Foreclosure Law in California
In Ventura County, 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 all states in the U.S., including California, borrowers have the option of foreclosure by judicial sale. This permits a court to oversee the sale of the property by the bank. The purpose of this is to get the house to sell for the highest price possible. While this might seem like something that would only benefit the bank, it is also a great benefit to the borrower, since it increases the likelihood that the sale will encompass the full balance of the mortgage, preventing them from having to pay it.
In some states, original mortgages are regarded "non-recourse" loans. This means that once the house or other property that secured the mortgage is sold, and if it sells for less than the balance of the mortgage, the lender has to absorb the loss, and cannot sue the borrower for the remainder. This usually does not apply to second mortgages or refinanced loans.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Ventura County, California
Communication between you and your lender is perhaps the most significant way to prevent foreclosure. Ignoring the issue is guaranteed to be counterproductive. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to dealing with lenders.
You should be mindful of the fact that your bank wants you to make your monthly mortgage payments - they likely aren't scheming to trick you into giving up your home. This isn't out of altruism, it's due to the fact that foreclosure is almost never as lucrative for the bank in the long run than a mortgage that is paid in full over a period of years or decades, with interest accruing the whole time. For a bank, a foreclosure is just a last resort to cut their losses.
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.
Lastly, there is the "short sale." Usually considered a last resort, a short sale results in the borrower losing their home, but discharges almost all of their remaining mortgage debt. If the house is worth far less than the balance of the mortgage, this might be a good choice. In California, when a house is sold in a short sale, the proceeds go to the lender. If it sells for less than the mortgage balance, whatever's leftover is forgiven. If it sells for more, the surplus goes to the homeowner.
Can a Ventura County, California real estate attorney help?
If you live in Ventura County, California and believe that your house is in danger of being foreclosed, you may have more options and protections than you think. You may not know what all of them are, but an experienced real estate lawyer probably will.