Foreclosure Law in Maryland
In Hagerstown, Maryland, foreclosure is a process through which a lender that issued a mortgage loan retakes possession of the property that was bought with the mortgage in the event that the borrower has defaulted on his or her payments.
When individuals are facing foreclosure, it typically involves a house. The bank will acquire the house with the intent of selling it at an auction, hoping to cover whatever's left on the mortgage, giving them at least a chance to break even on the loan.
In every state, including Maryland, homeowners have the option to go through what is known as a foreclosure by judicial sale. Essentially, this means a court will oversee the sale of the house to ensure that the bank makes reasonable efforts to sell it for as high a price as possible (to help avoid a deficiency that the borrower may have to pay), and to ensure that any money which might be left over from the sale (after the balance on the mortgage is paid) goes to the borrower.
In many states, mortgages fall into a category of loans identified as "non-recourse loans." This means that, if the house is sold by the lender, the entire debt is eliminated, even if the sale price was less than the remaining balance on the loan. While the loss of one's home can be personally devastating, treating a mortgage as a non-recourse loan at least means that the homeowner will be more or less free to move on with their life once the property is foreclosed and sold.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Hagerstown, Maryland
Communication between you and your lender is perhaps the most significant way to prevent foreclosure. Ignoring the issue is guaranteed to be counterproductive. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to dealing with lenders.
Throughout all this, you should remember one thing: the bank doesn't really want your house. After all, banks aren't real estate speculators, they're mainly money lenders. They stand to make a great deal of money if you are able to make your mortgage payments until it's paid off. They're likely to make much less if they're forced to sell your house.
If you experience a sudden change in your financial situation, your lender, in an effort to keep you from defaulting, might be willing to accept lower monthly payments, at least temporarily.
Lastly, there is the "short sale." Typically considered a last resort, a short sale results in the borrower losing their home, but discharges almost all of their remaining mortgage debt. If the house is worth far less than the balance of the mortgage, this might be a good choice. In Maryland, when a house is sold in a short sale, the proceeds go to the lender. If it sells for less than the mortgage balance, whatever's leftover is forgiven. If it sells for more, the surplus goes to the homeowner.
Can a Hagerstown, Maryland real estate attorney help?
If you live in Hagerstown, Maryland and believe that your house is in danger of being foreclosed, you may have more options and protections than you think. You may not know what all of them are, but an efficient real estate lawyer probably will.