Illinois Foreclosure Process

Link to Illinois Foreclosure Laws

Before a lender forecloses in Illinois,  a borrower’s Note and Mortgage, a title search is typically conducted.

Foreclosure Overview

An Illinois foreclosure is judicial, which means it is administered through the courts. A judgment of foreclosure can be obtained in as little as 90 days assuming service is correctly administered on all defendants at the first issuance of summons and also assuming no opposition from any defendant.

Due to the 90-day reinstatement period from the date of service, a judgment cannot be entered prior to that time. Due to the statutory redemption periods, a sale may not occur for anywhere from one to three months after the judgment of foreclosure is entered. The court may also extend the redemption period in certain cases.

Pre-foreclosure Period

Before a lender forecloses a borrower’s Note and Mortgage, a title search is typically conducted. This is to establish the seniority of the liens. Any liens that appear senior to the lender’s lien must be addressed prior to foreclosure, or the purchaser at the sale will have take the property subject to the senior lien. According to Illinois law, all junior lien holders must be named as defendants in the lender’s foreclosure suit to ensure title is free and clear of liens at the time of the Illinois foreclosure sale.

Notice of Sale & Auction

When a borrower defaults, the lender can file a Complaint to Foreclose Mortgage with the court. The Complaint is then served on the borrower and any other named defendants. If a defendant cannot be found, Illinois law allows for service by publication. Once service is obtained, all defendants have 30 days to file an Answer with the court. If the defendants fail to file an Answer, the court will enter an order of default if requested by the lender. If the borrower or other lien holder files an Answer contesting the foreclosure, parties can litigate the matter., Sometimes they may even  go to trial.

Once judgment is entered in favor of the lender, the borrower has a statutory 90-day redemption period before a sale can take place. The court can shorten this to a 30-day redemption period, if the property is abandoned. The court also has the authority to extend the redemption period. The Borrower can stop the sale at any time during this period by paying off the loan plus any fees such as late fees and attorney’s fees.

The sale date for any Illinois Foreclosure must be after the expiration of the applicable redemption period and is called a Sheriff’s sale. A Notice of Sheriff’s Sale is published in a local newspaper in the county where the property is located once a week for three weeks. Seven days after the final notice of sale is published, a Sheriff’s Sale can be held. The lender provides the opening bid, typically the full amount owed to the lender by the borrower. The person with the highest bid at the sale receives a Certificate of Purchase.

Following the sale, the Sheriff or selling officer must make a Report of Sale within 10 days. A Motion to Confirm Sale must then be filed and the sale confirmed by the court. Following confirmation, the Sheriff’s Deed is issued. Note that a Sheriff’s Deed may NOT be free and clear of encumbrances. While a title search MAY have cleared title issues the investor buying such property should be prepared to clear the deed by other means such as quiet title.


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