When the the sheriff sale occurs, the homeowners will no longer be the owners of the house that has been foreclosed. The winning bidder at auction becomes the new owner and will be able to proceed with the eviction, once the sale is confirmed. Confirming a sale can take from just a few days up to a few weeks, depending on state foreclosure law. But the confirmation process merely determines if the sale took place fairly and was in compliance with all other rules and regulations. Unless there are any major problems, the sale will be confirmed and the foreclosure process completed. The next step will be the eviction process for many homes.
The eviction process begins when the new owners of the property demonstrate to the courts that they are now the owners and have the right of possession of the property. The county court will typically grant the owner possession and order the county sheriff at some date in the near future to evict the former owners and remove all of the property currently in the house.
The former owners, who may still be occupying the property at this point, will be given a certain amount of time (usually a few days to a few weeks) to move out of the property and avoid being forcefully evicted. At this point, there is very little that they can to to stop foreclosure from taking the home from them, unless they are able to purchase the property from the new owners. This is always a possibility, of course, but it is very difficult for very recent foreclosure victims to obtain a new loan to purchase a house.
In cases where the state foreclosure laws allow for a redemption period, the homeowners are granted more time after the sale to pay back the defaulted mortgage and retain ownership of the property. Usually, this means having to pay off the entire amount of the mortgage, either through saving up enough cash or qualifying for a new mortgage. Again, these are very rare possibilities, and many homeowners will not be able to come up with the money to keep the home after the sheriff sale, unless they have substantial assets or there is a lot of equity in the property. But the redemption period will give them a chance to pursue these options or sell the property. If nothing else, the redemption period can be used by homeowners to save up money that can be used for moving expenses, setting up an emergency fund, or paying back other high-interest credit cards and other loans.
Unfortunately, when a family is unable to stop foreclosure and end up seeing their home auctioned off at the sheriff sale, the chances for saving the home drop dramatically. Banks may be willing to postpone sheriff sales or give the homeowners a break by accepting a short sale, but once the foreclosure process is over and the eviction process commences, homeowners are living on borrowed time with few options to keep the house. In states where redemption periods apply, there are more chances to save the home, but the recent foreclosure will make it very difficult for foreclosure victims to qualify for many of the options that may have saved their home even a few weeks before.
The fact that the sheriff sale can mean the end of the line for many homeowners is an important reason that every family falling behind on their bills should seek out as much foreclosure advice as possible, even if they have only missed a couple of mortgage payments. Having a plan to stop foreclosure before it happens means that foreclosure victims will be able to save their homes long before the sheriff sale is conducted, rather than scrambling around to find a place to live after their home has been auctioned off.