For varying reasons, homeowners find themselves at risk of losing their homes, but there are plenty of ways to avoid this. The process can feel overwhelming, but being prepared should anything happen is paramount.  

If you are facing a foreclosure, understanding the process and reaching out for help are the most important steps. Washington State foreclosures can be judicial or non-judicial, meaning lenders are able to move forward without going through the court system. 

What are Washington State’s Foreclosure Laws?

As mentioned, the foreclosure process in Washington allows for “non-judicial” foreclosures. WA is one of a few dozen states that have non-judicial foreclosures, and this means having a professional’s guidance is crucial. The sooner in the foreclosure process you reach out, the higher the chance you will be able to reach a resolution with your bank and keep your home. 

Many of WA state’s foreclosures are non-judicial. A non-judicial foreclosure simply means that a lender can foreclose on a property out of court. In this situation, the lender goes through a trustee. 

With that said, there are laws that protect homeowners. For example, the Foreclosure Fairness Act protects Washington state homeowners in these situations. 

What Homeowners Need to Know About the Foreclosure Process in Washington State

To determine if your lender can move forward with a non-judicial sale, you should refer to your mortgage agreement or deed. If you have agreed to a power of sale when buying your home, this allows your bank to use a third party in foreclosure. 

A power of sale is where the borrower agreed to giving the power to the lender to sell the property without a court order. The mortgage agreement may also include a time, place, and terms in this clause as well, which will be followed. If they do not dictate this, the process will follow the legal timeline. 

Even in a non-judicial foreclosure, the bank is required to send letters to notify the homeowner of pre-foreclosure. This is the best time to bring a professional in for help. The process moves quickly, and you will need a representative to request a mediator on your behalf. By requesting all allowable meetings, you have more time to come up with a resolution with your bank and manage your finances. 

Foreclosure Process Washington State Timeline: 

To better understand the process, below is a foreclosure timeline of what to expect starting with a missed payment.

  1. Payment(s) Missed 

By federal law, banks will need to wait for 120 days of missed payment before moving forward. 

  1. Notice of Pre-Foreclosure Options

You have the right to request a “meet and confer.” At this meeting, you can discuss your options and possibly come to a resolution. 

  1. Call a Representative

DO NOT WAIT! Call a housing counselor at 1-877-894-HOME(4663) or contact an attorney and they will help you with the next steps. 

  1. Meet and Confer Meeting 

Could lead to an agreement that would stop the foreclosure. During this meeting be sure to keep detailed notes and get any agreements in writing. Some ways to avoid foreclosure are agreeing to: Reinstatement, short refinance, and special forbearance

  1. Notice of Default

This notice is sent 30 days after meeting, if no agreement is made. 

  1. Mediation Services

Your representative can request mediation services through a third party. This will put the foreclosure process on hold. 

  1. Notice of Trustee’s Sale 

If you have failed to enter into mediation, you will receive this notice which is publicly recorded. At this point, there are limited options left for you to keep your home.  

  1. Final 20 Days To Request Mediation 

This is your last chance to reach an agreement with your lender and stop the foreclosure. 

  1. Home Sold 

Once trustee sale is scheduled, if you don’t come to a resolution with your bank, your home is sold after 120 days (can stay in home an additional 20 days). 

Again, this process is complicated but it allows time to come to an agreement with your lender. You 

How to Avoid Foreclosure

To avoid foreclosure, the most important thing is to take action. Throughout the process, you will receive notices in the mail and need to abide by the strict schedule laid out in the Foreclosure Fairness Act.

Avoid foreclosure by keeping up on payments, contacting your lender with any concerns, and reading all mail from your lender to ensure you are in the know. Unfortunately, the foreclosure process is further complicated by scammers who target vulnerable homeowners. Know the signs of a scammer

 A foreclosure attorney can help you navigate the waters, understand your rights, and advocate for you throughout the process. 
Know the process, your rights, and don’t do it alone. Contact Jeff Jared Law today!