Foreclosure Law in Virginia
Foreclosure is when a lender in Smithfield, 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 typically 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 typically 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 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 Smithfield, Virginia
First and foremost, you need to communicate with your lender, and not ignore the issue. Ignoring a problem with your mortgage will not make it go away, and can only make things worse. You should be forthright 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 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.
If you experience a sudden change in your financial situation, your lender, in an effort to prevent you from defaulting, might be willing to accept lower monthly payments, at least temporarily.
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 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 Smithfield, Virginia real estate attorney help?
If you live in Smithfield, 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 efficient real estate lawyer probably will.