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 might get the chance to repurchase or “redeem” your home after losing it in a Washington foreclosure, although 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. Washington's redemption laws are explained in further detail below.
Whether you can redeem your home after the sale in Washington depends on whether the foreclosure was judicial (where the bank 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:
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've abandoned the home for six months or more, you don’t get a redemption period. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 61.12.093). (To learn more about the consequences of walking away from your mortgaged home, see Strategic Default: When It Makes Sense to Walk Away From Your Home.)
Nonjudicial foreclosure. In Washington, you can't redeem the home after a nonjuducial foreclosure. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 61.24.050(1)). Because the majority of foreclosures in Washington are nonjudicial, most foreclosed homeowners don't get a right to redeem after the sale. (To learn more about foreclosure laws and procedures in Washington, see our Summary of Washington's Foreclosure Laws.)
To redeem (if you get that right), you must reimburse the person or entity who bought the home at the foreclosure sale for the amount of the bid, plus all other allowable charges after the sale, including:
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.
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 might be able to, for example, pay off the past-due amounts to reinstate (catch up on) the mortgage. Under Washington law, you can reinstate the loan at any time prior to the 11th day before the sale. Or you might be able to work out an alternative to foreclosure that will allow you to keep the house, like a mortgage modification, forbearance agreement, or repayment plan.
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.