How Long Does Foreclosure Take?

The short version: foreclosure in California takes about 120 days if redeemed by a bank, or 136 days if sold, if everything in the foreclosure process occurs promptly. If there are delays, the process can take longer. But 120 days is about the shortest version of the foreclosure process.

Length of Types of Foreclosure

Non-Judicial Foreclosure

This is the quickest kind of foreclosure that an owner can undertake on a property. This kind of foreclosure means that the lender doesn’t need to go to court. Some states won’t allow a non-judicial foreclosure to take place.

In non-judicial foreclosure, the process involves foreclosing using a foreclosure trustee. The trustee is a third party that is listed in the deed of trust. This process is much shorter in scale than judicial foreclosure. It allows some time to make good on the lending agreements, but not nearly as much. There is a brief negotiating period, but the house can be sold fairly quickly.

Total: around 120 days

Judicial Foreclosure

Judicial foreclosure can take over a year to complete, and requires a lawsuit with evidence on both sides. Homeowners are given a lot of time during this process to get their finances in order and make good on the lending agreement.

Total: just under or over a year

Foreclosure Process in California

Because of the expedited timeline, most lenders in California will opt for a non-judicial foreclosure. IT’s the quickest kind of foreclosure, and most California deeds of trust contain a power of sale clause which allows the lender to secure the loan mortgage by selling off the loan. This clause usually activates which the lendee miss a single payment.

Foreclosure Process Beginning

If there is a problem making good on the loan, the lender must begin the foreclosure process by contacting you to make an assessment of your financial situation. They must advise you that you can request another meeting to avoid foreclosure, and you can have a lawyer or housing counseling agency meet with you. You can come up with a plan to avoid foreclosure. If there is a plan that is satisfactory to both parties involved in negotiation, then foreclosure can be avoided entirely. It may take a few weeks to get this meeting up and running.

Notice of Default: +30 Days

The notice of default must be filed 30 days after the initial meeting that the lendee and lender have. The lender must give the lendee at least 30 days after the initial meeting to come up with a financial plan that avoids foreclosure, or to make good on the mortgage payments that are owed.

Notice of Sale: +90 Days

If the owner of the house cannot make good on the default after thirty days, you can then issue a notice of sale. This gets the short sale process moving which can help recover the value of the home. If the lendee of the house makes good on the owed payments during this 90 day period, then the sale must be canceled.

Auction: +21 Days

After 90 days when a notice of sale has been posted, if the payments are not made good, an auction can occur which must happen 21 days after the notice of sale is posted. The public auction completes the foreclosure process, as the trustee sells the title to the home to another person. That can start the eviction process.

The foreclosure sale cannot be stopped the day before it happens. If you are the lendee trying to stop the sale, you must cure the default at least 5 days before the date of the sale. This prevents the sale from being stopped at the last minute. Additionally, during the 21-day period after a notice of sale is posted, anyone with an interest in your home can redeem the home by paying the loan in full.

Eviction: +3 Days

If a home is foreclosed on, still the tenant doesn’t have to move out immediately after the process resolves. A three-day written eviction notice is required, and if it is not obeyed, then a formal eviction process must go through the courts.


As you can see, it would take at least 120 days to reach the auction point at which a bank could redeem the home by buying it in full. That’s unlikely, so you probably get an extra 16 days after the notice of sale is posted to cancel the default on the loan.

However, all of those numbers represent the floor. Those are the quickest legal timelines in which foreclosure can be completed. But sometimes a few days, or even a couple weeks, slip by here and there.