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Understanding the Foreclosure Process in VA

Understanding the foreclosure process in VA is an important part of navigating your own home foreclosure.

Before we dive in…

Understanding the Foreclosure Process in VA

What is foreclosure anyway?

Foreclosure is the legal process that lenders use to take back property securing a loan, generally after the borrower stops making payments.

Foreclosure is no fun.  But just know that it’s not the end of the world.

When you know how foreclosure in VA works… it arms you with the knowledge to make sure you navigate it well and come out the other end as well as possible.

The Basic Stages of A Foreclosure

There are a few stages that are important to any foreclosure process.

Foreclosure works differently in different states around the country.

The two ways different states use to foreclose upon a property are: judicial sale or power of sale.

Connect with us by calling (703) 499-0111 or through our contact page to have us walk you through the specific foreclosure process here locally in Fairfax.

In either scenario, foreclosure typically doesn’t go to court until 3-6 months of missed payments have elapsed. Usually (but not always), a lender will send out many notices that you are in arrears – overdue or behind in your payment.

Under Judicial Foreclosure:

  • Your mortgage lender must file suit in the court system.
  • You’ll get a letter from the court demanding payment.
  • Assuming the loan is valid, you’ll have 30 days to bring payment to court to avoid foreclosure (and sometimes that can be extended).
  • If you don’t pay during the payment period, a judgment will be entered and the lender can request the sale of your property – usually through an auction.
  • Once the property is sold, the sheriff serves an eviction notice and forces you to immediately vacate the property.

Under Power of Sale (or Non-Judicial Foreclosure):

  • The mortgage lender serves you with papers demanding payment, and the courts are not required – although the process may be subject to judicial review.
  • After the established waiting period has elapsed, a deed of trust is drawn up and control of your property is transferred to a trustee.
  • The trustee can then sell your property to the lender at a public auction (notice must be given).

Anyone who has an interest in the property must be notified during either type of foreclosure.

For example, any contractors or banks with liens against a foreclosed property are entitled to collect from the proceedings of an auction.

Understanding the Foreclosure Process in VA

What Happens After A Foreclosure Auction?

After a foreclosure is complete, the loan amount is paid off with the sale proceeds.

Sometimes, if the sale of the property at auction isn’t enough to pay off the loan, a deficiency judgment can be issued against the borrower.

A deficiency judgment is where the bank gets a judgment against you, the borrower, for the remaining funds owed to the bank on the loan amount after the foreclosure sale.

Some states limit the amount owed in a deficiency judgment to the fair value of the property at the time of sale, while other states will allow the full loan amount to be assessed against the borrower.

Here’s a great resource that lists the state by state deficiency judgment laws, since every state is different.

Generally, it’s best to avoid a foreclosure auction. Instead, call up the bank, or work with a reputable real estate firm like us at Del Aria Investments to help you negotiate discounts off the amount owed to avoid having to carry out a foreclosure.

Experienced investors can help you by negotiating directly with banks to lower the amount you owe in a sale – or even eliminate it, even if your home is worth less than you owe.

If you need to sell a property near Fairfax, we can help you.

We buy houses in Fairfax VA like yours from people who need to sell fast.

Nonjudicial foreclosure

Generally, the nonjudicial foreclosure process in VA is much quicker than the judicial foreclosure process. But, the foreclosure process can take several months depending on the specific circumstances.

To start the nonjudicial foreclosure process in VA, a lender must first notify the homeowner. This notice is usually in the form of a breach letter. If the homeowner has missed mortgage payments, the lender can resell the home at a foreclosure sale. The lender can also seek a deficiency judgment from the borrower.

If the borrower is still behind on payments, the lender can begin the foreclosure process. The lender must give the homeowner a certain number of days to make up the missed payments. The lender then files a notice of default with the county recorder. The lender also publishes a notice of sale in a newspaper.

The lender can then seek a personal judgment against the borrower for the difference between the sale price and the loan amount. The borrower is then required to pay the amount plus six percent interest.

Power of sale

Unlike judicial foreclosures, power of sale foreclosures are less expensive to lenders. Since they do not involve a court, they are faster. But borrowers can still seek judicial review of the foreclosure process.

A mortgage typically contains a power of sale clause. This clause allows the attorney handling the mortgage to foreclose on the property without involving a court. But there are some disadvantages to power of sale foreclosures.

Some states do not allow lenders to pursue deficiency judgments against borrowers in power of sale foreclosures. This means that the outstanding balance after the sale will not be paid by the borrower. It also means that borrowers who feel that they have been wrongfully treated by their mortgage holder may have to file a lawsuit in order to reclaim their property.

In order to ensure that power of sale foreclosures are done properly, lenders and servicers must follow state laws. They must advertise the foreclosure sale for at least four weeks in a local newspaper. They must also provide the owner with a written notice at least 14 days before the foreclosure sale.


Whether you’re dealing with a missed mortgage payment or an impending foreclosure auction, knowing the foreclosure process in Virginia can help you get out of a tight financial situation. The process can be complicated, but knowing the most important steps can help you get through it without too much worry.

The first step in the process is getting a foreclosure notice. Once a notice is received, you have a specific amount of time to remedy the situation. Typically, it’s about 20 to 30 days. If you don’t respond, your lender will take the next step.

In many states, the mortgage lender is allowed to collect a personal judgment against you. Some states also allow lenders to use the power of sale to legally foreclose on your property.

The mortgage lender will ask the court for an order to foreclose. Once the court grants the order, they must follow the specific instructions in the law. The lender can also sell your house at a foreclosure auction.


Several states allow borrowers to reinstate loans during foreclosure. This is called Redemption. It is an equitable right. It means that the borrower has the right to stop the foreclosure process if he or she pays the entire loan balance before the sale is made.

Virginia allows for this right, but it has limitations. If you are facing foreclosure in Virginia, you can avoid it by understanding the foreclosure process. If you know how to get back on track, you can save your home and avoid the stress of a foreclosure sale.

If you are struggling with your mortgage payments, it is important to discuss your situation with your lender. You may be eligible for the Virginia Mortgage Relief Program, which offers financial assistance to help prevent foreclosures. These funds can be used to pay for overdue mortgage payments and homeowner’s insurance. You can also apply for $258 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, which can help you pay your mortgage.

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