The number of foreclosures is growing at an alarming rate all over the country. Record numbers of people are finding themselves unable to meet the terms of their home mortgages and have no idea how to go about making alternate arrangements with lenders. Some are caused by the loss of a job. Others are simply the result of the current recession and the fact that they have little or no equity in the property they are in danger of losing. Each state has its own ways of handling foreclosure proceedings. Here, we shall attempt to help understand the Maryland foreclosure process.

Typically, foreclosure can not begin until the lender has determined that the mortgage is in default. This is normally when the borrower is three or more payments behind on the loan. Prior to filing a foreclosure action, the lender must notify the borrower there is a problem with the account. Next the lender’s lawyer will send out a notice of default.

Incorporated in these mailings are instructions that can help borrowers contact the lender and seek to bring their account current or make alternate payment arrangements that are acceptable to the lender.

Maryland law states that lenders must wait an additional 90 days after determining the loan is in default before they may file a foreclosure action with the courts. They must also send borrowers a Notice of Intent stating that they plan to file foreclosure proceedings 45 days before they may file the case with the courts. Again, information about the last payment received, the number of days behind the loan is, and how to contact the lender to mitigate the case is included. It is critical that borrowers follow up on this in order to save their homes. Ignoring mail from the lender will not make the problem go away.

When the case is filed with the circuit court that operates in the county where the property being foreclosed lies, the lender must present several documents. A Statement of Debt that includes the full amount due on the loan, any attorney fees and court costs, a certified affidavit proving the borrower is not in the US military, a sworn statement that details the date of default, type of default, and when the Notice of Intent was mailed to the borrower.

A copy of the Notice of Intent, the original or a certified copy of the mortgage agreement and/or deed of trust, the lender’s license number, and a uniform notice about the filing of the action are also needed.

The lender must make no less than two attempts to personally serve copies of all of these court papers on the borrower. If two attempts are made and fail, the lender may file a sworn affidavit that details the attempts to serve the papers personally and obtain permission to serve them by first class and certified mail. In addition, the papers must be posted on the property to be foreclosed.

The lender must then wait 45 days from the date of service to schedule the foreclosure sale. An advertisement must be published in the local paper at least three times with the first being no more than 15 days before and the last being no more than 7 days before the date of the sale. The lender has to mail a notice to the borrower via first class and certified mail that details the date of the sale. Borrowers have until one business day before the sale to catch up payments and stop the foreclosure.