What is the Foreclosure Timeline in Washington State?
Unfortunately it seems that most homeowners facing foreclosure in Washington State wait until it is too late or do not seek out the information they need until the very last minute. If you are reading this article then you are taking the right steps to avoid foreclosure and seek options to retain your home.
The video above was created by Seattle University Law School and and details the foreclosure timeline in an easy to understand manner which I will go into more detail below.
(1) The first step once you have become delinquent on your mortgage payments is to seek help. Foreclosure defense attorneys or bankruptcy attorneys who deal with mortgage issues all the time often offer free consultations as do housing counselors who can further advise you on the foreclosure timeline. The difference between the two obviously is that housing counselors are not lawyers and can’t represent you in formal legal proceedings such as bankruptcy. Housing counselors may provide you with options for which you may have to seek an attorneys assistance eventually. Either way you go, you should talk to somebody about your situation so your are well informed.
(2) Once you have been delinquent by a few payments your bank may send you a Notice of Pre-Foreclosure Options. At this stage you can request a loan modification, deed in liue of foreclosure (give the house back in exchange for loan forgiveness), or ask to speak with somebody at the bank about your options.
(3) The next notice your will receive after at least 30 days have gone by from receiving the notice of pre-foreclosure options is the Notice of Default. The notice of default will repeat a lot of the information that was included in the notice of pre-foreclosure options. After you receive this notice you will also be eligible to apply for the Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Mediation program where a housing counselor or an attorney must submit your referral to the program. Your bank cannot foreclose on your home while you are participating in the mediation program and this program can be used as a tool to buy you time while you contemplate your next moves.
The mediation program allows you to meet with an attorney from your bank and somebody who has decision making of authority on your loan from the bank is usually present on the phone. Your attorney (if you have one) and mediator will also be present at the meeting. During this process you may apply for a loan modification and your bank will review your application to see if you qualify for any Federal or in house programs in which to modify your loan. If you have an attorney, they will assist you with the preparation and submitting to the bank all of the required documentation.
(4) If your have not requested foreclosure fairness mediation with your bank or stopped the foreclosure sale through bankruptcy, you may receive a Notice of Trustee Sale in 30 days after the notice of default was issued. This notice will inform you of when your foreclosure date is scheduled for, which will be at least 120 days from the notice of trustee sale, and inform you that you have up to 20 days after the notice is recorded in your counties recorders office to request foreclosure fairness mediation. This will be your last chance to request foreclosure fairness mediation.
(5) If you have not requested foreclosure fairness mediation your last chance to stop a foreclosure sale will be to file for bankruptcy. Filing bankruptcy will allow you to discharge unsecured debt in a Chapter 7 and delay a foreclosure due to the bankruptcy automatic stay being in place. A chapter 13 bankruptcy will also delay a foreclosure and can provide you with a plan to make up the delinquent payments you are behind over a 5 year period.
(6) If you fail to stop a foreclosure sale and your home is foreclosed, you will be required to move out of your home after 20 days have passed from the foreclosure sale. If you do not vacate your home you may receive a visit from a sheriff informing you to vacate the property. Overall you will have at a minimum 180 days from the date your notice of pre-foreclosure options is issued to take action to save your home through various legal remedies discussed in this article.
If you have additional questions regarding the foreclosure process in Washington State or need representation to save your home, give Symmes Law Group a call at 206-682-7975 to learn about your options.