The old saw about Oakland, California is that there is no “there” there.
I suggest it’s the same about being “in foreclosure”: foreclosure is not a place, it’s a path.
Nothing legally meaningful changes until you get to a foreclosure sale. Everything before that is prelude.
Yet several Bay Area clients have asked whether they can remove personal property from their home while it’s “in foreclosure”.
Another client wanted to know what the rights of the foreclosing creditor were to come into her home before any sale was held.
Another thought he needed to vacate the house before the sale.
Your rights to the property remain the same, unchanged by any default on the mortgage payment.
Rules of California foreclosure
Be clear: it’s your property until there is a foreclosure sale.
Likewise, the lender is still an outsider unless and until it obtains title to the property by being the highest bidder at the foreclosure sale.
So, certainly you can remove personal property from your home, and, no, neither the lender nor anyone else can come on your property without your permission.
Debt changes your thought process
I’m fascinated by the concept of being “in foreclosure”. It seems to be akin to being “in collections”.
Neither are real places, or even changes in your legal rights.
Yet laymen seem to think of them as situations in which the rules change and consequences follow. [ I have a mental image of them being dank dungeons with manacles on the wall, and cobwebs hanging from the beams.]
True, each represents a process that may lead to a change in legal rights, or a loss of property, but they are roadways, not fixed “places.”
The foreclosure process, which by California law, takes a minimum of four months from formal notice of default to foreclosure sale, is being drawn out these days, by the action or inaction of the foreclosing creditor.
The Homeowner’s Bill of Rights makes dual tracking illegal; modification processes abound.
Don’t leave before it’s final
Which brings me to my current favorite sermon: even if it’s inevitable that you lose the house to foreclosure, stay in the property and live payment-free until there is actually a sale.
You may be astounded at how long that interval is, how very much longer than the four month legal process. Build up some savings to make your move.
How long does California foreclosure really take?
The foreclosure that was longer than War and Peace
More on walking away from a house you can’t save
First image courtesy Colleen Lane; woodcut of torture of Nicholas Owen courtesy of Wikimedia.