Under Wyoming foreclosure laws, foreclosures can be judicial or nonjudicial. Typically, a Wyoming foreclosure that is uncontested and nonjudicial takes only about 90 days, but the pre-foreclosure process can extend the overall timeline and judicial foreclosures take longer.
Investors should be aware that Wyoming, like most states, may enact foreclosure and/or eviction moratoriums in response to public health threats or widespread financial crises. For example, in 2020, in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the state enacted policies that provided financial relief to homeowners, renters, and other borrowers facing foreclosure. Unlike many other states, however, Wyoming did not enact statewide foreclosure or eviction bans. Real estate investors must check all foreclosure forbearance and eviction moratorium guidance in the state and locally when planning to buy Wyoming foreclosures and prior to implementing eviction procedures.
The Wyoming pre-foreclosure process begins when the servicer attempts to contact the homeowner about delinquent loan payments and options for avoiding foreclosure. However, most real estate investors consider pre-foreclosure to start when a homeowner first misses a mortgage payment, since this is the beginning of the mortgage delinquency and frequently the time at which a homeowner first begins to consider selling their property.
In Wyoming, as in most states, lenders are usually required to wait until payment is 120 days delinquent to begin the foreclosure process. If the homeowner applies for loss mitigation during this time period, the loan servicer cannot begin the official foreclosure process until the loss-mitigation period has expired, the homeowner has violated one of the terms of the loss-mitigation or loan-modification agreement, or the homeowner has been notified they are not eligible for loss mitigation.
Most Wyoming mortgages require the lender to send the borrower a breach letter in the event of late or delinquent payments. Once the breach letter has been received and the time period prescribed in the terms of the note has expired, the lender can proceed with the foreclosure process if the borrower has not “cured” (caught up) the payments.
Under Wyoming foreclosure laws, lenders may proceed with a nonjudicial foreclosure if there is a power of sale included in the mortgage documents. At least 10 days before the notice of sale is published, the foreclosing party must mail the homeowner and the occupants of the property a notice of intent to foreclose. When 10 days have passed from the time of receipt of those documents, the lender may publish a notice of sale in a local newspaper once a week for four consecutive weeks prior to the sale. The homeowner and the occupants of the property must receive a notice of sale as well via certified mail.
In Wyoming, if no power of sale is included in the mortgage, foreclosure is conducted through the court system. Once the court declares a foreclosure, the property is put up for sale.
Wyoming foreclosure sales are handled by public auction, with the property going to the highest bidder. All sales are at the front door of the courthouse in the county where the property is located. The sale takes place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and is conducted by the person appointed by the county sheriff. In some cases, these sales may proceed online, so check with local government offices to find out what type of platform will host the Wyoming foreclosure sale. Anyone, including the lender, may bid and the highest bidder receives a certificate of purchase.
Wyoming foreclosure laws do not grant foreclosed borrowers a right to reinstatement, meaning they do not have the right under state laws to bring the mortgage current prior to or after the foreclosure sale. However, many mortgage contracts provide reinstatement rights, and many lenders permit homeowners to do so as well.
Wyoming foreclosure laws do permit foreclosed homeowners to redeem their homes within certain specified time frames. Most Wyoming homeowners have three months after the sale date in which to redeem their property, provided that they pay the amount of the purchase price from the auction plus an interest rate of 10 percent and any taxes due. However, if the property is considered agricultural, meaning it is a single parcel of land of more than 80 acres outside an incorporated development or that has been “used substantially for agricultural purposes,” then the foreclosed homeowner may have up to a year to redeem the property. The best way to determine if a property is considered agricultural is to check the mortgage documents, since they will likely specify this classification.
In order to protect the Wyoming foreclosure buyer’s interests, if the homeowner has a year in which to redeem the property the purchaser at the Wyoming foreclosure sale is granted a limited right to inspect the home. This is to help protect the buyer’s interests and make sure that the property does not deteriorate.
Wyoming permits lenders to seek a deficiency judgment after a foreclosure sale in the event that the sale price of the Wyoming foreclosure property is less than the amount owed on a property. The lender must file a lawsuit following the foreclosure, and cannot include a deficiency judgment lawsuit in the foreclosure lawsuit.
After the Wyoming foreclosure sale, the winning bidder must wait until the redemption period expires prior to taking full ownership of the property. In the interim period, the new owner has a certificate of purchase to prove their pending ownership. In some cases, when you buy Wyoming foreclosures you will find that the foreclosed homeowner has remained in the property after the sale. New owners may offer residents “cash for keys,” wherein the new owner provides residents with some amount of money in exchange for a smooth, timely exit, or they can follow the normal eviction process. Real estate investors must remember that Wyoming foreclosure laws deal with tenants living in foreclosed homes and former homeowners living in foreclosed homes differently.
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