California Foreclosure Process

California Foreclosure Process

Notice of Default

Start of foreclosure process. Initial notice recorded after borrower fails to meet the terms of their loan.
CC 2924c.(a)(1)

Notice of Trustee Sale

Sets auction date. Can be recorded 3 months after Notice of Default
CC 2924c.(b)(1)


Initial auction date can be just 20 days after Notice of Trustees Sale is recorded.
CC 2924f.(b)(1)

Auctions can postpone for up to one year.
CC 2924g.(c)(1)

Postponed/Sold to Bank/Sold to 3rd Party/Cancelled

In California, foreclosure sales can be postponed for up to one year per CA Civil Code

The postponement reasons are outlined in
2924g.(c)(1). But the following names are commonly used at the foreclosure auctions.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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. is the only foreclosure service that features Auction Tracking, with daily updates on every foreclosure sale including postponements, cancellations and sales.

Trustee’s Deed

Transfers property to winning bidder. By default this will be the lender if no bid higher than the lender’s opening bid is received.
CC 2924h.(c)


Properties are considered to be in Preforeclosure from the filing of the initial Notice of Default until the property is sold at auction. During this period investors can purchase the home directly from the owner, Realtors can list the home, and Lenders can help them refinance.


Auction properties have had a Notice of Trustee Sale filed setting an auction date, and have not yet been sold or cancelled. Investors can purchase the home at auction; and Realtors® and Lenders can monitor their client’s properties, to ensure their listing and loan activities are completed before the auction.

Bank Owned

Bank owned properties received no bid at auction, resulting in the bank taking ownership. These properties are commonly referred to by the banks as REO’s (Real Estate Owned). Investors can purchase these properties directly from the bank; and Realtors® can solicit the listing, since banks will almost certainly market the property for sale.

OpportunityTraditional FinancingSubject-To FinancingTitle InsuranceInspectionsEviction RequiredOverall Risk
Bank OwnedYesNoYesYesNoVery Low