Although under Georgia foreclosure law, both judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures are permitted, Georgia is almost exclusively a nonjudicial foreclosure state. Most foreclosures take place outside of court after a borrower has defaulted on their mortgage loan and the Georgia pre-foreclosure process has been completed. Historically, the Georgia foreclosure process has been one of the fastest in the country. However, more recently, foreclosure timelines have been moving closer to 90 days.
Georgia foreclosure laws require only 30 days’ notice to the delinquent homeowner prior to the foreclosure sale. Lenders are required to include the name, address, and phone number of an individual with the authority to negotiate, amend, and modify the terms of the mortgage. They must further send the notice by registered or certified mail. Additionally, the mortgage holder must publish notice of the pending foreclosure prior to the foreclosure sale.
Once in a while a foreclosure will be conducted judicially, that is, within the court. A court foreclosure in Georgia can occur for many reasons, but usually has to be conducted when there are title problems or the mortgage or trust deed lacks a clause permitting an out-of-court proceeding. This is rare. Should the foreclosure have to go this way, the lender must file a petition describing the situation, the property, and the default amount. The borrower will then receive a 30-day written notice of default, and the default must be paid to the court. If the default is not resolved then a foreclosure sale is scheduled by the court.
If the mortgage or deed of trust allows, which is usually the case, the borrower can stop the foreclosure by paying off the default amount plus applicable costs. That said, Georgia law does not automatically give this reinstatement right to the borrower; it must actually be spelled out in the loan documents. Of course, the borrower may also stop the foreclosure by paying the total loan balance.
Notice of Sale & Auction
Prior to the sale, a notice of sale must be published once a week for the four weeks. This notice must also be sent to the borrower a minimum of 30 days before the sale date. The notice must include the date, time, and location of the sale; a description of the property; mortgage information; and the lender and borrower names.
Georgia foreclosure sales take place at the county courthouse on the first Tuesday of each month between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The winning bidder is required to pay the full bid amount to the person conducting the sale immediately following the sale. If a foreclosure sale is canceled for any reason, the lender may have to begin part or all of the foreclosure process all over again.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many of these sales to be postponed indefinitely, so public health policy and financial policies, such as foreclosure moratoriums or state-mandated forbearance, may change the foreclosure timelines.
Georgia laws do not allow for the right of redemption after foreclosure.
Georgia laws permit lenders to seek deficiency judgments if the foreclosure sale price of a property is less than the property’s current fair market value.