Foreclosure Law in Maine
In Old, Maine, 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 normally 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.
Like every other state in the U.S., Maine authorizes homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a procedure through which a court oversees the sale of the house by the lender. The purpose is to see that the lender takes reasonable steps to notify the public of the auction, and other steps to ensure that the house sells for the highest price possible. This is meant to protect the borrower, making it less likely that they'll have to pay a large deficiency judgment (the remaining amount due on the mortgage if the house sells for less than the remaining balance).
In some states, original mortgages are regarded "non-recourse" loans. This means that once the house or other property that secured the mortgage is sold, and if it sells for less than the balance of the mortgage, the lender has to absorb the loss, and cannot sue the borrower for the remainder. This normally does not apply to second mortgages or refinanced loans.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Old, Maine
To prevent foreclosure, communicating with your lender is key. Let's face it - if you're in a case where foreclosure looks like a possibility, your life is not going to be easy for some time. While it's challenging to step up and acknowledge unpleasant facts, doing so will make your life much easier in the long run. If your lender is aware of your situation, it's far more likely that you'll be able to work something out with them.
You should be mindful of the fact that your bank wants you to make your monthly mortgage payments - they likely aren't scheming to trick you into giving up your home. This isn't out of altruism, it's due to the fact that foreclosure is almost never as lucrative for the bank in the long run than a mortgage that is paid in full over a period of years or decades, with interest accruing the whole time. For a bank, a foreclosure is just a last resort to cut their losses.
If you face sudden expenses, such as medical bills or a lawsuit, which put a serious but relatively short-term strain on your finances, you should notify your lender instantly. You might find that they are willing to accept lower payments, if this will keep you from defaulting.
As a last resort, you might consider a "short sale," which results in loss of the home, but it normally leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Basically, a short sale in Maine involves selling the house for whatever price it can fetch. The proceeds from the sale go to the lender, and if it sells for less than what's left on the mortgage, the balance of the debt is forgiven.
Can a Old, Maine real estate attorney help?
If you are worried that your Old, Maine house is going to be foreclosed, and want to try and stop this, a seasoned real estate lawyer can help.