Foreclosure & Alternatives Law
Foreclosure is not something that strikes suddenly, but something that you can see building for some time. Most often, your mortgage lender is going to get in touch with you multiple times after you begin to default on payments. They may not even decide to pursue a foreclosure for 90 days or more, once a pattern of not paying has been established. As such, it is wise to take this time to get acquainted with the laws in Wisconsin so that you know exactly what will be coming and what you can do about it.
Even after that initial time period is up and the lawsuit regarding the foreclosure is filed, you have more time to respond. Under Wisconsin law, you get a full 20 days to do so. For three weeks prior to the sale, the notice of sale has to then be posted.
Once the foreclosure happens, the sale of the property cannot happen immediately. In many cases, a year has to go by before the home can be sold. If the lender decides to waive the inherent right to a deficiency judgment, that timeframe drops to six months. Even for abandoned properties, there is a waiting time of five weeks before the sale can continue. You have plenty of response time if you need it.
In some states, you can redeem a property -— taking back ownership of it —- even after the foreclosure. In Wisconsin, the law makes no guarantees about this. However, you do have the ability, before the sale, to reinstate the loan. This can be done by paying the total of what you owe on the current and back payments, and taking care of any fees that may have accumulated due to those missed payments.
There are a few minor provisions for high-value mortgages. For example, the interest rates cannot be hiked drastically after the default.
As you may know, members of the armed forces have some rights under federal law that protect them from foreclosure if they are actively serving. These same protections are given to those in Wisconsin who are in the defense force for the state or the National Guard. Namely, the foreclosure must not happen while you are deployed, if the deployment is at least for a total of 30 days, and it cannot begin until you have been back from said deployment for another 90 days. The only exception is that, if a court approved the foreclosure prior to your leaving, the home can still be sold once you have left, as the court process took place while you were present.
You can stay in your home while the foreclosure process is taking place, all through the period of time before the sale, during which the home can be redeemed. After the sale is confirmed, though, you are asked to leave the property. If you do not, the sheriff may be asked to do a legal eviction. Though the procedures may vary, you will often be given warning by law enforcement that this is going to happen, giving you between 24 hours and 72 hours to vacate the premises.