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I can’t make my mortgage payments. How long will it take before I’ll face foreclosure?

how to determine mortgage payments

updated 3/28/2014

The legal foreclosure process generally can’t start during the first 120 days after you’re behind on your mortgage. How long after that point it might start depends on the state where you live.

Tip: You may want to check with your county clerk’s office or legal services provider to find out how foreclosure works in your area.

Early intervention

If you become delinquent on your mortgage, your mortgage servicer may be required to reach out to you several times. You will be considered delinquent on your mortgage when you miss a mortgage payment or do not make a full mortgage payment.

By the 36th day after you missed your payment, your mortgage servicer must try to get in touch with you by phone or in person. This is an opportunity for you to ask about your options for avoiding foreclosure .

By the 45th day after you missed your payment, your mortgage servicer must write to you and give you information on how to apply for loss mitigation. Loss mitigation is the process where the servicer considers what help you might qualify for to avoid foreclosure. The servicer must also give you contact information for the people who work for the servicer who have been assigned to help you.

Applying for help

If your servicer told you that you might qualify for “loss mitigation ” or a “loan modification” you should consider applying as early as possible. To apply for any form of loss mitigation,

you must submit a loss mitigation application .

If your servicer receives your application at least 45 days before the date of your foreclosure sale, your servicer will tell you in writing whether your application is complete. You want to be sure to complete the application as instructed by your servicer so you can be considered for loss mitigation.

Warning: Under CFPB rules, if your servicer doesn’t receive your complete application more than 37 days before your foreclosure sale, your servicer does not necessarily have to review your application. However, depending on what type of mortgage you have, your servicer might have to consider your application under other rules. For example, if you’re applying for relief under the National Mortgage Settlement. the process may give you additional protections.

Tip: The loss mitigation process can be difficult so you might want to contact a HUD-approved housing counselor to guide you through the process. You can call the CFPB at (855) 411-CFPB (2372) to be connected to a HUD-approved housing counselor in your area or you can search online for one near you.


If the 120-day period expires, and you aren’t eligible for, or chose not to accept, the servicer’s loss mitigation options, your servicer will usually begin the foreclosure process. The timeline for the actual foreclosure sale depends on the laws in your state.

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