In Maricopa County where Chris and Heather work as Realtors, the Notice of Trustee's Sale is the official notice that a bank has begun foreclosure proceedings against a homeowner. Here's a run-down of the typical process as of today's writing.
Remember, this information is meant for Maricopa County, Arizona homeowners, buyers and sellers. Your local market might behave very differently, so consult a professional in your area.
Usually, if a homeowner misses 3 to 4 mortgage payments, the bank that holds the mortgage may send the homeowner a Notice of Trustee's Sale. It's a 2 or 3 page document that states the original mortgage balance on the loan currently not being paid. It also lists the date scheduled for the foreclosure auction. Sometimes the Notice is taped to the front door, sometimes I believe it's sent certified mail.
Regardless of method of delivery, the message in the Notice of Trustee's Sale is simple: the homeowner has 90 days to come completely current on their mortgage, or make other arrangements with their lender, or the lender that holds the mortgage will foreclose, immediately and without further notice.
The foreclosure process in Arizona is very cut-and-dried. There's no redemption period, there's no additional notice required. You get your 90-day notice and that's all you get.
Homeowners who receive a Notice of Trustee's Sale may request a short sale or a loan modification, or a forbearance period, but the lender holding the mortgage is not required to agree to any of these. There's only 1 thing that obligates the bank which holds the mortgage to stop the foreclosure: if the homeowner comes completely current on the mortgage -- pays all back-owed payments, and pays off any/all penalties and fees imposed by the bank.
There are several circumstances where a Short Sale is the best of all possible uncomfortable options. Look for a post in the near future explaining why a Short Sale might be a homeowner's best option.