As soon as you miss one mortgage payment, panic sets in. It feels horrible to wake up every day unsure whether the bank is going to show up and take your house
To make matters worse, lenders don’t help you understand what’s happening once you miss a payment.
The lender is a creditor and their job is to collect money, not to help you understand what will happen to you over the next few months.
The good news is that for non-judicial foreclosures the timeline in Washington is relatively generous. As long as you keep yourself informed and get help as soon as possible, you will have time to seek options to avoid foreclosure.
Most residential foreclosures in Washington State are non-judicial. That means that the foreclosure process happens outside of a courtroom setting.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spoken to someone who feels like a weight has been lifted once they simply understand where they’re at on the foreclosure timeline and what is coming next.
Use the information below to educate yourself and call me if you need help.
Acceleration Notices and Collection Calls
Prior to any actual foreclosure activity happening – the bank will try to collect the payment.
You can expect to be bombarded with scary letters and aggressive collection calls from your lender.
Don’t be fooled! Just because a lender assigns you a “relationship manager” or a “single point of contact” or a “care expert” – they are not truly trying to help you. They are debt collectors and they want their money.
You can expect a large amount of unpleasantness during this time period. Sometimes, lenders hire companies to call you repeatedly until you pick up. Sometimes, calls come late at night or early in the morning and sometimes, they call from a blocked number to trick you into picking up the phone.
This part of the process is considered the “early” stages of foreclosure. The lender can move past the early phase to the NOPO phase (below) almost immediately after you miss a payment but often this early phase of aggressive collection attempts lasts about 60 – 90 days before you receive your NOPO (explained below).
If you’re in the early phase right now, you may want to reach out to an attorney right now to go over your options and make a plan. This can help reduce the amount of contact you’re receiving from the lender and can give you peace of mind – you’ll know what to expect and what’s expected of you.
If you call me, we will discuss your goals, the options available to you to avoid foreclosure, what’s realistic, the best / worst case scenarios and we will create a tailored plan of action so you know what you’re doing moving forward.
Notice of Pre Foreclosure Options (NOPO)
Around the time when you miss your second payment, you will receive a Notice of Pre Foreclosure Options (a NOPO). This is a formal notice and is technically the “first” step in the foreclosure process.
The NOPO is several pages long. It tells you that you’re in default and that the bank is moving forward toward foreclosure.
The most important thing it tells you is that: you have a right to “meet and confer” with your lender.
Once you request a “meet and confer” meeting, the lender has to hold off on issuing the next notice (your Notice of Default) for 60-days.
For more information on what to do to request this meet and confer appointment, what to expect at the meet and confer and what this meeting does, you may want to contact an attorney to go over this with you.
Notice of Default (NOD)
After the NOPO is issued, you will receive a Notice of Default.
You can identify this notice because:
- It will say Notice of Default in bold letters at the top of the page
- It will be taped to your door as well as mailed to the property
- It will be issued by a party different than your lender (typically, it will be issued by a Trustee or attorney’s office).
- Some common Trustees you will see written on your NOD: Quality Loan Service, Aztec Foreclosure, Trustee Corps, Western Progressive, Northstar Trustee, Clear Recon Corp, The Mortgage Law Firm
This notice does NOT set a foreclosure auction date on the property.
This notice contains the following information:
- It tells you who the beneficiary is on the loan
- It tells you who your current lender is on the loan – the lender is called a “servicer” in this document
- It tells you which company or firm in Washington State is handling the foreclosure (the Trustee)
- It tells you how much money is needed to get caught up and reinstate the loan.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: This notice may make you eligible to file for Mediation under the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act. This is the point in the process where Mediation eligibility becomes available for many homeowners. It is important you check your eligibility for Mediation because Mediation stops foreclosure activity and prevents the bank from filing the next notice (NOTS).
If you have received this, you should contact an attorney for help immediately to find out if you qualify for Mediation.
Notice of Trustee’s Sale (NOTS)
If you do nothing, 30-days after you receive your NOD (above), you will receive the Notice of Trustee’s Sale (NOTS).
It is common for more than 30-days to lapse between these two notices but 30-days is the fastest they can give you this notice following your NOD.
A Notice of Trustee’s Sale (NOTS) is the final notice you will receive in Washington prior to an auction date of the home.
The NOTS tells you the date and time that the bank is set to auction your home.
The NOTS must set an auction date 120-days away so when you receive this notice, you are usually 4 months away from a foreclosure auction.
If you have received an NOTS, you still may be able to file for Mediation under the Washington Foreclosure Fairness Act but you can only file for Mediation for 20-days after this notice is recorded.
If you’ve received an NOTS, call for help immediately and have an attorney check on your Mediation eligibility.
The Foreclosure Auction
If the matter does not get resolved and the auction date does not get cancelled,stopped or postponed – the bank will foreclose on the date listed in the NOTS.
The bank will sell the home at a foreclosure auction to the highest bidder. If no one buys it, the bank will take the property back.
Move Out Timeline
Following the foreclosure auction of your property, you have 20-days to vacate the home prior to the new buyer or the bank (depending on what happened at the auction) issuing eviction paperwork to remove you from your home.
Once you figure out where you’re at on the foreclosure timeline, the next step is to get a Mortgage Relief Analysis to understand all available options and make a plan.