Several years ago I took out an adjustable rate loan to buy a house in Seattle, Washington. The payments were very reasonable at the beginning, but a while ago they went up by a lot. There’s no way that I can afford them anymore and my home recently went into foreclosure. I just found out about something called the “right of redemption” after a foreclosure sale in Washington, which might allow me to get my house back if the foreclosure goes through. How does this work?
You may get the chance to repurchase or “redeem” your home after losing it in a Washington foreclosure, but it’s not likely.
State law provides foreclosed homeowners with the right of redemption, but only under certain circumstances. If yours is like most foreclosures in Washington, you won’t be able to get the house back by redeeming it after the sale. (This is explained in further detail below.)
Your Right to Redeem After the Foreclosure Sale in Washington
Whether you can redeem your home depends on whether the foreclosure was judicial (where the lender files a lawsuit in court to foreclose your home) or nonjudicial (where the foreclosure takes place without court supervision). Here are the rules:
Judicial foreclosure. Following a judicial foreclosure sale, you can redeem within either:
- eight months, if the foreclosing lender waives the right to a deficiency judgment, or
- one year, if the foreclosing lender does not waive a deficiency judgment (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 6.23.020(1)). (Learn more about Deficiency Judgments After Foreclosure in Washington.)
If you don’t redeem the home within this time frame (called the redemption period), your right to get the house back this way expires. After that, you won’t have another opportunity to redeem your home. (Learn more general information about the right of redemption.)
Judicial foreclosure of abandoned properties. If the court determines that you have abandoned the home for six months or more, you don’t get a redemption period (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 61.12.093).
Nonjudicial foreclosure. In Washington, you can't redeem the home after a nonjuducial foreclosure (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 61.24.050(1)).
The majority of foreclosures in Washington are nonjudicial. This means most foreclosed homeowners don't get a right to redeem after the sale. (To learn more about foreclosure laws and procedures in Washington, visit Nolo’s Washington Foreclosure Law Center.)
How Much You'll Have to Pay to Get Your Home Back
If you have the right to redeem and you want to do so, you must reimburse the purchaser (the person or entity who bought it at the foreclosure sale) for the amount of the bid plus all other allowable charges after the sale, such as:
- amounts the purchaser paid on prior liens (plus interest), and
- amounts the purchaser paid for assessments or taxes, plus interest on that amount (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 6.23.020(2)).
How to Redeem Your Home
To redeem the home, you’ll have to give the sheriff at least five days’ written notice that you intend to redeem before actually paying the redemption amount (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 6.23.080).
If you need help with the notice or have other questions about the procedure for redeeming the home, get help from a Washington attorney.
Take Action Before the Foreclosure Sale to Save Your Home
If you want to keep your home and the foreclosure is nonjudicial, you’ll need to figure out a way to do this before the sale. (Even with a judicial foreclosure, in most situations, it is better to take action before the foreclosure sale.) You may be able to:
- pay off the past-due amounts to reinstate (catch up on) the mortgage, or
- work out an alternative to foreclosure that will allow you to keep the house, such as a mortgage modification, forbearance agreement, or repayment plan.
How to Locate Washington’s Redemption Laws
To find the statutes that discuss your right to redeem the home in Washington, go to Title 6, Chapters 61.12, 6.23, and 61.24 of the Revised Code of Washington.