Helping You Avoid Foreclosure & Keep Your Home in D.C. & Maryland
When homeowners fall far enough behind on mortgage payments, the lender will begin taking steps to force the sale of the home in order to collect on the outstanding debt. This process is known as foreclosure, and it is one of the most stressful situations a homeowner can face. Furthermore, if your outstanding mortgage debts are greater than the amount your home sold for in foreclosure, you may be sued by your lender to make up this amount, known as a “deficiency judgment.”
The good news is there are options for stopping or avoiding foreclosure. However, you have limited time to do so. It is important that you reach out to an experienced foreclosure attorney in Washington, D.C. or Maryland right away.
How the Foreclosure Process Works in Washington, D.C. and Maryland
In D.C., as in other areas of the country, lenders must follow a certain procedure when foreclosing on a home.
In most cases, this process will go as follows:
- You will receive notice of default from your lender. This notice will include the amount needed to make the loan current. This notice will also be recorded in the land records by the bank, which marks the first official step in D.C.’s nonjudicial foreclosure process.
- Your lender/the bank must also provide you with a mediation notice. This notice should include a loss mitigation application, as well as a mediation election form. Should you choose to participate in mediation, you have 30 days to return the mediation election form.
- If you choose not to participate in mediation or if mediation is unsuccessful, the lender will then send you a notice of intent to foreclose. This notice will include information on the sale and a copy will be sent to local officials. Once local officials receive this copy, the home can be sold in as little as 30 days.
Additionally, in most cases, a notice of sale must be publicly advertised.
How Foreclosure Works in Maryland
In Maryland, the foreclosure process is similar to Washington, D.C.’s foreclosure procedures with some key differences.
Typically, the foreclosure process in Maryland involves:
- The lender/bank must send you a “pre-foreclosure” notice, or notice of intent to foreclose, no less than 45 days before filing the official foreclosure action. With this notice, the lender must include what is known as a “loss mitigation” application, which allows you to request mediation or another alternative to foreclosure, as well as information on mediation when applicable.
- Once the lender files an “Order to Docket” and serves you a copy of this order, as well as other foreclosure documents, the foreclosure process has officially started.
- If you have not attended mediation and you do not request mediation, the lender/bank can proceed with the sale of your home. First, however, the lender must notify you by mail within 10 to 30 days of the sale and the sale must be published in a newspaper for a period of no less than three weeks (21 days).
Once foreclosure has begun, the sale of your home can happen rapidly. However, Maryland homeowners are permitted to “reinstate” your loan—or make up missed mortgage payments (as well as various fees)—at any time up to one business day prior to the sale of your home. Additionally, although Maryland does not have a statutory “right to redeem” after foreclosure, homeowners in the state do have an “equitable right of redemption.” This means that you may be able to redeem your home before the foreclosure sale is ratified by the court.
Options for Avoiding Foreclosure
Regardless of where you are in the foreclosure process, you may have several available options for delaying, avoiding, or stopping foreclosure altogether.
These options include:
- Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- Reinstating the loan prior to the sale of the home
- Reaching a repayment plan agreement with the lender
- Arranging a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure
- Seeking a loan modification or similar loss mitigation agreement
- Fighting foreclosure in court
No matter the option that’s right for you, it’s best to have the assistance of a skilled attorney on your side.
At Capital Justice Attorneys, LLP, our Washington, D.C. foreclosure lawyers can help you understand all of your legal options and work toward a solution that is tailored to your unique situation, needs, and goals. We proudly provide compassionate and personalized legal services for clients throughout Washington, D.C. and Maryland.