The Foreclosure Process in Georgia
Georgia is among a few states with the shortest foreclosure timeline. The average foreclosure process from the issuance of the Notice of Default can take as little as 60 days in Georgia, whereas the national average is closer to four months. The reason our timeline is so short is because the foreclosure process in Georgia often does not require a court order, thereby eliminating the case backlog that exists in other states.
According to Georgia law, lenders are allowed to follow one of two foreclosure processes: judicial foreclosure and non-judicial foreclosure (also known as deed of trust). The terms of the loan agreement determine which foreclosure process the lender will take.
What's the difference?
- Judicial foreclosure ― In this process, the lender must file a lawsuit against the homeowner to obtain a court order. After the court issues the order, the property is sold at auction. Depending on the court's caseload, the judicial process can take up to year or longer to complete. This may provide time for the homeowner to seek new financing, locate a buyer, or find other solutions. The judicial process is only used if the loan agreement does not contain a power of sale clause.
- Non-judicial or deed of trust foreclosure ― A lender may initiate foreclosure without going to court if there is a power of sale clause in the loan agreement. The power of sale clause is a pre-authorization from the borrower to sell the property in the event the borrower defaults on the loan ― the proceeds of the sale will cover the balance owed. The clause usually sets forth the procedures for public notice and sale that the lender must follow. If the loan documents are silent concerning the procedural requirements, then the lender must follow state laws.
Georgia requirements for deed of trust foreclosure procedures
Lenders in Georgia are required to send notice of their intent to foreclose to the borrower no later than 30 days before the proposed foreclosure date. This notice must be delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested. The mortgage lender must also advertise the notice in the county newspaper once per week for four consecutive weeks before the foreclosure sale. A copy of the publication must be included in the notice of intent to sale.
Foreclosure auctions are held on the first Tuesday of the month at the courthouse. If the sale does not cover the amount remaining on the promissory note, the lender may sue you for the difference.
If your lender fails to follow the Georgia foreclosure timeline, you may have grounds to challenge the foreclosure. To learn more about your rights, contact DebtStoppers, Bankruptcy Law Firm Robert J. Semrad & Assoc., LLC. Our attorneys have the skills and experience to aggressively protect your home.