Foreclosure Law in Washington
Foreclosure is when a lender in Whatcom County, Washington, re-possesses the real property that was bought 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.
Like every other state in the U.S., Washington permits homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a procedure 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. Essentially, 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 Whatcom County, Washington
It's quite 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 case, they have to know about it.
You must keep in mind that banks are in the business of lending funds, not flipping property: the bank doesn't really want your house. To that end, they'll occasionally go to great lengths to accommodate your financial situation, whatever it may be. For banks, foreclosure is a last resort.
It's possible that your lender is willing to negotiate a plan that results in temporarily-lower payments on your mortgage, particularly if this means that they will be able to get some payments, instead of none at all.
Some buyers in Washington, when none of the above options have worked, resort to a "short sale." This includes selling a house which is about to be foreclosed, typically 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 Whatcom County, Washington real estate attorney help?
If you are worried that your Whatcom County, Washington house is going to be foreclosed, and want to try and stop this, a reliable real estate lawyer can help.