If you're facing foreclosure in Virginia, it’s important to understand some of the basics, including:
Read on to learn about each step in a typical Virginia foreclosure and get information about both federal laws and state laws that protect you during the process. (To learn what to do—and what not do—if you’re facing a foreclosure, see Foreclosure Do's and Don'ts).
Except under limited circumstances, federal law prevents the servicer from officially starting a foreclosure until you’re more than 120 days delinquent on the loan. (12 C.F.R. § 1024.41). (To learn more about the federal law that delays the start of a foreclosure for 120 days, see How Soon Can Foreclosure Begin?)
The foreclosing party must serve you a notice of sale personally, or by mail no less than 14 days before the sale. Notice must also be published in a local newspaper of general circulation as provided in the loan agreement, but not less than once per week for two weeks or three days if published on consecutive days. If the loan agreement doesn't provide publishing requirements, the notice must be published once per week for four weeks, or on five consecutive days. The sale may be held eight days after the first publication, and no more than 30 days after last publication.
Virginia law doesn’t provide you with the right to reinstate the loan before the sale. But, your loan contract might give you time to complete a reinstatement.
Some states have a law that allows a foreclosed homeowner to “redeem” (buy back) the home after the foreclosure sale. Virginia law doesn’t provide a post-sale redemption period after a nonjudicial foreclosure. (If you think you will lose your home to foreclosure, read When Do You Have to Leave Your Home When It’s in Foreclosure?)
If the total mortgage debt is more than the foreclosure sale price, the difference is called a “deficiency.” Some states allow the lender to get a personal judgment (called a “deficiency judgment”) against the borrower for this amount.
In Virginia, the foreclosing party may file a lawsuit to get a deficiency judgment after a nonjudicial foreclosure. (Va. Code § 8.01-241).
You can read Virginia’s foreclosure laws in the Virginia Code. (In 2019, Virginia’s foreclosure citations were renumbered from §§ 55-59 to 55-66.6 to §§ 55.1-320 to 55.1-345). To learn how to look up foreclosure laws, see How to Find the Foreclosure Laws in Your State.
While federal and state laws establish a structured foreclosure process, mistakes in foreclosures are common. If you think your lender or servicer has violated the law or you want to find out about different ways to fight a foreclosure, consider contacting a local foreclosure attorney. It’s also a good idea to contact a HUD-approved housing counselor if you want to learn about different loss mitigation options.