Wisconsin Foreclosure Process

Link to Wisconsin Foreclosure Laws

A Wisconsin foreclosure begins when the lender files a lis pendens (LIS) with the court.

Foreclosure Overview

Wisconsin foreclosure is most commonly handled through court proceedings. This is called a Judicial Foreclosure. The time frame for Wisconsin Foreclosure is about 10 months.

Pre-foreclosure Period

A Wisconsin foreclosure begins when the lender files a lis pendens (LIS) with the court. The lender is required to deliver a notice of the court filing to the borrower and any other parties with an interest in the property, in order for a lender to get a foreclosure ruling from the judge. The court could even order that all sums paid by the lender for insurance, repairs, and taxes be added to the amount owed in its ruling.

Based on precedent in Wisconsin foreclosure, (not by statute), the lender usually warns the borrower that they intend to foreclose on the property before filing with the court. This is however NOT required.

Once the court has issued a Judgment of Foreclosure, the borrower is allowed a reinstatement period to stop the foreclosure. All they must do is pay off the amount owed. The reinstatement period varies widely. It may be based on the mortgage date and terms, parcel size, and occupancy status. Generally Speaking, abandoned properties have a two-month redemption period, while most other properties have between 6 and 12 months.

Notice of Sale & Auction

Once the redemption period has passed, the county sheriff gives notice of the time and place of sale. This is accomplished either according to the law or as instructed in the court’s ruling. The Notice of Sale, (NOS), is published within that 12-month redemption period, although the first publication must be a minimum of 10 months after the date of the court’s ruling. If all parties consent to an earlier sale, then it may be scheduled earlier as well.

The sheriff conducts the Wisconsin foreclosure sale, and any party may bid who has 10 percent of their maximum bid available in cash or cashier’s check at the sale. The 10 percent amount must be payable to the county sheriff. Within 10 days, the sheriff must file a report of the sale and deposit the 10% proceeds with the clerk of the court.

Upon confirmation of sale, the high bidder must pay the balance of the sale price. The clerk pays the parties entitled to the sale proceeds and then delivers the deed transferring ownership to the highest bidder. If the buyer fails to pay the balance of the sale price within 10 days, the deposit is forfeited, and a resale is held. The 10% is used to pay the lender and any others owed money from the sale. If the court does not confirm the sale for any reason, the clerk must refund the buyer’s deposit and a resale occurs.

In the case of any surplus above the default amount, the other affected lien holders may file a notice with the clerk of the court, and the court determines who is entitled to any or part of the surplus based on seniority of lien.

If the property sells for less than the default amount and sale costs, the sale will not be confirmed.

No judgment for deficiency will be rendered until the court is satisfied that the fair value of the property has been credited on the mortgage debt, interest and costs.

There is no further redemption after the sale in a Wisconsin Foreclosure.

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