In California, foreclosure sales can be postponed for up to one year per CA Civil Code 2924g.(c)(2). The postponement reasons are outlined in 2924g.(c)(1), but the following names are commonly used at the foreclosure auctions.
- Mutual Agreement. The most common postponement reason it simply indicates that the homeowner and the lender have agreed to postpone the sale. This may be the result ofa simple call by the homeowner requesting a little more time, or a more formal agreement like forbearance. Many homeowners do not realize when they enter a forbearance agreement that the foreclosure process continues; and if they miss an agreed upon payment, the property can be sold on the next scheduled sale date with no further notice.
- Bankruptcy. When a homeowner files for bankruptcy protection, it puts an automatic stay on all debt collection actions, including foreclosure. Note that bankruptcy does not stop foreclosure, as many believe. Instead, it simply delays the sale of the property until the homeowner resolves the debt, or in many cases, the lender gets approval from the bankruptcy court to continue the sale – an order granting motion for relief from stay. The bottom line is that a home is a secured debt, and the lender has the right to take the security (the home) if the homeowner lacks the ability to pay the debt as agreed. Bankruptcy is only an effective tool against foreclosure if the homeowner will have sufficient income to pay their home loan and make up past due amounts once the bankruptcy plan is completed.
- Beneficiary’s Request. A simple decision by the lender (beneficiary) to postpone the sale. Could be for any reason, including that they simply aren’t prepared to take the property to sale, or because they have reason to believe they are about to be paid (a closed escrow for which they have not yet received payment, for example).
- Trustee’s Discretion. A simple decision by the trustee to postpone the sale. The most typical reason is that they are unable to reach the lender for sale instructions.
- Operation of Law. Fairly rare, but used when a court orders the postponement of the sale. The most likely reasons for a court to make such an order would be in cases where there is a plausible allegation of fraud against the lender, or there are questions of material fact around the right of the lender to foreclose.
No matter what the postponement reason, a new notice of trustee sale must be posted and filed if the sale is postponed for more than 365 days.