As soon as you do not make your mortgage payment, you are in default. This means that your lender can start the process to move towards a foreclosure or take back ownership of your home. You have options when you miss a payment that can help you to avoid foreclosure, but you must understand the timeline of the process to take advantage of these options.

According to The Michigan State Housing Development Authority, foreclosure does not officially begin until 121 days after your payment is due and you do not pay. Prior to this, you have the chance to discuss options with your lender for repayment or possible modifications to help you afford your payments. You can often work out a plan with your lender because the foreclosure process is expensive for the lender. In the end, the lender is not likely to get the full value of your mortgage, so it wants to help you keep your home.

If you reach day 121, the lender will schedule a Sheriff’s sale of your home, which is where an auction takes place to sell the property. You will receive a notice placed on your home of foreclosure. It will give you the last day that you have to work out a plan with your lender or to bring payments current. This notice and the information about the sale will go into the newspaper two weeks after the notice at your home and will run for four weeks.

After the sheriff’s sale, the new seller has the right to inspect the home. However, you have six months in which to remain in the house. You do not have to pay anything. You also have the ability to buy back your home if you can during this time by paying the amount paid at the sale plus any fees an interest. At the end of this period, the new owner may evict you through the proper legal channels.