Foreclosure & Alternatives Law
Falling behind on mortgage payments isn't something that most homeowners want to do. When those past due payments begin to add up, the lender might choose to pursue foreclosure on the home. It is vital for all homeowners who are facing foreclosure to understand the process and how they can fight to keep the home they love.
All foreclosures in Maine are handled through the judicial process. The process starts when the lender sends the borrower a Notice of Right to Cure. That notice gives the borrower 35 days to pay the past due balance to avoid the foreclosure process officially starting. The receipt of this notice is when borrowers can contact lenders to determine if the lender is interested in offering any other arrangements to help the borrower cure the default. Borrowers also have a chance later in the foreclosure process to request mediation.
If the borrower doesn't cure the default in 35 days, the lender can file the complaint for foreclosure with the court. The borrower then has 20 days to respond after being served with the summons and complaint. This is the time period in which the borrower should request to participate in the Foreclosure Diversion Program.
The foreclosed home can be sold approximately four months after a foreclosure judgment is entered. This allows time for the 90-day redemption period. It also includes the time period required for the notice of sale. The lender must publish a notice of the sale for three weeks in a row with at least one notice each week. The sale of the home has to occur 30 to 45 days after the first day of publication. A mailed notice must also be sent to the borrowers at least 30 days prior to the sale.
The Foreclosure Diversion Program in Maine is a state mandated program that is available for homeowners who make a written request to the Court Clerk in the jurisdiction in which the foreclosure is occurring. A copy of the request has to be sent to the lender's attorney as well. Only owner-occupied properties are eligible for this program.
Borrowers and lenders enter into a mediation program when the FDP is used. This allows direct communication between the borrower and lender in an informal setting. The goal of mediation is to come up with a solution that stops the foreclosure process.
Once the foreclosure judgment is entered, the homeowner has a 90-day redemption period. That period isn't valid if the homeowner appeals the foreclosure. Maine law does allow lenders to seek deficiency judgments in some cases. The terms of these judgments are often severely limited.
While Maine foreclosures aren't as swift as some other states, taking early action gives homeowners the best chance of discovering a way to avoid foreclosure. Seeking the help of an experienced Maine attorney can help homeowners to learn their options.