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

Mortgage holder must contact (or meet the requirements for attempting to contact) homeowner at least 30 days before issuing notice of default. A notice of default must be served on homeowner 30 days before notice of sale is recorded. 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 homeowner. Foreclosing party must serve notice of sale in the same manner as the notice of default at least 90 days (or 120 days in some cases) before sale date. No sale may occur within 190 days after the first default.

Reinstatement of loan before sale

Available up to 11 days before sale

Redemption after sale

Not available for nonjudicial sales; eight months or one year for judicial sales, depending on circumstances

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, 38.42.120

Deficiency judgments

Not allowed for nonjudicial sales; available for judicial sales

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 20 days after purchase and may file eviction (unlawful detainer) lawsuit. Summary proceedings may be available.

Foreclosure statutes

Wash. Rev. Code §§ 61.24.020 to 61.24.140

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