How does a pre foreclosure work?

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Pre foreclosure is a legal process that occurs when a homeowner defaults on their mortgage payments, and the lender initiates proceedings to take possession of the property. It is a critical stage in the foreclosure process that provides an opportunity for the homeowner to resolve the default and avoid foreclosure. In this article, we will explore how pre foreclosure works and the steps involved in the process.

Understanding Pre Foreclosure

Notice of Default: The pre foreclosure process typically begins when the homeowner fails to make mortgage payments for a specified period, usually three to six months. At this point, the lender will issue a Notice of Default (NOD), which is a formal notification to the homeowner that they are in default of their mortgage agreement.

Grace Period: Once the NOD is issued, the homeowner enters a grace period, which allows them a certain amount of time to bring their mortgage payments up to date and resolve the default. The length of the grace period varies depending on local laws and the terms of the mortgage agreement.

Opportunity for Resolution: During the pre foreclosure period, homeowners have the opportunity to work with their lender to find a resolution. This may involve negotiating a loan modification, repayment plan, or exploring other options to bring the mortgage payments current.

Foreclosure Auction: If the homeowner fails to resolve the default during the pre foreclosure period, the lender will proceed with the foreclosure process. This typically involves scheduling a foreclosure auction, where the property is sold to the highest bidder. The proceeds from the auction are used to repay the outstanding mortgage debt.

Steps in the Pre Foreclosure Process

Notice of Default: As mentioned earlier, the pre foreclosure process begins with the issuance of a Notice of Default by the lender. This document is recorded with the county or local government office, making it a matter of public record.

Public Notice: Once the Notice of Default is recorded, it is also typically published in local newspapers or other publications to inform the public of the homeowner’s default and the impending foreclosure.

Right to Cure: Depending on the jurisdiction, homeowners may have a right to cure the default by paying the outstanding amount within a specified period. This right to cure is designed to give homeowners a chance to rectify the default and avoid foreclosure.

Foreclosure Mediation: In some states, foreclosure mediation programs exist to help homeowners and lenders reach an agreement outside of court. These programs provide a neutral third party to facilitate negotiations and explore alternatives to foreclosure.

Short Sale: Another option that homeowners may consider during pre foreclosure is a short sale. In a short sale, the homeowner sells the property for less than the outstanding mortgage balance, with the lender’s approval. This allows the homeowner to avoid foreclosure and potentially minimize the impact on their credit.


Pre foreclosure is a critical stage in the foreclosure process that provides homeowners with an opportunity to resolve their default and avoid losing their property. It involves several steps, including the issuance of a Notice of Default, a grace period for resolution, and the possibility of foreclosure mediation or a short sale. Understanding how pre foreclosure works can help homeowners navigate this challenging situation and explore options to protect their home.


– National Association of Realtors:
– U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:
– Investopedia: