Foreclosure Law in Washington
Foreclosure is when a lender in Snohomish County, Washington, 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.
Like every other state in the U.S., Washington authorizes homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a process through which a court oversees the sale of the house by the lender. The purpose is to see that the lender takes reasonable steps to notify the public of the auction, and other steps to ensure that the house sells for the highest price possible. This is meant to protect the borrower, making it less likely that they'll have to pay a large deficiency judgment (the remaining amount due on the mortgage if the house sells for less than the remaining balance).
Some states treat mortgages as "non-recourse loans." A non-recourse loan is one that is secured by the borrower's property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. Basically, this means that a lender in a foreclosure can take the house that was mortgaged, but nothing else. If the house sells for less than the lender is owed, it cannot go after the borrower.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Snohomish County, Washington
Communication between you and your lender is perhaps the most important way to avoid foreclosure. Ignoring the issue is guaranteed to be counterproductive. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to dealing with lenders.
You should remember that the bank doesn't really want your house. They authorized 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.
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 immediately. You might find that they are willing to accept lower payments, if this will prevent you from defaulting.
Finally, there is the "short sale." Normally 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 option. In Washington, 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 Snohomish County, Washington real estate attorney help?
If you are worried that your Snohomish County, Washington house is going to be foreclosed, and want to try and stop this, a brilliant real estate lawyer can help.