Foreclosure Judgments

There are three ways the plaintiff can get a judgment of foreclosure and sale: 1) after the defendant defaults by not answering the Summons and Complaint, 2) after winning a summary judgment motion, or 3) after winning a trial. See Paths of a Foreclosure Case in New York State.

Before the Judge signs the judgment of foreclosure and sale, the Judge signs an Order of Reference. The Order of Reference sends the case to a Referee to add up the total amount that plaintiff is owed under the terms of the mortgage. This amount includes principal, interest, late charges, foreclosure fees and costs. After the Referee reports his or her findings to the Judge, the plaintiff asks the court to enter a judgment of foreclosure and sale.


The Sale

After the Judge signs a judgment of foreclosure and sale, your home will be sold by the Referee at an auction sale at the courthouse to the highest bidder. The plaintiff puts a notice about the auction in a newspaper at least 30 days before the auction date. If you did not file an Answer or a Notice of Appearance, the plaintiff does not have to tell you about the auction.

You can stop the sale at any time up until your home is sold if you come up with the money owed to the plaintiff. This is called the Right of Redemption. You can also ask the court to stop the sale by making an Order to Show Cause. But once the sale is complete, you lose your home. You will get notice of when you have to move out.

The sale price may be more than the debt you owe. This is called a surplus. You can apply to the Court to get the surplus monies back. Speak to the Clerk or visit a Court Help Center. The sale price may be less than the amount you owe. This is called a deficiency. Learn more Deficiency Judgments.


Asking the Court to Stop the Sale

You can ask the Court to stop the sale by making an Order to Show Cause. If you defaulted by never filing an Answer to the Summons and Complaint, you can ask the court to vacate (cancel) the default judgment and let you file an Answer if you have defenses to the foreclosure. Read Vacating a Default Judgment and Common Defenses to a Foreclosure Case.

You can ask the Court to stop the sale by making an Order to Show Cause if you have a good reason, like:

  • You have the money owed
  • You are in the middle of refinancing your home with a loan that will cover the mortgage and other costs
  • You have found a buyer for your home and have an offer for a sale
  • You have filed for bankruptcy

The Order to Show Cause to stop the sale should ask the Court to stay the sale until the Judge makes a decision. Read How to Ask the Court for Something.

Remember! You can try to contact the plaintiff to see if your loan can be modified up until your home is sold. This is especially important if things have changed, like you got a new job or you no longer have big medical expenses, and you think you will be able to pay the mortgage off over time. Use the Foreclosure Resources to contact someone to help you.


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