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Sometimes life can get a little hectic, especially with the current global landscape of uncertainty. Whether you forget to make your mortgage loan payment or lack the funds to do so, missing one payment is not the end of the world. Unfortunately, missing multiple mortgage payments can be a much more serious issue. 

After 90 days without payment, your mortgage loan automatically defaults, and you may face foreclosure on your home. All foreclosures in Illinois are judicial foreclosures, which means that a lawsuit is required to foreclose on a property. Continue reading to learn about the Illinois foreclosure process and timeline, along with valuable information about the steps you can take to try and avoid property foreclosure.

How Long Does a Foreclosure Take in Illinois?

The time it takes from missed payments to having a home foreclosed on and sold can vary significantly depending on the individual case and whether you opt to contest the foreclosure. Without contesting the foreclosure, it can take up to 15 months before the property is no longer yours. Don’t start packing just yet. There are a lot of steps along the way. Here is the general Illinois foreclosure timeline:

  • 30-60 days late: missed payments prompt contact from the lender.
  • 60-120 days late: automatic mortgage loan default.
  • 90 -120 days late: lender provides a breach letter. 
  • 120-175 days late: homeowner receives service of a mortgage foreclosure summons.
  • 230 days late: without a response, the court enters default judgment.
  • 260 days late:  right to reinstate the loan expires.
  • 7 months after being served or 3 months after judgment (whichever is later): right to redemption expires.
  • 10 days before sale: receive written notice.
  • 15 days after property is sold: an eviction notice is entered.
  • 30 days after property is sold: you may be forcibly evicted. 

If you decide to contest the foreclosure, the timeline will change a little. The process will also include document filing deadlines and court proceedings.

Reasons for Property Foreclosure

Lack of payment leading to a mortgage loan default is the most common reason for foreclosures, but there are a few other things that could lead to foreclosures. Some of these include unpaid property taxes or homeowners association fees. Most mortgage contracts also require homeowners insurance to remain up to date and for the property to be maintained to a specific standard. These issues are all grounds for foreclosure. However, here we address how long a foreclosure takes in Illinois specifically with regard to mortgage loan default.

Illinois Foreclosure Process and Timeline

Going through foreclosure proceedings can be extremely stressful and hard on you as well as those you care about. This is especially true if you and your loved ones are living on the property in question. The help of an experienced foreclosure attorney could make the process a lot easier and potentially uncover ways that you could keep your home. It may be worth looking into getting professional legal help with your potential foreclosure.  Here is a breakdown of each step to better answer the question, How long does a foreclosure take in Illinois?

Missed Mortgage Loan Payments

Most lenders offer a grace period before assessing late fees on missed mortgage payments. The lender may even reach out to provide payment assistance programs to help you catch up. Life happens, and sometimes our finances change. Most lenders understand that, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take missed payments seriously. You certainly should not ignore lenders who may have options to help you out of debt. 

Automatic Mortgage Loan Default

In Illinois, your mortgage loan will automatically default after 90 days without payment. At this point, your lender will send a Notice of Default (NOD), which serves the purpose of informing you of their intent to foreclose on your property due to lack of payment. Once the lender sends this notice, your foreclosure becomes a public record. Beware of solicitation from creditors offering to help. It is best to work with your lender directly or a reputable debt management company. 

Breach Letter Is Received

Most mortgage contracts contain a clause that requires the lender to send a “breach letter” when the loan defaults. The lender should issue this letter 30 days before filing the foreclosure lawsuit, giving you, as the borrower, a chance to avoid foreclosure proceedings. Thirty days after the breach letter is sent and 120 days after the first missed payment, the lender may file a foreclosure complaint. 

Served with a Mortgage Foreclosure Summons

Despite what you may have seen in the movies, hiding in the bathroom or closet when the mailman knocks on your door will not prevent you from being served. The mortgage foreclosure summons is not something you should ignore. It is necessary to read the complaint to understand the allegations against you, find any discrepancies, and be notified of any important dates. 

Default Judgment Is Entered

If you choose to ignore or to intentionally not respond to the mortgage foreclosure summons, a default judgment will be entered against you. If you choose to respond and fight the foreclosure, this will change the Illinois foreclosure process timeline for your specific case. It is best to consult with a foreclosure attorney to assess your options prior to deciding whether to respond to the summons. Choosing not to respond means that you essentially agree with the complaint and the lender’s request for foreclosure. 

Right to Reinstate Loan Expires

In Illinois, you have 90 days from the date the lender serves you with the mortgage foreclosure summons to reinstate your mortgage loan, even after a default judgment has been entered. This means that you may bring your loan payments current along with other expenses that have occurred because of your late payments. Reinstatement after the 90 days may still occur if the lender allows it, but they are not obligated to do so. If the lender allows an extension past the 90 days, it could change how long the foreclosure takes in Illinois. 

Right to Redemption Expires

Up until seven months after receiving the summons or three months after the date of judgment (whichever is later), you still have the opportunity to pay off the total debt and keep your property. At this point, the cost is high and often requires selling or refinancing the property. This would also be the time at which to file bankruptcy if that is better for your situation. An experienced foreclosure attorney can help you understand your options and make an educated decision. 

Notice of Impending Property Sale 

If the redemption period expires without action, the lender will sell the property. You will receive notification about the sale at least 10 days in advance. Prior to the sale, a notice of the sale must be published in the local newspaper. The ad must run for a minimum of three consecutive weeks. Once the property is sold, you have no control over it. 

Property Is Sold to the Highest Bidder

If your remaining mortgage debt is greater than the amount paid for the property at the foreclosure sale, a deficiency judgment may be entered, requiring you to pay the remaining difference. Fifteen days after the sale is final, an eviction notice will be entered and it will be time to pack your bags. 

Forcible Eviction May Occur

If you are stubborn and refuse to leave the property, the order of eviction will be handed over to the Sheriff’s Department and they may forcibly evict you. All items left on the property will become the property of the new owners. It is best to make other arrangements and leave of your own accord. 

Ways to Potentially Avoid Mortgage Foreclosure

This Illinois foreclosure process and timeline is not set in stone. You may have options to avoid property foreclosure or to make the process less negatively impactful for yourself and your family. Some of these options may include:

  • Answering the summons and contesting the foreclosure;
  • Arranging to make lower, more manageable payments;
  • Applying for a reverse mortgage;
  • Considering filing for bankruptcy;
  • Seeking relief from the government under the COVID Cares Act; and
  • Acquiring a personal loan if you have otherwise decent credit. 

Avoiding mortgage foreclosure is most successful if you take action early in the foreclosure process and seek professional legal counsel. 

Make the Illinois Foreclosure Process Easier with Vantage Group Legal Services

Based in Chicago, Vantage Group Legal Services specializes in foreclosure defense in the State of Illinois. Vantage Group Legal Services provides affordable, professional legal representation by assigning an experienced attorney with the specific skills necessary for your particular foreclosure case. Additional support is provided by Vantage Group’s legal staff throughout the process. Contact us for a free consultation, and find out what options you may have in your foreclosure case.

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