Foreclosure Law in Virginia
Foreclosure is when a lender in Portsmouth, Virginia, re-possesses the real property that was purchased with the loan. This is meant to cover the bank's losses, in case the borrower continuously fails to make his or her mortgage payments.
A foreclosure normally involves a forced sale of the house at auction, so the bank can recover at least some of the loss it has incurred as a result of the default. Banks normally want to rid themselves of the property as soon as possible, collect as much money as they can from the sale, and then move on.
In Virginia, and every other state, foreclosed homeowners can go through a "foreclosure by judicial sale." In this type 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 protect the borrower: it helps prevent them from still owing money after the house is sold at auction.
In many states, mortgages fall into a category of loans recognized 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 Portsmouth, Virginia
It's extremely 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 situation, they have to know about it.
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 normally leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Basically, a short sale in Virginia 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 Portsmouth, Virginia real estate attorney help?
If you live in Portsmouth, Virginia 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 accomplished real estate lawyer probably will.