Why Are Foreclosure Auctions Postponed at the Last Minute?

Foreclosure auctions are designed to sell real estate at the best possible price in order to pay off all or part of the mortgage loan in default. There are instances in which a foreclosure auction is postponed at the last minute. In some cases the auction is conducted at a later date. In other cases the auction is never rescheduled.

Types of Delays

There are three common reasons why a foreclosure auction is postponed at the last minute. First, a delay occurs when it appears that the "reserve price" will not be able to be met at the auction. The reserve price is the minimum bid the mortgage lender is willing to accept for the property.

The second reason why a last minute delay of a foreclosure auction occurs is the lender reaches an agreement with the owner in default. The owner in foreclosure reaches an agreement with the lender to resolve the default issue.

Finally, a last minute postponement of an auction occurs when a buyer is found outside the auction process that is willing to pay a price for the real estate acceptable to the lender.


The primary consideration associated with delaying or proceeding with an auction is the bottom line. In the final analysis the mortgage lender is most concerned with getting the best return possible on the sale of the property. If that necessitates a last-minute postponement in auctioning off the premises, even a delay that lasts indefinitely, such a maneuver can be in the lender's best interests.

Time Frame

A mortgage lender never is obligated legally to carry through with a scheduled and advertised auction. Therefore, if the lender so desires, a postponement of the auction can be announced at the very moment the sale was scheduled to commence. Even if bidders are required to reserve spots in advance of the start of the auction, they are not legally entitled to notification of a planned postponement.


The benefits of a last-minute postponement of a foreclosure auction nearly always center on financial considerations. Principally this includes delaying an auction until the market is more favorable and the sale is likely to yield a better price.


An auction could be postponed because there is some sort of legal defect associated with the foreclosure process itself. For example, a common defect in the process is a failure to give proper notice to the borrower at some point during the proceedings. Therefore, the auction cannot be conducted unless and until the defect in question is resolved.

Related Articles