An unfortunate reality of having a mortgage is the possibility that at some point, the homeowner will not be financially prepared to make payments due to factors such as job loss, medical problems, or other hardships. Retaining the services of a real estate lawyer is one of the only ways to have any chance of stopping a foreclosure or being able to remain in the home while these issues are sorted out.
Maryland is a state that has more significant foreclosure issues than almost anywhere else in the country.
Maryland’s foreclosure crisis
The state of Maryland and the Baltimore metro area have both experienced continued housing problems and real estate foreclosures in the decade since the housing market crash and recession. For significant spans of time over the last several years, Maryland has led the nation in distressed sales of homes, which are used to keep housing prices down during troubled economic times. The state basically experienced multiple waves of foreclosures, rather than one problematic span of time tied to the real estate bubble. This has also created problematic cases where attorneys have to go through large amounts of information related to mortgages where the borrower may be years rather than months behind.
How long does it take for a foreclosure to happen?
Distressed mortgages can be quickly dealt with by banks or lenders. Under Maryland’s laws, most foreclosure proceedings only take about 90 days unless there are special circumstances. As long as the lender can prove that the mortgage exists and it is delinquent, there are only a few specific things the borrower can do to contest their eviction and the forced sale of the home. Measures were passed during the last housing crisis to try to give borrowers more time, but this seems to have made little difference in practice. There were also short term measures passed related to affordable loan modifications, but these also tended to give financially stressed borrowers more time before an inevitable foreclosure happened due to long term problems.
Are there any legal defenses?
Many of the most commonly used defenses to foreclosures are procedural. This means that a real estate lawyer will not attack the fact that the mortgage exists or that the borrower owes the bank, but rather than the lender has not gone through all of the steps to file a lawsuit properly. This can include things like improper notice to the defendant, not filling out the right forms, and generally trying to take shortcuts that circumvent some requirements set out by relevant local laws. These problems are especially common when dealing with lenders who handle high volumes of mortgages, because they may not check over everything before starting the foreclosure proceedings.
Talk to a lawyer about your situation today
If you are facing a pending foreclosure or any other issues that may require the expertise of a real estate attorney, contact the Law Offices of Michael E. Gross. Mr. Gross has over thirty years of experience helping people with property issues in Bethesda and the Washington D.C. metro area.