Foreclosure Law in California
In Novato, 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.
When consumers have to deal with foreclosure, it almost always involves a home. The bank will typically take possession of the house, and then sell it at auction, to try to encompass the balance of the mortgage. Banks usually want sell the property quickly, for as much money as possible.
In California, and every other state, foreclosed homeowners can go through a "foreclosure by judicial sale." In this form of foreclosure sale, a court supervises the sale, ensuring that the bank makes every reasonable effort to get the highest price possible for the house. The purpose of this is to maximize the chances that the bank gets, at the very least, the remaining balance of the mortgage. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, it is intended to safeguard the borrower: it helps prevent them from still owing money after the house is sold at auction.
In a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan known as a "non-recourse loan." While the regulations governing these loans are complex, it most essentially 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 Novato, California
First and foremost, you need to communicate with your lender, and not dismiss the issue. Ignoring a problem with your mortgage will not make it go away, and can only make things worse. You should be honest with your lender, and stay in touch with them as much as possible.
You must keep in mind that banks are in the business of lending funds, not flipping property: the bank doesn't really want your house. To that end, they'll occasionally go to great lengths to accommodate your financial situation, whatever it may be. For banks, foreclosure is a last resort.
If you face sudden expenses, such as medical bills or a lawsuit, which put a serious but relatively short-term strain on your finances, you should notify your lender instantly. You might find that they are willing to accept lower payments, if this will keep you from defaulting.
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 discharged, and the borrower is free and clear.
Can a Novato, California real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in Novato, California, and want to try to prevent this, the advice and assistance of an experienced real estate lawyer can mean the difference between keeping or losing your home.