HOW FORECLOSURE WORKS
Homeowners first receive a letter from the lenders lawyer that says they have 30 days to dispute that the mortgage is in arrears. Although a lender can declare a default one day after a missing payment, realistically, you have got to be three months behind before they do anything.
After the 30 days has passed assuming the homeowner does not dispute the default or otherwise show that all payments have been made the lender files a lawsuit and sends a summons. The homeowner then has 20 days to respond. Filing an answer to the summons will slow down the foreclosure process. Your attorney will need to do this for you. If the homeowner does not respond, a default judgment is filed with the court.
After a 10-day waiting period, notice of a sheriffs sale begins. The notice must be published once a week for three weeks in a newspaper in the same county as the home. The sale typically takes place the fourth week.
Typically, the first bidder is the mortgage company. More often than not, they will bid the amount of the debt that relates to the mortgage. If no one else bids, the lender gets the house and can then sell it. The homeowners debt is then paid. If someone else bids on the house, they get it and pay off the mortgage.
The homeowner, however, stays in the home after the sale during what is called a redemption period. Under state law, the homeowner has a minimum of 90 days to buy back the house with a new loan or cash. You may continue to live in the home for this 90 day period.
-Deb Gruver, The Wichita Eagle-