Sheriff Sale Process Explained: How Long Do You Have Until Your House Is Sold?

The last step in the NJ foreclosure process is the sheriff sale, which is scheduled by your mortgage lender once they receive final judgment on your property from the court. Homeowners facing this situation are likely frustrated with the process and worried about how much longer they’ll have until their home is sold.

If you are facing a sheriff’s sale, it is important that you take the right steps to get the help you need. Foreclosures can be very time sensitive, so be sure to speak with an experienced foreclosure attorney about the NJ sheriff sale process and what options you may have to stop the sheriff sale on your home.

It is possible to stop a sheriff sale but you have to act quickly if you’re facing a sale soon. Contact our foreclosure defense attorneys at Denbeaux & Denbeaux for a free consultation before it may be too late to save your home.

Foreclosure Sheriff Sale Process In NJ

The first thing we want homeowners to know is that sheriff sales will not happen right away. There is a specific process that all sheriff’s sales in New Jersey must follow.

After your mortgage lender receives final judgment on your home from the court, they will file a Writ of Execution. The Writ allows your lender to schedule a sheriff’s sale on your home. 

How long after a final judgment is a sheriff sale? The sheriff’s sale must happen within 120 days of the sheriff’s receipt of Writ of Execution, which leaves homeowners anywhere from 3-7 months left to remain in their property prior to the sale. You will be notified when your house is scheduled for a sheriff sale. In fact, it’s required by law for homeowners to be notified when their home is scheduled for sheriff sale. 

Usually, a notice of the sale will be published in the county’s local newspapers a few weeks prior to the date of the sale. Another notice of the sale should be published in the sheriff’s office of the county where the sale is taking place. A notice will also be attached to the property being sold and sent in the mail at least 10 days ahead of time.

Homeowners are allowed 2 delays of the sheriff’s sale, 30 days each delay equalling 60 days total. If homeowners still need more time, you can go to the Superior Court and file an order to show cause. 

However, the judge is not required to allow you more time and in most cases, they don’t grant these requests. That’s why we highly recommend working with a foreclosure defense attorney to help you through the sheriff’s sale process. 

Should You Sell Your House Before The Sheriff Sale?

One thing we hear very often from homeowners is whether or not they should sell their house before the scheduled sheriff sale.

Selling your home in a short sale before a sheriff sale may be the best option for you and your situation, especially if you are struggling with long-term financial hardship and aren’t sure when you’ll be able to recover. But a short sale may not be the best option for everyone.

What you might not realize is that your home has built up equity in it over time which could help you get out of foreclosure once you sell. Your home may even lose that built-up equity due to the circumstances that come with a short sale.

On top of that, if you don’t sell your home for the amount that you still owe your bank or mortgage servicer, your lender could have a court order a deficiency judgment. This means that even though you already sold your property and may have thought you were out of foreclosure for good, you will still have to make payments to your lender to cover the remaining balance of your mortgage loan.

Thankfully, there are better alternatives than selling your home before a sheriff sale that could help you preserve the value of your assets better and potentially stop the foreclosure.

Your Options To Stop A Sheriff’s Sale On Your Home

Whether or not to sell your home before the sheriff sale will depend on your specific financial situation. It could seem like selling is the best option, but it’s nice to know that it isn’t the only option you have.

1. Work with a foreclosure defense attorney

The foreclosure process is complicated and time consuming, especially for someone who isn’t familiar with foreclosures. An attorney can help guide you through the process and may be able to find a solution for your foreclosure that you aren’t aware of.

We offer free consultations to help you learn about your options and what you can do to stop a sheriff sale of your home.

2. Answer the Complaint from your mortgage lender

Once you’ve received the Complaint to foreclose (also known as the Notice of Intent), the best thing you can do to stop the sheriff sale from happening is to answer the Complaint. When you don’t respond to the Complaint, services may be able to enter a default judgment on your home, allowing them to sell it in a sheriff sale. This is a common mistake we see homeowners make.

If you aren’t sure how to Answer the Complaint, the attorneys at Denbeaux Law may be able to help.

3. Get up-to-date on mortgage payments

Getting current on your mortgage loan may be able to stop the sheriff sale on your home. This may not be an option for everyone, but it is one of the best options for homeowners that are financially able to. Make sure you know how much you need to pay, including late fees and interest, and when the deadline is for making those payments. 

4. Try to renegotiate the loan with a loan modification

If you qualify with your mortgage lender, you may be able to work with services to get a loan modification. This could mean extending your loan, altering monthly payments, etc., depending on what’s available to you. Renegotiating your loan could delay the sheriff sale on your home, but make sure to keep up-to-date with your new loan because the sheriff sale can be reinstated if you continue to default on mortgage payments.

Schedule a free consultation with one of our loan modification attorneys to go over how we may be able to help you renegotiate your loan with your lender.

Work With A Foreclosure Defense Attorney

Stopping a sheriff’s sale on your home is possible, but we seldom see that happen for homeowners that try to stop a sheriff sale by themselves. Foreclosure is a long and complicated process that requires a lot of time, energy, and resources.

With an experienced NJ foreclosure attorney, you can go through the process with ease and know that they have your best interests in mind. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Set up a free consultation today and find out how Joshua Denbeaux may be able to help find the best solution for stopping a sheriff’s sale based on your unique situation.

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