After a lender has obtained a final judgment in a mortgage foreclosure, they have the option to schedule a Sheriff Sale. It is important to know that it will not happen quickly or overnight. There is a specific New Jersey Sheriff Sale process that must be followed.
How Will I Be Notified of a Pending Sheriff Sale?
This is a common concern for people facing foreclosure and a Sheriff Sale. The sale will not happen secretly or without your knowledge. Sheriff Sales in New Jersey are announced by a Sheriff in five separate ways:
A notice of the time and place of the sale will be published in the newspaper under the following conditions:
- The Sheriff Sale notice must be published at least once a week for four consecutive weeks prior to the sale.
- The first publication must be at least 21 days prior to the sale, and the last publication must be at least 8 days prior to the sale.
- The publication must appear in at least two newspapers in the county that the real estate will be sold in.
- Another notice will be posted in the Sheriff’s office in the county the sale will take place in at least three weeks prior to the sale.
- A third notice will be posted on the property itself.
How Does the Sheriff Sale Process Proceed?
Once the proper notification has been given, the sale itself will begin at the time and place specified in the notice. A Sheriff Sale typically takes place at the Sheriff’s office. Before the sale begins, a title search is run on the property, revealing any liens on the property, which the highest bidder would assume.
After the sale, the purchaser must obtain a warrant for the homeowner’s removal. This can take approximately 4-6 weeks, or more. The homeowner has the right to file a motion to ask the judge for more time before they must leave the premises.
Can the Sheriff Sale Process Be Delayed?
The Sheriff Sale process can be delayed in several different ways, including:
The homeowner has the right to contact the County Sheriff and adjourn the Sheriff Sale twice. Each adjournment is for two (2) weeks, which means the homeowner can adjourn the sale for a total of twenty-eight (28) days.
Once the adjournments are used, a homeowner can file a motion with the judge to ask to stay the sale.
In many cases, if a complete loan modification application is submitted at least 38 days prior to the Sheriff Sale, the lender must adjourn the sale and review the application.
In most circumstances, upon the filing of a Bankruptcy Petition, a homeowner will be entitled to the “Automatic Stay” which is an automatic injunction that halts the Sheriff Sale and other actions by creditors.