Iowa Foreclosure Laws


Understanding Iowa foreclosure laws is crucial. Henkels & Baker PC can guide you through the process. Call our skilled attorneys today for more information.

Understanding Iowa’s Foreclosure Laws

Facing foreclosure challenges in Iowa? Your law firm has the power to turn the tide for your clients. With the right knowledge of Iowa’s foreclosure laws, you’re not just defending; you’re securing futures. Imagine fewer client worries, more successful cases, and a reputation as the go-to firm for foreclosure defense. This guide isn’t just information; it’s your strategy for success.

Ready to lead your firm to new victories? Dive into the essentials of Iowa foreclosure laws now.

Foreclosure laws are an important aspect of real estate regulations, shaping the process through which lenders can reclaim properties due to a loan default. If you are a homeowner, potential buyer, or investor, you should be informed on this topic to safeguard your property rights and financial investments.

The following guide will dive into Iowa state foreclosure laws, offering crucial insights for individuals facing financial hardship or considering real estate transactions within the state. You can also consult our foreclosure attorneys for personalized guidance about your situation.

Iowa Foreclosures at a Glance

Under Iowa law, foreclosure can be both a judicial and nonjudicial process, typically spanning several months from the time of the initial missed mortgage payment to the sale of the foreclosed property.

In judicial foreclosures, the mortgage holder files a foreclosure petition in court and presents evidence of the borrower’s default on mortgage payments. The court then issues a judgment. If a property is foreclosed, it can be sold to repay the debt. Nonjudicial foreclosures, on the other hand, do not involve court intervention.

Alternative Nonjudicial Voluntary Foreclosure in Iowa

In Iowa, an “alternative nonjudicial voluntary foreclosure” allows the borrower to willingly give up the mortgaged property. By agreeing to a nonjudicial foreclosure, you give up the right to redeem the property in the future. In exchange, the lender waives their right to a deficiency judgment. A deficiency judgment allows the lender to recover additional funds if the money realized from the sale of the property is less than the debt owed on the property.

Legal Process of Judicial Foreclosure in Iowa

If your lender initiates foreclosure, it will most likely be judicial. Iowa foreclosure laws are primarily codified in Iowa Code § 654. Section 654 outlines the legal procedures, the rights and responsibilities of lenders and borrowers, and the rules for foreclosure sales.

The foreclosure process has two major stages: pre-foreclosure and foreclosure.


This is the period of time between the day you default on your mortgage payments and the start of the foreclosure action.

In Iowa, the mortgage lender must first send you a notice of default notifying you of the 30-day reinstatement period. For agricultural properties, reinstatement is 45 days. You can cure the default during this time by paying the overdue mortgage payments and any fees owed. If you fail to make the loan current, your lender will send another demand to pay off the entire loan amount within 14 days. Your lender will also provide you with information on any available financial counseling or mediation services to help remedy the situation.

If you fail to cure the default after receiving the notice of default and demand letter, your lender can then file for foreclosure.


Foreclosure starts when your lender files a foreclosure lawsuit or petition with the county clerk. After filing the lawsuit, your lender will serve you with a summons informing you of the court action. You have twenty days to respond to the foreclosure petition. If you fail to answer, your lender can request, and the court can enter, a default judgment against you.

After answering the complaint, the litigation process begins. During this time, the lender, borrower, and their attorneys will participate in discovery and may file motions with the court. For example, the lender may file a summary judgment motion arguing that there is no dispute of the case’s material facts and requesting that the court grant it judgment as a matter of law.

If the court grants summary judgment in favor of the lender or if you lose at trial, the court will enter an order for your property to be sold at a sheriff’s sale. Iowa Code § 626.75 states that the notice of sale must be posted in at least three public places around the county and must be printed at least twice in the local newspaper. These notices alert potential buyers and other interested parties of the sale.

The property is then auctioned off at the county courthouse or another designated location on the specified sale date. The highest bidder at the sheriff’s sale will acquire the property. The lender is allowed to make a credit bid on the property, and if the credit bid is the highest, the lender will acquire the property.

If the sheriff’s sale price is less than the debt owed on the property, the lender may request a deficiency judgment. If the court awards a deficiency judgment, you will be required to pay the lender the difference between the foreclosure sale price and the amount you owe on the property. However, if the sale price is higher than the amount you owe, you are entitled to the surplus money. 

After the auction, the sale must be confirmed by the court. Once confirmed, the court will issue a sheriff’s deed transferring ownership to the winning bidder.

Stopping the Foreclosure Process

Reinstating Your Mortgage Before Foreclosure

You can stop foreclosure by reinstating your mortgage once you receive the default notice. Your mortgage can be reinstated if you bring the delinquent mortgage payments current by paying a lump sum. You will also have to pay any fees and expenses incurred due to the default. If you are financially able to cure the default, this is the safest option for keeping your house.

Redeeming Your Home After the Foreclosure Sale

Pursuant to Iowa Code §§ 628.26628.27, and 628.3, some homeowners can redeem their property after the sheriff’s sale. The general post-sale redemption period is one year. However, if the lender waives a deficiency judgment and the mortgage contract terms allow it, the redemption period may be shortened to six months or three months for a non-agricultural property. If you abandon the property, the redemption period is reduced to only 60 days.

Reclaiming Your Property Post-Foreclosure

Navigating the aftermath of a foreclosure can be daunting, yet Iowa law offers a lifeline for homeowners aiming to reclaim their property. Under specific conditions, homeowners have the opportunity to redeem their property after a foreclosure sale by settling the full amount they defaulted on, plus any additional costs incurred during the foreclosure process. This redemption must occur within a predetermined timeframe, which varies based on the property type and circumstances surrounding the foreclosure. For non-agricultural properties, this period can be as short as six months if the lender forgoes the right to a deficiency judgment. This provision underscores the importance of understanding your rights and the critical timelines involved in the foreclosure process. Engaging with a knowledgeable attorney can provide crucial guidance and increase the likelihood of successfully navigating this complex legal landscape.

Filing Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy triggers an automatic stay on the foreclosure process. Creditors are prevented from taking specific actions to recover debts from you. Any foreclosure proceedings will be put on hold pending the conclusion of the bankruptcy case. You should consult a bankruptcy attorney in Iowa to discuss this option.

Other Alternatives

If you are facing financial hardship or having difficulty paying your mortgage, consider contacting a foreclosure attorney to discuss your options. An experienced attorney can help you explore alternatives like loan modification, short sales, or other debt management processes to prevent or halt foreclosure.

Navigating Foreclosure: Strategies and Legal Remedies

Homeowners facing the daunting prospect of foreclosure have several strategies and legal options at their disposal to either stop or avoid losing their homes. One effective approach is loan modification, where the terms of the mortgage are altered to make payments more manageable for the homeowner. This can include extending the loan term, reducing the interest rate, or even forgiving a portion of the loan principal.

Another option is a short sale, which allows homeowners to sell their property for less than the amount owed on the mortgage with the lender’s approval. This route can be less damaging to one’s credit score than a foreclosure and offers a way out for those unable to keep up with mortgage payments.

Bankruptcy should be considered as a last resort, yet it can provide a lifeline by halting the foreclosure process through an automatic stay. Filing for bankruptcy can give homeowners a chance to reorganize their debts and potentially keep their homes.

Each of these options comes with its own set of implications and requirements, making it crucial for homeowners to seek legal advice to navigate these complex waters effectively.

Legal Strategies to Halt Foreclosure

Homeowners grappling with the specter of foreclosure possess a variety of legal avenues to forestall this distressing outcome. Among these, filing for bankruptcy emerges as a potent shield, invoking an automatic stay that halts all foreclosure activities. This legal maneuver provides a breathing space for homeowners to reorganize their finances, potentially allowing them to retain their homes. However, it’s crucial to consult with a seasoned attorney to navigate the complexities of bankruptcy law and its implications for your financial future.

Another strategic option is to engage in a deed in lieu of foreclosure, where the homeowner voluntarily transfers the property title back to the lender, thereby avoiding the foreclosure process. This path can offer mutual benefits for both parties, sparing the homeowner the credit damage of a foreclosure and offering the lender a streamlined way to reclaim the property.

Legal counsel can guide homeowners through this process, ensuring that their rights are protected and that they understand any potential tax implications.

Reclaiming Your Property After Foreclosure

For homeowners who have undergone the foreclosure process, Iowa law offers a glimmer of hope through the right of redemption. This legal provision allows homeowners to reclaim their foreclosed property by paying off the full amount owed, plus any additional costs, within a specific timeframe post-sale. The duration of this redemption period can vary, highlighting the importance of timely action and legal guidance.

To successfully navigate this path, homeowners must be fully aware of the deadlines and financial requirements set forth by Iowa law. Engaging with a foreclosure attorney can provide invaluable assistance in this endeavor, offering a detailed understanding of the redemption process and advocating on the homeowner’s behalf to secure a second chance at homeownership.

Henkels & Baker, PC: Your Iowa Foreclosure Attorneys

For personalized guidance and legal support in matters related to foreclosure, Henkels & Baker, PC, is your trusted partner. As a leading debt and bankruptcy law firm, we have a proven track record of assisting clients through foreclosure proceedings.

If you are facing foreclosure, exploring options, or have questions about the foreclosure process, our experienced attorneys are here to provide the support and legal counsel you need. Contact Henkels & Baker, PC, today to safeguard your property rights and financial future.

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