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What are the steps of foreclosure in South Carolina?

Foreclosure, in South Carolina and all other states, is a processes that takes place when a homeowner is not able to pay for the home or able to sell it to make up the debt. When a short sale can't be done, a foreclosure is the next option. With a foreclosure, the home goes to an auction. If that doesn't work out, then the home itself becomes the property of the lender, whether that's a bank or credit company.

As a homeowner, you must remember that as long as you're not done paying off your house, you're still a borrower. If you can't make the payments on your home, it's legal for these companies to take it away. If you fail to make those payments on time, the lender who paid for your home can take you to court to settle the debt. Once creditors have your home in their possession, they can sell your home to make up the cost of the loan.

There are five stages of foreclosure. First, you must miss payments. After that, public notice will be issued after three to six months where payments haven't been made. This notice is when the lender notifies the County Recorder's Office to tell them that you haven't paid your mortgage. This notice may also be posted to the front door of your home, which serves as notification that you must make payments or you could lose your home and be evicted.

Pre-foreclosure takes place next. It is a grace period where you can work out an arrangement with the lender. If you don't, the lender can then take your home to auction to make up the cost of the loan. You are able, as the homeowner, to pay off your outstanding debt up to the time of the auction. Last, post-foreclosure takes place. During this stage, if the property isn't bought at auction, the bank-owned property will be sold through a local real estate agent or at a liquidation auction.

Source: Zillow, "What is a Foreclosure" Nov. 13, 2014

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