UNDERSTANDING HOW FORECLOSURES WORK

The Foreclosure Process

Note: The following is a generalized breakdown of the foreclosure process. If you’re interested in finding out about foreclosure laws in your state, please see our directory of Foreclosure Laws for All 50 States.

Foreclosure Defined

A foreclosure occurs when a property owner cannot make principal and/or interest payments on his/her loan, typically leading to the property being seized and sold.

Stages of Foreclosure

The foreclosure process is not very difficult to understand. There are several stages during which the homeowner has an opportunity to bring the loan current and avoid foreclosure.

After about three to six months of missed payments, the lender orders a trustee to record a Notice of Default (NOD). At the County Recorder’s Office. This puts the borrower on notice that he or she is facing foreclosure and starts a reinstatement period that typically runs until five days before the home is auctioned off.

If the default isn’t corrected (the loan must be brought current) within three months, a foreclosure sale date is established. The homeowner will receive a Notice of Sale, and this notice will also be posted on the property. In addition, the Notice of Sale is recorded at the County Recorder’s Office in the county where the property is located. Finally, this Notice of Sale is also published in newspapers local to the county in question over a four-week period.

The foreclosure Trustee Sale typically occurs on the steps of the county courthouse in which the property is located. The time and location of this sale are designated in the Notice of Sale. At the Trustee Sale, the property is auctioned in public to the highest bidder, who must pay the high bid price in cash, typically with a deposit up front and the remainder within 24 hours. The winner of the auction will then receive the trustee’s deed to the property.

Foreclosure Auction

At auction, an opening bid on the property is set by the foreclosing lender. This opening bid is usually equal to the outstanding loan balance, interest accrued, and any additional fees and attorney fees associated with the Trustee Sale. If there are no bids higher than the opening bid, the property will be purchased by the attorney conducting the sale, for the lender.

If this occurs, and the opening bid is not met, the property is deemed a REO or Real Estate Owned. This typically occurs because many of the properties up for sale at foreclosure auctions are worth less than the total amount owed to the bank or lender.

When you purchase property at a foreclosure sale, all junior liens other than property taxes are wiped out. Priority of liens is determined by the date of recording. When you purchase a REO aka. Bank REO, you will typically receive the property with a clean title.

Michigan Foreclosure Law Summary

Quick Facts

–  Judicial Foreclosure Available: Yes

–  Non-Judicial Foreclosure Available: Yes

–  Primary Security Instruments: Deed of Trust, Mortgage

–  Timeline: Typically 60 days

–  Right of Redemption: Yes

–  Deficiency Judgments Allowed: Varies

In Michigan, lenders may foreclose on deeds of trusts or mortgages in default using either a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process.

Judicial Foreclosure

In judicial foreclosure, a court decrees the amount of the borrowers debt and gives him or her a short time to pay. If the borrower fails to pay within that time, then the court will issue a notice of sale.

Non-Judicial Foreclosure

The non-judicial process of foreclosure is used when a power of sale clause exists in a mortgage or deed of trust. A “power of sale” clause is the clause in a deed of trust or mortgage, in which the borrower pre-authorizes the sale of property to pay off the balance on a loan in the event of the their default. In deeds of trust or mortgages where a power of sale exists, the power given to the lender to sell the property may be executed by the lender or their representative, typically referred to as the trustee. Regulations for this type of foreclosure process are outlined below in the “Power of Sale Foreclosure Guidelines”.

Power of Sale Foreclosure Guidelines

If the deed of trust or mortgage contains a power of sale clause and specifies the time, place and terms of sale, then the specified procedure must be followed. Otherwise, the non-judicial power of sale foreclosure is carried out as follows:

  1. A notice of sale must be published once a week for four (4) in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the property is located. The notice must also be posted on the property at least fifteen (15) days after the first notice of sale is published.
  2. The notice must contain the borrower and lenders name, a description of the property, the terms of the sale and the time, place and date of the sale.
  3. The sale must be made at public auction to the highest bidder. The trustee or the sheriff of the county, if different, may conduct the sale between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm on the date specified in the notice of sale.
  1. The sale may be postponed by posting a notice at the time and place where the sale was to originally be held. If the postponement is for more than one week, it must also be published in the manner as the original notice of sale was given.Note: Foreclosure Summary © ForeclosureLaw.org