Oklahoma is a state where foreclosure is typically conducted through the court system. That means Oklahoma is a “judicial state,” (as opposed to some states where no court proceedings are held. Those states are considered “non-judicial” states).
A judicial foreclosure requires the lender to first file and win a lawsuit. That gives the lender the right to foreclose. This court proceeding means the judicial foreclosure process lasts much longer than a non-judicial foreclosure, which does not require a court proceeding.
In Oklahoma, once the foreclosure process starts, it can take four to six months to complete, or longer, depending on many factors.
When a homeowner defaults on the loan (misses or shorts a payment), the lender can file court proceedings to seek a judgment for money due. The judgment also allows the property to be sold in a foreclosure sale.
· Judicial Foreclosure States
Most lenders will wait three to six months, after payments have stopped, to initiate foreclosure.
Oklahoma is among 24 states that use the judicial foreclosure process.
· Notice of Intent
A Notice of Intention to Foreclose is a letter from your mortgage company that may look unimportant or routine. But it is very serious. Your mortgage company is required to send you this letter providing you with notice that the foreclosure process has begun or is about to begin. Just because you receive this letter does not mean you will automatically lose your home. It does mean if you don’t do anything to resolve your delinquency, then once the foreclosure process is complete (approximately in 4-6 months) then your property will be sold at a sheriff’s sale.
· Notice of Lawsuit
Your mortgage company will serve the borrower notice of the lawsuit through a “summons and complaint,” which will direct the borrower to appear in court. A complaint within the summons is the lender’s statement that says why there is just cause for a judgment. If the borrower fails to answer or appear, judgment can be granted in favor of the lender.
· Borrower Response
The “summons and complaint” states the time frame in which the borrower must respond to contest or dispute the lawsuit. The borrower has the right to explain to the judge why they should be able to keep the property. However, the borrower is not required to file a response. If the borrower does not respond, the lender can move forward more quickly with the foreclosure. Even though the lender has to prove there is valid cause for the foreclosure, the process is easier when a borrower does not respond.
· Notice of Intent to Sell
After the judge issues a judgment, the lender can send the borrower a notice of intent to sell the property. The borrower has a short period of time to respond to the notice (10 days). The borrower can avoid the foreclosure sale if he pays off the entire balance of the mortgage. However, the borrower may also have to pay the related foreclosure costs and attorney’s fees. The borrower may seek a loan modification, short sale or bankruptcy protection in an attempt to save the property from foreclosure.
· Foreclosure Auction
The property is offered up for sale at a foreclosure auction. If no bidder wins the property, the lender becomes the owner by default.
The lender can legally repossess the property once ownership is transferred. Sometimes, a lender may wait before evicting the occupants. But once the written eviction notice is served, the occupants must comply and vacate the property according to the notice. Sheriff’s deputies will conduct the eviction, if the borrower does not voluntarily leave.
CCCS of Central Oklahoma offers FREE foreclosure prevention counseling. We help you contact your mortgage company and provide support while working toward a modification – or if keeping the home is no longer an option – a short sale or other options. Contact cccsok.org at 405-789-2227 for more information.