Several years ago, I took out an adjustable-rate loan to buy a house in Seattle, Washington. The payments were very reasonable initially, but a while ago, they went up by a lot. I can't 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 specific 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.
Judicial foreclosures. 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.
Judicial foreclosures 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).
Nonjudicial foreclosures. You can't redeem the home after a nonjuducial foreclosure in Washington. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 61.24.050(1)). Because most foreclosures in Washington are nonjudicial, foreclosed homeowners usually don't get a right to redeem after the sale.
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 how to do this before the sale. Even with a judicial foreclosure, it's better to take action before the foreclosure sale.
You might be able to, for example, pay off the past-due amounts to reinstate 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.