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What Happens When a House Goes Into Foreclosure in Wisconsin?

by Steve Lander

When you first get your foreclosure notice in Wisconsin, you won't need to rush out and get a rental truck. Since Wisconsin is a judicial foreclosure state with a right of redemption, foreclosures take a while. In fact, you can usually expect to spend at least six months in your house after first getting your foreclosure.

Leading Up to Foreclosure

The date on which your lender will first file a foreclosure is determined by your mortgage and your lender's policies. Technically, you're in default if you pay your loan one day late and, on day 32, you've already missed two payments. Most lenders will send you a formal Notice of Default sometime between then and 90 days after you miss your payment. This notice is a precursor to a foreclosure.

Legal Action

Once your lender decides to move forward with a foreclosure, it will file a Summons and Complaint with the Wisconsin circuit court in the county where your home is located. You'll be served with a copy of the document, which starts your 20-day period to respond. During that time, you can submit arguments to disprove any of the statements made by your lender.

Foreclosure Judgment

After your 20-day period expires, your lender can petition the court for a default judgment if you don't respond. If you send a response, the foreclosure will be delayed until a hearing is completed. At the hearing, the judge will determine whether or not a foreclosure is called for, and enter a judgment. While it's likely that the foreclosure will proceed, the judge could also decide to throw it out.

Redemption Period

Once the judgment is entered, the redemption period begins. Generally, you have either six or 12 months to stay in the house before the sheriff's sale. During that time, you can redeem the loan by paying it off or refinancing it. A six-month period may be better for you, since it means that the lender has waived its right to sue you for any difference between the value of your house and what you owe. If you've already abandoned your house, your redemption period can be shortened to five weeks.

Sheriff's Sale and Eviction

As your redemption period draws to an end, the sheriff will begin the process of advertising the sale of your property. While the advertising can start during your redemption period, the sale can't happen until after it finishes. At the sale, the highest bidder will put 10 percent of the sale price down and get the right to buy your house. At least five days after the sale, a court hearing is scheduled to confirm it. Assuming that the court confirms the sale, you will then be evicted if you haven't already left.

About the Author

Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.

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