The Foreclosure Process in Maryland
Before Foreclosure Action Begins
In Maryland, before the lender can file a foreclosure case against your property, the lender must:
~Wait 90 days from the date that your loan is in default; and
~Send you a Notice of Intent to Foreclose 45 days before the foreclosure case is filed.
The best time to avoid foreclosure is to start working on a resolution today. The sooner you begin working with your lender, the greater the chance you can work out a solution to your situation. Before a foreclosure action is filed, the lender must send you notice compliant with Maryland law that advises that the lender intends to foreclose. Many mortgages require the lender to give notice of the default and of your right to remedy the default before filing foreclosure.
The Notice of Intent to Foreclose will provide you with important information about why your loan is in default, the amount you owe to bring your loan current, the last payment received, contact information for the lender or secured party, for the mortgage servicer that collects your mortgage payments and for the department that can help you work out your default (the loss mitigation department). With that notice of intent to foreclose, the lender must provide you an application for loss mitigation - and it is this application that should complete and return to your lender as soon as possible to ensure you protect your rights. We can guide you through the application process, as well as throughout the foreclosure process to ensure your application is appropriately reviewed and you are provided the loss mitigation resolution you deserve.
Starting Foreclosure Action
To begin a foreclosure case, the lender must file the foreclosure with the Circuit Court in the county in which the property is located. The lender must file certain documents to establish its authority to foreclose. The lender must personally serve you with all the papers filed when the case was docketed with the court. If the lender is unable to serve you after two good faith attempts on two separate days, the lender may file an affidavit with the court describing the attempts made to serve you and the lender may then serve you by sending you a copy of the court papers, by both certified and first class mail and by posting the court papers on the property.
Before any foreclosure sale can be held, the borrower has a right to mediation. Mediation is when the borrower, the borrower's attorney (if the borrower elects to have one), the lender's attorney, and the lender's representative appear at mediation to discuss options available to keep the borrower in the home or provide the borrower an easy transition. Mediations are often the critical turning point in determining what next steps your lender is willing to take to preserve your home ownership. Having an attorney during this process can prove to be very beneficial to ensure that all options are explored before, during, and after the mediation.
Preventing the Foreclosure Sale
The benefit of having an attorney during the foreclosure process is to ensure that the borrower's interests are protected prior to and during the foreclosure action. During the foreclosure action, challenges can be made by the borrower as to the lender's failure to comply with Maryland and Federal law during the foreclosure process, the lender's prior wrongdoings or fraud, and even the lender's failure to review a modification or other loss mitigation resolution in good faith. If timely raised, these challenges can stop the foreclosure sale and encourage the lender to work with the borrower to come to a resolution. Consulting with an attorney for advice and assistance as soon as possible is critical if you believe you may have a defense to the foreclosure.
If your lender is unwilling to work with you, filing a Chapter 7 or 13 petition in bankruptcy may be beneficial, which could stay or stop the sale.
After the Foreclosure Sale
If a sale does take place, the property will be sold through a public auction open to anyone who desires to make a bid. Public auctions are usually held on the property or at the courthouse in the county where the property is located. After the sale has taken place, but before the court has ratified the sale, objections can be raised if the sale was improperly conducted.
Motion for Judgment Awarding Possession
If the foreclosure sale cannot be challenged, there are ways to obtain additional time in the home, or negotiate with the lender's attorneys for additional time. This can include a cash for keys option. The ultimate goal is that, if your home cannot be saved, we guide you through the transition to ensure that you have peace of mind.
Contact us today at 703-651-6811 to discuss your options with an attorney.