Since the national foreclosure crisis began in 2007, Governor O'Malley has aggressively worked to save Marylanders' homes. Maryland has been at the forefront of efforts to combat the crisis and preserve homeownership through a package of new laws and regulations, resources for housing counselors and
recruitment of pro bono lawyers, extensive outreach and other efforts.
Help for Homeowners
For Marylanders facing foreclosure, there is help available.
Homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments or fear they may become unable to make payments in the near future should contact their lender immediately.
President Obama has also implemented the Making Home Affordable program, which will help millions of Americans lower their mortgage payments so they can stay in their homes. For more information and eligibility requirements, visit Making Home Affordable.
Homeowners can also call the Maryland HOPE Hotline at 1-877-462-7555 to get assistance from a housing counselor or visit MD HOPE.
The Foreclosure Process and Mediation
Since 2008, Governor O'Malley has signed into law a series of statutes designed to combat the foreclosure crisis facing Marylanders. These new laws have improved the foreclosure process by giving homeowners earlier notice of a possible foreclosure, and by extending the time before which a foreclosure sale can occur. This gives a homeowner a greater opportunity to resolve problems before the house is sold. The most recent foreclosure law provides a mediation option designed to give homeowners the opportunity to meet with the lender or servicer and a neutral third party to ensure that alternatives to foreclosure have been considered and evaluated. Alternatives include loan modifications, or
if the house cannot be saved, other options such as short sales.
PLEASE DO NOT WAIT FOR MEDIATION TO START EFFORTS TO SAVE YOUR HOME - CALL THE MARYLAND HOPE HOTLINE AT 1-877-462-7555 TO GET ASSISTANCE FROM A HOUSING COUNSELOR OR VISIT MD HOPE.
Under Maryland's New Foreclosure Laws:
- Your lender must send you a Notice of Intent to Foreclose at least 45 days before filing a foreclosure action in court.
- The Notice must include a loss mitigation application and related information.
- A foreclosure action cannot be filed in court until at least 90 days after you default on your loan.
- When a lender or servicer files a "Final Loss Mitigation Affidavit" with the court, stating that you have been denied for any form of loss mitigation program, your lender or servicer must provide you with a "Request for Mediation"
form. You have 15 days from the time you receive this form, or the date it was
sent, to complete it and file the request for mediation with the Circuit Court.
You must pay a non-refundable $50 fee when you formally file this request for
- If you do not file a Request for Mediation, your property may be sold within 20 days.
- If you file a Request for Mediation, it will be referred to the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), where an administrative law judge must mediate the case within 60 days after it receives your request from the
- The mediator is not a decision maker but rather a neutral, third party who will seek to assist the parties in finding common ground and avoiding a foreclosure.
You must be personally served with court papers when the foreclosure action is filed. If your lender tries to serve you in person but is unsuccessful, the lender may serve you the papers by posting them on your property and mailing them by certified mail.
Avoid Becoming a Victim: Mortgage Fraud and Scams
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The foreclosure crisis has led to an increase in foreclosure-related scams, including those that involve so-called loss-mitigation consultants and foreclosure rescue consultants. If you feel you may be the target or victim of a mortgage modification scam or of foreclosure fraud, trust your instincts and seek help.
File a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation. For tips on spotting scam artists, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website on foreclosure rescue scams.
Maryland law is designed to protect homeowners from unscrupulous individuals wishing to take advantage of those in danger of losing their homes. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
- There is never a fee to get assistance or information about the "Making Home Affordable Plan" from your lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor. Approved, non-profit counselors can be accessed through 1-877-462-7555.
- Beware of any person or organization asking you to pay up-front fees in exchange for providing mortgage counseling services or modification of a delinquent loan. Do not pay - walk away.
- Do not believe guarantees. A reputable counselor will not guarantee that they can stop the foreclosure process, regardless of your circumstances. Working with a legitimate counselor can certainly increase your chances of keeping your home -- but be wary of people who promise a sure thing. Again, first get the details of your transaction and any related promises in writing
before you enter into an agreement.
- Beware of anyone who says they can "save" your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage lender, or with your attorney.
- Never submit your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage lender without your mortgage lender's approval.
For more questions, you can reach us at the following:
BBT Real Estate Group Team
Keller Williams Preferred Properties
9701 Apollo Drive, Suite 102
Largo, MD 20774