Foreclosure Law in California
In La Palma, 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 person 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 simply an auction overseen 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 a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan identified as a "non-recourse loan." While the regulations governing these loans are complex, it most basically means that, once the house is sold, and the sale price doesn't cover what the borrower owes, the lender can't go after the borrower for the remainder. They simply have to take the loss.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in La Palma, California
It is absolutely imperative that you maintain a line of communication with your lender. Your can't expect your lender to accommodate your changed financial situation if they don't know about it. Ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away is the worst possible solution.
You must keep in mind that banks are in the business of lending money, not flipping property: the bank doesn't really want your house. To that end, they'll sometimes go to great lengths to accommodate your financial situation, whatever it may be. For banks, foreclosure is a last resort.
Because banks don't particularly enjoy foreclosing, they will probably be willing to work out an alternative payment plan with you, if necessary. However, if you think that this might be needed in the near future, you should contact your lender immediately. The sooner they know about it, the more options you have.
As a last resort, you might consider a "short sale," which results in loss of the home, but it typically leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Typically, a short sale in California involves selling the house for whatever price it can fetch. The proceeds from the sale go to the lender, and if it sells for less than what's left on the mortgage, the balance of the debt is forgiven.
Can a La Palma, California real estate attorney help?
If you are worried that your La Palma, California house is going to be foreclosed, and want to try and stop this, a knowledgeable real estate lawyer can help.