Deficiency Judgments After Foreclosure in North Dakota

In most North Dakota foreclosures, if the sale price is not enough to cover the balance of your mortgage, your lender cannot come after you for the "deficiency."

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In most North Dakota foreclosures, if the sale price is not enough to cover the balance of your mortgage, your lender cannot come after you for the "deficiency." There are some exceptions, however.

Read on to learn what a deficiency judgment is, when your mortgage lender can collect one against you in North Dakota and when it cannot, and what happens to the deficiency in a short sale or a deed in lieu of foreclosure in North Dakota.

(For more articles about foreclosure in North Dakota, visit our North Dakota Foreclosure Law Center.)

What Is a Deficiency After Foreclosure?

When a lender forecloses on a mortgage, the total debt owed by the borrower to the lender frequently exceeds the foreclosure sale price. The difference between the sale price and the total debt is called a deficiency.

Example. Say the total debt owed is $200,000, but the home only sells for $150,000 at the foreclosure sale. The deficiency is $50,000.

In some states, the lender can seek a personal judgment against the debtor to recover the deficiency. Generally, once the lender gets a deficiency judgment, the lender may collect this amount (in our example, $50,000) from the borrower by doing such things as garnishing the borrowers’ wages or levying the borrowers’ bank account. (Learn about methods that creditors can use to collect judgments.)

(To learn more about deficiency judgments in the foreclosure context, see our Deficiency Judgments After Foreclosure area.)

Dakota Deficiency Judgments

Foreclosures in North Dakota are judicial, which means the lender has to go through state court to get one. (To learn more about the difference between judicial and nonjudicial foreclosure, and the procedures for each, see Will Your Foreclosure Take Place In or Out of Court?)

Learn more about foreclosure procedures in North Dakota.

Deficiency judgments are not allowed in certain foreclosures. In North Dakota, a deficiency judgment is not permitted if the property is:

  • residential
  • owner-occupied
  • one to four units, and
  • 40 acres or less.

However, deficiency judgments are allowed in other foreclosures. The lender may obtain a deficiency judgment if the property is:

  • agricultural land consisting of more than 40 acres (but the amount will be limited to the difference between the amount of the debt and the fair market value of the land at the beginning of the foreclosure), and
  • any other type of property (but the amount will be limited to the difference between the amount of the debt and the appraised value as determined by a licensed appraiser appointed by the court).

Lawsuits From Lenders on Second Mortgages, HELOCs, and Other Junior Liens

Generally, when a senior lienholder forecloses, any junior liens (these would include second mortgages and HELOCs, among others) are also foreclosed and those junior lienholders lose their security interest in the real estate. If a junior lienholder has been sold-out in this manner, that junior lienholder can sue the borrower personally on the promissory note. This means that if the equity in your home doesn’t cover second and third mortgages, you may face lawsuits from those lenders to collect the balance of the loans.

Learn more in our article What Happens to Liens and Second Mortgages in Foreclosure?

Deficiency After a Short Sale in North Dakota

A short sale is when you sell your home for less than the total debt balance remaining on your mortgage and the proceeds of the sale pay off a portion of the mortgage balance. (Learn more about short sales to avoid foreclosure.)

In North Dakota, a lender can get a deficiency judgment following a short sale. To avoid a deficiency judgment, the short sale agreement must expressly state that the lender waives its right to the deficiency. If the short sale agreement does not contain this waiver, the lender may file a lawsuit to obtain a deficiency judgment.

Deficiency After a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure in North Dakota

A deed in lieu of foreclosure occurs when a lender agrees to accept a deed to the property instead of foreclosing in order to obtain title. With a deed in lieu of foreclosure, the deficiency amount is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the total debt. (Learn more about deeds in lieu of foreclosure.)

In North Dakota, a lender can get a deficiency judgment following a deed in lieu of foreclosure. To avoid a deficiency judgment with a deed in lieu of foreclosure, the agreement must expressly state that the transaction is in full satisfaction of the debt. If the deed in lieu of foreclosure agreement does not contain this provision, the lender may file a lawsuit to obtain a deficiency judgment against you.

North Dakota Foreclosure Law

To read the statutes that govern North Dakota foreclosures, go www.legis.nd.gov. Then click on “Century Code.” Look in Title 32 (Judicial Remedies), Chapter 32-19 (Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgages By Action). The statute regarding deficiency judgments is N.D. Cent. Code §32-19-03.

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