Wyoming is one of the fastest growing states in the United States. As a result, there has been an increased demand for home loan products. These home loan products are regulated by a set of mortgage and foreclosure laws that are similar to laws found in other states in the western United States.
However, Wyoming's mortgage and foreclosure procedures are still worth a close study because they can help us understand how mortgage and foreclosure laws in other western US states work. To do this study well, it is advantageous to first learn something about Wyoming's home values and population trends.
Wyoming Real Estate Prices
As a general rule, Wyoming's median home values tend to be significantly higher than the 4th quarter 2009 US median home price of $179,900.
To demonstrate this point, here are the January 2010 median home values from lowest to highest for a single-family home in four of Wyoming's major cities:
- Laramie ($158,000)
- Casper ($192,000)
- Buffalo ($215,000)
- Cheyenne ($215,900).
The reason for these significantly higher than average prices is straightforward. As a general rule, there is more demand for good housing than supply. With the exception of Laramie, many cities in Wyoming are having problems keeping up with the demand for housing from new residents who have moved into the state. This has caused home values in general statewide to increase to much higher levels than the national median price. As a result, many home buyers must pay more for their housing than other rural states in the western United States.
Wyoming's Population Trends
Here are the three largest cities in Wyoming from biggest in size to smallest in size:
- Cheyenne (53,011)
- Casper (49,644)
- Laramie (27,664).
(Population data contained anywhere in this article are by courtesy of the 2000 US Census.)
These cities are the largest cities in the state because they have a well-established population base, a well-established job base and a stable economy that is supported by government spending.
Here is information about the three fastest growing cities in Wyoming:
- Gillette (26,781). Gillette is growing very quickly because their vast deposits of natural resources have provided many good job opportunities for residents and people who live in nearby states. Furthermore, Gillette also offers residents lower property taxes and more usable land for building houses with.
- Casper (49,644). Casper is one of the fastest growing states in Wyoming because they have made gains in their tourism and hospitality industries. Furthermore, many newcomers from surrounding states are moving into the area to purchase take advantage of lower property taxes and good schools.
- Cheyenne (53,011). Wyoming's state capital has enjoyed a population boom because it's very stable job base has seen steady growth over the past few years. Much of this job growth can be attributed to an increase in the production of the state's natural resources and government spending.
Wyoming Mortgage Types
Here are the most common types of home loans that are offered to Wyoming homebuyers:
- ARM's that mature in 1, 3 or 5 years,
- fixed rate mortgage loans that mature in 15 or 30 years,
- jumbo loans,
- 2nd mortgages
- reverse mortgages,
- refinance loans,
- home equity loans.
Each of these loans is recognized in Wyoming as either a mortgage or a deed of trust. This is the case because Wyoming's laws that govern the home loan industry give lenders and borrowers the right to choose which legal instrument should be used to govern the terms of the loan.
Furthermore, Wyoming's home loans also have full recourse privileges. As a result, borrowers may seek a deficiency judgment against a borrower for any difference between the foreclosed sale price and the original loan amount.
In addition, many of these instruments feature a power of sale clause. These clauses allow sellers to quickly foreclose on a borrower who defaults on his loan. As a result, they play an important role in the foreclosure process in Wyoming.
Wyoming's Foreclosure Procedures
Wyoming recognizes both judicial and non-judicial foreclosures. Non-judicial foreclosures happen more often because most mortgages and deeds of trust contain a power of sale clause that allows sellers to quickly foreclose on a borrower who defaults on his loan.
Wyoming also permits borrowers to redeem their properties. The redemption process varies depending on which foreclosure procedure is followed.
- If a non-judicial procedure is used, the borrower has 90 days from the date of the first missed payment to try to redeem his foreclosed property.
- if a judicial procedure is used, the debtor has one calendar year from the date of the foreclosure notice to redeem the property.
As a result, most lenders put a power of sale clause into their loan contracts so that they can invoke the non-judicial closure procedure on the home. Therefore, it is important to know how the non-judicial foreclosure procedure works in Wyoming. Here is how the non-judicial foreclosure procedure works in Wyoming.
- A power of sale clause must be first found and verified in the language of the loan contract.
- If it is, then a non-judicial foreclosure procedure may be invoked to collect money that is due to the lender.
- This procedure may happen in one of two ways:
First, a notice of "Intent to Foreclose" must be sent to the borrower at least 10 days before the public can be notified of the sale.
After the notice has been sent to the borrower, a sales notice must be published in a local newspaper that is published in the county where the house resides.
This notice must be published at least once a week for at least four (4) consecutive weeks in the same local newspaper.
The notice must include essential information about the sale. This information often includes:
- If the loan contract includes a specific procedure to sell the home, that procedure must be followed to sell the home.
- If there is no such procedure included in the loan contract, then proceed to step 4.
The sale must be conducted between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM by someone who is appointed by the court handling the proceedings. This sale usually takes place in front of the county courthouse. However, the sale may be conducted anywhere that is prescribed by the court.
There are no minimum bids needed to win the property.
The highest bid wins the right to obtain the house once all of the redemption and deficiency issues have been taken care of.
The borrower is on the hook for any difference between the auction price and the amount that was originally borrowed.
At any time, during the foreclosure proceedings, the borrower may try to redeem the property. In order to do this the borrower must do the following:
- The name of the borrower.
- The name of the lender or its representative.
- The amount of the loan.
- A general description of the property.
- The time and place of the sale.
Furthermore, the auction can be postponed by any interested party. The party must pay for the ad in the same paper that published the original ad for the auction.
- Pay the winner of the auction the full amount that was paid at the auction.
- Pay 10% interest to the buyer. And,
- Pay any other costs that were associated with purchasing the home at the auction to the buyer.
Finally, there are some instances where a judicial foreclosure can take place. These foreclosures take place only of if a power of sale clause is absent in a loan instrument. If this is the case, here is what the lender must do to foreclose on a property:
- The lender must first obtain a court order to foreclose on the property.
- If the court agrees, the court will issue a formal foreclosure notice to the borrower.
- When the foreclosure notice is given to the borrower, he is also given a mandatory 7-30 day period to catch up on any missed payments.
- If the debtor cannot pay enough to catch up, the court will order a sale that generally follows the same procedure as a non-judicial foreclosure.
- The only difference is now the debtor has up to one full calendar year from the date of the sale to redeem his property.
As a result, be sure to check to see if a power of sale clause was included in a mortgage or deed of sale contract before attempting to buy a foreclosed property in Wyoming.