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Understanding how foreclosure works in Virginia

| Feb 10, 2021 | Foreclosure |

Various financial hardships in someone’s life, including medical issues, divorce, job loss, or the unexpected death of a family member, can make it challenging to cover basic household expenses — including the mortgage.

Your lender will initiate foreclosure proceedings if you fall too far behind in your monthly payments. Here’s what you should know about the process in Virginia.

What kind of foreclosure state is Virginia?

Virginia is a deed of trust state, which means that it follows the nonjudicial foreclosure process. In a nonjudicial foreclosure, a third-party (known as a trustee) maintains an interest in the property as security on the mortgage debt. There’s a clause in the deed to the home that allows the trustee to step in and start the foreclosure process if the homeowner stops making timely mortgage payments. 

Filing a Notice of Default with the county clerk is part of the foreclosure process in a deed of trust state like Virginia. Once that is done, borrowers generally have a short time to object to the lender’s claim or pay any amount they owe in arrears. It’s once that small window of time elapses that a buyer reaches a point of no return, where there’s no way to stop the foreclosure process.

It takes as long as 12 months for the deed of trust nonjudicial process to play out from default to foreclosure, however, so you can do a lot if you act swiftly.

What to do if you’re struggling to pay your bills

You shouldn’t wait until you miss several mortgage payments or fall behind with your other bills before trying to negotiate with your lenders or creditors. Instead, reach out to them as soon as a problem materializes. A bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney can advise you what debt relief options may be available to you under Virginia law.