload.
This period benefits you as the homeowner as it gives you ample time to seek other financing or seek other financial solutions or locate a new buyer for your home. The judicial process is mainly opted when the loan agreement doesn’t contain a power of sale clause. The power of sale clause is pre-authorization from the borrower to sell the home property in scenarios where the borrower defaults repaying the loan.
The judicial foreclosure mainly involves formal litigation through Georgia’s judicial court system.
Nonjudicial Foreclosure or Deed of Trust
If an individual falls behind on a mortgage payment in Georgia, the lender may foreclose their property using a non-judicial foreclosure as well. However, the lender has to follow certain procedures described in Georgia foreclosure laws and complete the required steps to be able to sell the property at a foreclosure sale.
If the loan agreement contains the power of sale clause, a lender can initiate foreclosure without court hearings. The sale clause sets forth the foreclosure procedures for public notice and the sale that the lender must follow. The lender will be forced to follow Georgia state laws if the loan documents are silent regarding procedural requirements. Our bankruptcy lawyers can provide more information about this.
Georgia Foreclosure Auction Process
According to Georgia law, lenders are required to send a notice of intent to foreclose to the homeowner no later than 30 days before the proposed foreclosure date. The notice must be delivered by certified mail or return receipt requested to the property address or some other address the homeowner has designated by written notice to the lender. In addition, the notice also has to include other information, such as information about the individual or entity who have the authority to negotiate and make loan modification.
The lender will also advertise the notice in the official county newspaper once a week for four weeks before the foreclosure scheduled sale date. All these specific parameters have to be met so the notice of foreclosure won’t be deemed invalid.
At this point, the borrower has the chance to reinstate the mortgage loan. They have the right to repay the money owed and reinstate the mortgage loans up to five days before the foreclosure sale. If the borrower cannot reinstate the loan and the money owed, then the lender has the right to hold a foreclosure sale.
All Georgia’s foreclosure auctions are always held on the first Tuesday of the month at the county courthouse. The mortgage lender has the right to sue the borrower if the sale doesn’t cover the remaining amount on the promissory note.
Georgia Foreclosure Notices
A non-judicial foreclosure process begins when the borrower, the homebuyer, defaults on their mortgage payments. The servicer will automatically inform the mortgage lender, who will then send a notice of intent which is required to be issued at least 30 days before the foreclosure sale. The foreclosure notice must include a copy of the foreclosure advertisement published in the county newspaper.
Bear in mind that most individuals who take out a loan to buy a house in Georgia or some other type of residential property, sign a promissory note as well as a security deed. These documents give Georgia homeowners some additional rights, such as the right to apply for loss mitigation or even file for bankruptcy.
How Long Before Foreclosure Starts in Georgia?
Technically, under the federal law, the foreclosure process will not begin until a homeowner is 120 days delinquent. State laws also generally prohibit making the first notice or even filling to start either a judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure until the borrower’s mortgage loan obligation is more than the stated days.
The purpose of the 120 days rule, under federal and state laws, is to give you time as the homeowner to work out a way to avoid foreclosure, and if you apply for loss mitigation, the foreclosure start date can be pushed further. Under federal mortgage servicing laws loss mitigation options such as repayment plan or loan modification have to be offered by the loan servicer about a month after you miss a payment.
However, the 120-day rule does not apply in the following situations:
- The main reason for the foreclosure is that you violated the due-on-sale clause. According to the sale clause, if you transfer the home property to another owner, the mortgage lender has the right to accelerate the total mortgage loan balance.
- When the servicer is joining the foreclosure action of a superior lienholder
How Long Do Georgia’s Foreclosures Take?
This will vary depending on various circumstances, but generally, it will take about one to three weeks to complete. If your home property happens to be sold at a foreclosure auction, then the eviction process will take between 3 and 14 days. Once the paperwork is completed, the new homeowner can serve you a three-day notice to move out.
If you don’t move out in that time, an eviction date will be assigned. Unless you and other inhabitants leave the property by that date, the purchaser may begin eviction proceedings.
Get Help From a Trusted Foreclosure Attorney in Georgia
Laws vary from state to state, and this might be a good reason to consider consulting or hiring an attorney if you believe you are facing foreclosure. A good lawyer can also tell you about the various ways you could avoid foreclosure in Georgia.
That is why you need services from our law firm to help you with your problem. Suppose you have any questions or concerns concerning Georgia foreclosure processes, or you wish to learn more about potential defenses to foreclosure or even how to fight one. In that case, we are the best choice for you.
Unless you regularly deal with the foreclosure process, there is no way of having a comprehensive understanding of the federal foreclosure laws or a Georgia law governing a foreclosure sale. That is why you should talk to local foreclosure lawyers to learn more about your rights and expectations.
Keep in mind that if you act fast, you may be able to save your home from foreclosure. Legal options are often available to homeowners facing the possibility of Georgia foreclosures. Be sure to reach out to our attorneys in Cartersville or visit our offices to learn more about your rights and begin taking action.