Foreclosure Law in California
In El Cerrito, California, foreclosure is a legal process through which an entity which has issued a mortgage takes possession and/or ownership of the property that secured the mortgage, because the individual who took out the mortgage has consistently failed to make payments on it. The property in question is usually a house.
Foreclosure most frequently is a forced sale of a house at auction, since those are the most common types of property bought through a mortgage. Banks will typically try to get rid of the property as quickly as they can, selling it for as much money as they can get in a short period of time.
In every U.S. state, including California, a borrower has a right to a judicial sale of their foreclosed property. A judicial sale is just an auction supervised by a court. The purpose of this is to make sure that the lender takes reasonable steps to sell the home for the highest possible price, and to ensure that the homeowner has an opportunity to bid on the house, if he or she is able. It is in everybody's interest for the bank to get the highest price possible for the house, even the borrower's. If the house fetches a higher price than what's left on the mortgage, the buyer can keep what's leftover. On the other hand, if it fetches less, the buyer might have to pay the deficiency.
In many states, mortgages fall into a category of loans identified as "non-recourse loans." This means that, if the house is sold by the lender, the entire debt is eliminated, even if the sale price was less than the remaining balance on the loan. While the loss of one's home can be personally devastating, treating a mortgage as a non-recourse loan at least means that the homeowner will be more or less free to move on with their life once the property is foreclosed and sold.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in El Cerrito, California
It's quite important that you engage in continued communication with your bank. Lenders are surprisingly willing to make accommodations if it means they still get paid something, but in order to accommodate your case, they have to know about it.
You should remember that the bank doesn't really want your house. They authorized a mortgage hoping to make a profit from interest, and that's what they'd much rather do. They aren't in the business of buying and managing real estate. Therefore, banks will sometimes go to surprising lengths to accommodate your financial hardship, especially if it's temporary.
If you experience a sudden change in your financial situation, your lender, in an effort to keep you from defaulting, might be willing to accept lower monthly payments, at least temporarily.
In California, some buyers have no choice but to resort to a short sale. This is simply the sale of the house, and using the funds to pay off the remainder of the mortgage. One benefit of a short sale is that, if the house sells for less than the mortgage balance, the remaining debt is excused, and the borrower is free and clear.
Can a El Cerrito, California real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in El Cerrito, California, and want to try to prevent this, the advice and assistance of an efficient real estate lawyer can mean the difference between keeping or losing your home.