How Long Does Foreclosure Take?

Several factors affect how long it takes to complete a foreclosure in the District of Columbia. You may be living in the property, or you may have it rented. You may need some time to find a new place to live, or to save up for a security deposit. The bank may have paperwork problems or may even have committed wrongdoing. If you are facing foreclosure in Washington D.C., you probably want to know: How Long Does Foreclosure Take?How Long Does Foreclosure Take

Factors That Affect the Length of a Foreclosure

The District of Columbia is a judicial foreclosure state, so how long the foreclosure takes depends on several factors. These factors include any wrongdoing on behalf of the lender or servicer; your income and determination to litigate; the amount of the loan and the amount of equity in the property; whether it is a residential or commercial property; and your repayment history and relationship with your lender.

Residence v. Rental

If the property is a rental property, then you likely have a commercial loan. Commercial lenders are more aggressive in pursuing foreclosures against rental properties. You should expect legal action in no less than 45 days following default. Commercial foreclosures are set on accelerated litigation tracks in D.C. Superior Court.

If you have a residential loan, then you should anticipate legal action about 90 days following default. Other factors affect this timeline, too.

Amount of the Loan

Both the amount of the loan and the size of your monthly payment affect how quickly a lender will pursue a foreclosure. Large loans with large monthly payments rack up quickly in default and prompt lenders to move more quickly. Smaller loans or home equity lines of credit are usually more manageable in default.

Often a lender will work with you if you approach them soon after default and explain your situation. Often, however, lenders will not compromise or forestall foreclosure where the amount of the arrears is rapidly accruing.

Amount of Equity

Lenders in first position view properties with significant equity as low-hanging fruit. If the property can be easily sold at foreclosure auction for the amount of the mortgage note then the foreclosure will happen sooner rather than later.

If the property has no equity, the lender sees a foreclosure as less desirable. In the current real estate market of Washington, D.C., equity has less effect because most of the underwater homes have already been liquidated.

Repayment History

You may have paid your mortgage religiously and on-time for many years prior to default. Or you may have multiple defaults over the life of the loan. Mortgage loan history also affects how quickly the foreclosure will take place. Banks give more latitude to reliable mortgagees and move more quickly against property owners who are chronically late or who are otherwise difficult to service.

Mortgage payment history powerfully affects the probability of your obtaining a mortgage modification or other work-out option.

Any combination of these factors will determine how long a foreclosure in Washington, D.C. will take.

How Long Does Foreclosure Take?

For most homeowners in Washington, D.C., foreclosure proceedings commence after 90 to 120 days of default. For commercial borrowers, foreclosure will usually commence between 45 and 60 days of default. But the factors listed above affect how quickly your specific lender will move to foreclose.

Once your case has been filed, you must litigate the case. You cannot rely on the lender to provide you with a modification or other work-out option. I strongly advise hiring an experienced Washington, D.C. foreclosure attorney. Some cases are over in as few as three months, while others last years. You probably do not want to be in foreclosure for years. It’s better to seek a solution beneficial to all parties involved.

About Brian V. Lee 394 Articles
Brian V. Lee provides bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, business turnaround, and litigation services to clients in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland. Brian was the Washington, D.C. state chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys from 2016 to 2018.