10 Best States to Default on Your Mortgage

Mortgage default and foreclosure
Mortgage default and foreclosure

Defaulting on your mortgage inevitably pushes you into the foreclosure process, and that can be a very traumatic experience. But there is a glimmer of hope, even if you're already getting phone calls and notices warning you of impending foreclosure. If you live in a state where it takes an exceptionally long time to complete the foreclosure process, you have more time to save your home from foreclosure.

There are a number of states where it takes much more than a year for the foreclosure process to be completed; in states with the longest foreclosure timelines, it takes just shy of three years. For homeowners facing foreclosure in those states, that's good: That gives them plenty of time to try and refinance their mortgages, sell their homes or find other ways to stop the foreclosure process, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac. Of course, it also allows them plenty of time to just live in their homes for free until the foreclosure process is completed, Blomquist added.

The long foreclosure timelines in some states are primarily due to their judicial foreclosure processes, meaning the courts are involved in every step. It's "a more bureaucratic process" that often gets slowed down by either the courts' inability to process a large volume of foreclosure cases in a timely manner or judges who are dissatisfied with the handling of each case, Blomquist said. But long foreclosure timelines aren't good for everyone. The longer a home lingers in foreclosure, the more it drags down values of surrounding properties. "It's best for the others living around [homeowners in foreclosure] -- and the larger community -- if the property is transferred to a new homeowner who is making mortgage payments," Blomquist said.

With all of this in mind, RealtyTrac provided AOL Real Estate with data on the average number of days it takes to complete the foreclosure process in each state. From this, we gleaned the 10 states with the longest foreclosure timelines -- and those that are safest for homeowners who have defaulted on their mortgages.

See also:
Mortgage Delinquency Rates and Foreclosure Rates Fell in 2012

10 States Where Foreclosure Deals Are Everywhere

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