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Foreclosure is the legal right of a mortgage holder or other third-party lien holder to gain ownership of the property and/or the right to sell the property and use the proceeds to pay off the mortgage if the mortgage or lien is in default. It is a concept that has existed for centuries.
Initially, the law had it that a mortgage default resulted in the automatic ownership of the property by the holder of the mortgage (sometimes referred to as the mortgagee). But the law developed over the years so as to allow mortgagors time to pay off mortgages before their property was taken away. This process of taking away the mortgagor’s property because of default is what constitutes foreclosure.
Today, numerous state laws and regulations govern foreclosure to protect both the mortgagor and the holder of the mortgage from unfairness and fraud. In the United States, although states have their own variations, the basic premises of foreclosure law remain the same.
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