If you’re facing a foreclosure in South Carolina, it pays to learn about the foreclosure process so you know what to expect. For example, it's important to understand that because South Carolina foreclosures go through the state court system, you'll get notice of the foreclosure by way of a summons and complaint. You should also know that you could be liable for a deficiency judgment after the foreclosure and, if you are, you could get the home back by making an upset bid after the foreclosure sale.
Below you can find a summary of some of the key aspects of South Carolina foreclosure law along with citations to the statutes so you can read the law yourself.
How to Find South Carolina’s Foreclosure Laws
The citations to South Carolina foreclosure statutes are:
- South Carolina Code Sections 15-39-650 through 15-39-660, and
- South Carolina Code Sections 29-3-630 through 29-3-790.
You can find the South Carolina Code of Laws on the South Carolina legislature’s website at www.scstatehouse.gov/code/statmast.php. If you need help locating the statutes, see Finding Your State’s Foreclosure Laws.
Key Features of South Carolina’s Foreclosure Laws
We’ve summarized important parts of South Carolina foreclosure laws below. You can find more detailed articles on various aspects of South Carolina foreclosure law in Nolo’s South Carolina Foreclosure Law Center.
Foreclosure Procedure in South Carolina
Foreclosures in South Carolina are judicial, which means the lender files a lawsuit in state court in order to foreclose the home. (Learn more about judicial foreclosures.)
Notice of the Foreclosure
The lender will give the borrower notice of the lawsuit by serving a summons and complaint. (Learn more about the difference between a foreclosure summons and complaint.) In South Carolina, the borrower generally has 30 days to file an answer with the court.
If the lender gets a judgment against the borrower, the court will order the sale. The lender must publish a notice of the sale in a newspaper and post it in several public places. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 15-39-650, 15-39-660.
Can You Reinstate the Mortgage Before the Foreclosure Sale in South Carolina?
“Reinstating” is when you catch up on the defaulted mortgage's missed payments (plus fees and costs) in order to stop a foreclosure. (Learn more about reinstatement to avoid foreclosure.)
South Carolina law does not provide a borrower with a right to reinstate the mortgage before the sale, but the mortgage contract itself may provide this right.
South Carolina’s Deficiency Laws
When the total mortgage debt exceeds the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a “deficiency.” Some states allow the lender to seek a personal judgment (called a “deficiency judgment”) against the borrower for this amount, while other states prohibit deficiency judgments with what are called anti-deficiency laws.
Deficiency judgments are allowed. South Carolina allows the lender to recover a deficiency judgment as part of a foreclosure. To get a deficiency judgment, the lender will include language in the complaint that indicates it is reserving the right to a deficiency. S.C. Code Ann. § 29-3-660 and S.C. Rules Civ. Proc. Rule 71(b).
How to reduce the deficiency amount. You might be able to reduce the deficiency if you believe that the foreclosure sale price was less than the home’s actual value. To do this, you ask the court for an order of appraisal within 30 days of the sale. S.C. Code Ann. § 29-3-680. The deficiency will then be limited to the total outstanding debt minus the home's fair market value. S.C. Code Ann. § 29-3-740. (For a summary of the deficiency law in South Carolina, see South Carolina Laws on Post-Foreclosure Deficiency Judgments.)
Redemption and Upset Bids After Foreclosure in South Carolina
In some states, you can redeem (repurchase) your home within a certain period of time after the foreclosure by reimbursing the purchaser for the amount paid at the sale. South Carolina law, however, does not give the borrower the right to redeem the home after the foreclosure.
The borrower may be able to get the home back with an upset bid. While the borrower technically can’t redeem the home after the sale, he or she may be able to get the house back after the foreclosure sale by making what’s called an upset bid. (An “upset bid” is when someone buys the home after the foreclosure sale by making a higher bid than the winning bidder at the foreclosure sale.)
In South Carolina, if the lender asks for a deficiency judgment in the foreclosure action, you get a 30-day upset bid period after the sale. S.C. Code Ann. § 15-39-720, § 15-39-760. (To get details on redemption rights and upset bids in South Carolina, see Nolo’s article If I lose my home to foreclosure in South Carolina, can I get it back?)
Notice to Leave After the Foreclosure Sale
In South Carolina, the lender (who is usually the purchaser at the sale) may include an eviction as part of the foreclosure action or initiate a separate eviction action after the foreclosure.