Hyattsville Mediation Attorney
Avoiding Foreclosure in Silver Spring and All of Maryland
When you fall behind on your mortgage payments, your lender will eventually initiate foreclosure proceedings. If you take no action, foreclosure will result in the sale and loss of your home. To avoid this devastating outcome, you will need to take proactive steps and consider all available options. The state of Maryland offers foreclosure mediation to all borrowers in danger of losing their homes.
Our Hyattsville mediation lawyer has over 20 years of legal experience and can diligently represent you in negotiations with your lender. We are familiar with a wide variety of foreclosure avoidance strategies and can fight for a solution that is consistent with your goals. Our team at The Law Offices of Brian C. Williams is compassionate to the uncertainty and stress you are likely experiencing and is committed to offering the personalized attention and guidance you need to protect your interests.
How to Request Foreclosure Mediation in Maryland
Once you have fallen significantly behind on making mortgage payments, you will enter what is called “pre-foreclosure.” Your lender is generally required by state law to provide certain notices and disclosures to you during this period, including a notice of intent to foreclose. While you can explore and attempt to negotiate foreclosure avoidance options during pre-foreclosure, you will not be able to initiate foreclosure mediation until foreclosure proceedings have formally begun.
After a lender has started foreclosure proceedings in the state of Maryland, they are required to send you a “Request for Foreclosure Mediation” form. You will have 25 days from the date you receive the form to complete it and submit it with the appropriate Circuit Court. You will need to include $50 with your submission and send a copy to the lender’s legal representation.
It is extremely important that you file this form on time if you wish to request foreclosure mediation. You will not have another opportunity to pursue foreclosure mediation if you miss the deadline. We can help you prepare all necessary paperwork and filings.
Foreclosure mediation involves diplomatic, guided negotiations between a homeowner and their lender. An administrative law judge from the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings will typically serve as the neutral third party. The mediator will work closely with the homeowner and lender to work toward a mutually agreeable solution that avoids foreclosure.
Foreclosure mediation can lead to a:
- Loan Modification. The lender may agree to adjust one or more terms of your mortgage. Common types of modifications include an extension of the payoff period, which results in lower monthly payments. You may also be able to negotiate a lower interest rate or switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage.
- Short Sale. If you have a third party willing to purchase your home, your lender may be willing to approve what is called a “short sale.” In this transaction, the third party buys your home for less than what you currently owe on your mortgage. You can negotiate to have this deficiency forgiven. Lenders may authorize a short sale if they believe it is the best available option, and this type of transaction can in some cases be more beneficial to all parties than going through foreclosure.
- Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. If you believe you will be unable to keep your home or are willing to part with it, a deed in lieu of foreclosure can serve as an effective and typically less damaging foreclosure alternative. The process involves voluntarily transferring ownership of the property to the lender in exchange for a release from mortgage obligations.
Lenders are not required to agree to a foreclosure avoidance strategy if they do not believe doing so is in their best interest. However, the truth is that lenders generally wish to avoid foreclosure if possible. Foreclosure is notoriously time-consuming and expensive, and the process may leave the lender with a piece of real estate property they never had any intention of owning.
Effective legal representation can help you make the most of foreclosure mediation in Maryland. Our Hyattsville foreclosure mediation attorney can provide you with the guidance and advocacy you need to secure a favorable outcome in your case.
Unfortunately, foreclosure mediation will not always be successful. You may have limited leverage, or your lender may be particularly stubborn. If your lender walks away without a deal in place, they will likely proceed with foreclosing your home. Because foreclosure proceedings will have already begun, you will have limited time to stop a sale.
Filing for bankruptcy can stop a pending foreclosure and potentially save your home. The automatic stay, which takes effect after you have submitted your petition, halts all imminent and ongoing collection actions, including foreclosure. So long as you file before a sale has taken place, your lender will not be able to continue with the foreclosure proceedings.
You are generally less likely to be able to keep your home in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but you will be able to protect some equity in the property and avoid foreclosure. The Maryland homestead exemption allows you to shield up to $23,675 of equity in your home, condo, or co-op.
If you wish to keep your home, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the best option. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will propose a payment plan that reorganizes all of your outstanding obligations, including your mortgage arrears, and you need to make monthly payments over a period of three to five years. The amount of this monthly payment will be tied to what you can currently afford, not the size of your debt.
You will be protected from foreclosure so long as you continue to pay your Chapter 13 plan’s monthly installments. Mortgage arrears must be paid over the life of the plan, so your mortgage will be current once your bankruptcy case has concluded. You will be permitted to discharge any remaining unsecured debts, including credit card debt and medical debt, which can free up additional financial resources to put toward your mortgage going forward.
Our Hyattsville foreclosure mediation lawyer is committed to protecting your interests and will do everything possible to help you keep your home. Our team at The Law Offices of Brian C. Williams is familiar with how to effectively advocate for homeowners during mediation negotiations and can tailor our approach to your specific goals. If mediation is unsuccessful, we can help you quickly leverage bankruptcy to avoid foreclosure.
During your initial consultation, Attorney Williams will explain exactly what to expect during your case.
With over 20 years of experience, Attorney Williams is well versed in the intricacies of the law.
Attorney Williams seeks to educate his clients about their rights and is attentive in answering all of their questions.