Foreclosure Law in California
In Petaluma, 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 Petaluma, California
It is absolutely essential that you maintain a line of communication with your lender. Your can't expect your lender to accommodate your altered financial situation if they don't know about it. Ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away is the worst possible solution.
You should remember that the bank doesn't really want your house. They issued 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.
Because banks don't specifically enjoy foreclosing, they will probably be willing to work out an alternative payment plan with you, if necessary. Nonetheless, 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.
Some buyers in California, when none of the above options have worked, resort to a "short sale." This involves selling a house which is about to be foreclosed, usually for less than its market value. If the house sells for less than what's left on the mortgage, the homeowner is relieved of the duty to pay the balance. If you have decided that you have no hope of making your mortgage payments, and foreclosure seems inevitable anyway, this might be the way to go.
Can a Petaluma, California real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in Petaluma, 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.