In CA, non-judicial foreclosure takes about 10 months. Judicial foreclosures can take even longer, if you contest it, but CA lenders rarely use lawsuits when they can foreclose non-judicially.
First there's a Notice of Default (3 months after the borrower has become delinquent), then a Notice of Trustee's Sale (6 months later if the lender has no loan modification program in place). Then, 21 days later, there's a Trustee's Sale.
If a loan modification isn't an option, what about a short sale? Contact a real estate agent who specializes in distressed properties.
Offering the lender a "deed in lieu" is also less harmful on your credit than a foreclosure.
If the foreclosure sale does go forward, the lender/owner will have to sue you to evict you, and a sheriff will lock you out. That takes another few weeks, if they're efficient, longer if they're not.
Once your house actually goes to sale, the time you will have to stay in the home depends on a few things. First, was the house purchased back by the bank or by a third party?
If the bank buys it back, then typically they will first present you with a "cash for keys" offer. This is basically an offer of money to you to move out of the house by an agreed-upon date (usually 2-4 weeks, but it is negotiable) and to leave the home in good condition. The most I have ever seen offered was $10,000, but typically the amount is more like $2,000 -$3,000.
If you chose not to accept this offer, then the bank will start the eviction process. In California, this means posting a 3-day notice to pay or quit and then filing and serving an Unlawful Detainer Action against you. If you file an answer to the complaint, a court date will be scheduled. This date could be as far out as 45-60 days from the date of the foreclosure sale. At the trial, you will either have a judgment against you or you can try and negotiate for a bit more time with the attorney. The sheriff's lockout would occur approximately 2 weeks after your judgment.
If your property is purchased by a third party, the sequence of events will basically be the same, but there may not be a "cash for keys" offer.
All told, you could remain anywhere from 45-75 days after the foreclosure sale date.
California foreclosures are usually non-judicial. Because no judicial action is required for foreclosure, the eviction process is a separate action which requires the filing of a lawsuit for possession of the property.
California law permits an owner-occupied unit to be served with a 3 Day Notice to Quit. In the event that such a unit is occupied by someone other than the previous owner, a 30 Day Notice to Quit is required.
Once served, such notice must expire before the commencement of any action in Unlawful Detainer. Once an Unlawful Detainer is filed, it must be served on the defendant/tenant. If personal service is available, such defendant has 5 days within which to respond to the complaint. If not able to serve personally, an order to post and mail such complaint must be obtained from the court. Such post and mail service will add a minimum of 15 days to the response period.
Once served, the matter can take two courses. One, being where the defendant does not respond to the complaint. In such an event, a default is requested and a judgment for possession should be available within 10 days of such default. Such judgment is then forwarded to the County Sheriff for execution.
If the Defendant does answer the complaint, a trial request is forwarded to the court and the trial in the action is ordinarily set within 20 days of such request. Once judgment is entered by the court, such judgment is forwarded, in a form of a Writ of Possession, to the Sheriff for execution.
Thus, an eviction that does not involve any delay tactics should be completed within 30 to 40 days after the expiration of the Notice To Quit.
As indicated above, once a judgment for possession is obtained, it must be forwarded to the County Sheriff for execution. The Sheriff could take approximately three weeks to actually conduct the lock-out. Adding such additional time to the time necessary for an unlawful detainer action, an Unlawful Detainer action in which the defendant does not use any delay tactics takes approximately one and a half to two months to complete.
The law does afford the defendant a number of different opportunities by which to delay the eviction process. Various motions can be filed by the defendant before the actual answer to the complaint. Each such motion can add several weeks to the eviction. After judgment, an Arrieta claim may be filed. Such claim will add an additional week to 10 days. And, of course, there is always the possibility of a bankruptcy filing. In the event of a bankruptcy filing, if filed prior to judgment, a minimum of 40 days must be added to the eviction time.
If filed after judgment, some judges will permit an expedited hearing on a relief of stay from the bankruptcy. In such an event, approximately 3 weeks need to be added. Judges differ in their approach. As to a judge who does not permit an expedited filing, 40 days would be an appropriate estimate.
I once represented a tenant in an unlawful detainer action that took three trials and over two years for the owner of the property to regain possession. But a contested action is generally completed within six months from the filing of the initial notice to quit.