Summary of Washington's Foreclosure Laws

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If you are facing foreclosure in Washington, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:

  • the most common type of foreclosure procedure (judicial v. nonjudicial) used in Washington
  • how much time you have to respond
  • your rights and protections in the process, and
  • what happens afterwards (for example, whether you’ll be liable for a deficiency judgment).

Below we have outlined some of the most important features of Washington foreclosure law. Keep in mind that this is just a summary; we’ve included statute citations so you can get more details from the laws themselves. And be sure to check out Nolo’s extensive Foreclosure section, where you can find information about all aspects of foreclosure, definitions of foreclosure terms (like redemption and reinstatement), and options to avoid foreclosure.

Topic

State Rule

Most common type of foreclosure process

Nonjudicial under power of sale in deed of trust

Time to respond

Foreclosing party must contact (or meet the requirements for attempting to contact) borrower at least 30 days before issuing notice of default to inform him or her about the opportunity to meet with the lender to try to work out an alternative to the foreclosure. A notice of default must be served on borrower 30 days before notice of sale is recorded or served. The notice of default must be served by both first-class mail and by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, and by either posting the notice on the premises in a prominent place or by personal service on borrower. Foreclosing party must mail a copy of the notice of sale to the borrower and post on the property (or serve the occupant a copy) at least 90 days (or 120 days in some cases) before sale date. The notice of sale must also be published in a newspaper. No sale may occur within 190 days after the date of default.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Available up to 11 days before sale

Redemption after sale

Not available after a nonjudicial foreclosure

Special protections for foreclosures involving high-cost mortgages

None

Special state protections for service members

Similar to federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Applies to any resident of Washington state who is a member of the national guard or member of a military reserve component. Wash. Rev. Code §§ 38.42.010 to 38.42.904.

Deficiency judgments

Not allowed after a nonjudicial foreclosure

Cash exempted in bankruptcy

About $12,725 for one person, $25,450 for a married couple under federal bankruptcy exemptions. $1,500 ($3,000 if married filing jointly) under state bankruptcy exemptions.

Notice to leave after house is sold

New owner entitled to possession on 20th day after the foreclosure sale and may then file eviction (unlawful detainer) lawsuit. The purchaser has a right to summary proceedings to obtain possession.

Foreclosure statutes

Wash. Rev. Code §§ 61.24.020 to 61.24.140

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