How Foreclosure Works in Maine
Maine is a Judicial Foreclosure state which means your lender has to file a court action against you to foreclose on your home in Maine. The foreclosure process is as follows:
You get a Notice of Default
The mortgage company for your loan must send a letter stating the amount they believe you are past due on the loan and that you have 35 days to pay the entire amount to correct the default. A foreclosure cannot be filed in court against you until after the 35 days pass.
You are served with Court papers
The mortgage company must serve a copy of a summons and complaint on you, normally by a Deputy Sheriff. The mortgage company files the same papers with the court. This begins the court foreclosure process in Maine. You have 20 days to file an Answer with the court if you wish to contest the foreclosure. If you want to save your home, you should contact us immediately. If you don’t file an answer, you will most likely lose your home. You should also request "mediation."
File an Answer and Request Mediation
To avoid an immediate "default judgment," you must file an Answer (or a letter requesting more time to file an Answer) within 20 days of getting the court complaint. If you do not file an Answer, you will lose your case. There should be a form Answer or Response form with the foreclosure complaint.
Beginning January 1, 2010, the Maine Courts are offering "mediation" in most home foreclosure cases. This could be your last, best chance to save your home – or to have a say over how your case will be resolved. In a mediation meeting, a free, trained neutral mediator will sit down with you and a person from the mortgage company (usually by phone with an attorney present) and try to help you come up with a good solution to your problem. All you have to do is ask the Court for "mediation." You can complete the Response form provided with the foreclosure packet. If you live in the home and want to save the home, you can check those boxes on the form. You then need to send that form to the Court AND the foreclosing attorney. Again, you should contact us immediately if you want to save your home. The mortgage company will have an attorney at the mediation and so should you!
The Foreclosure Mediation Process
Informational Meeting Session
A few days or weeks after you “file” your Answer with the Court, you should receive a "Scheduling Order for Informational Session". This notice will tell you the time, date and place of the “informational” meeting.
You MUST go to the meeting and be on time. If you do not go, you will probably be “defaulted.” This means that the Court will assume that you have dropped your request for mediation and will go ahead and allow your case to proceed toward foreclosure.
Preparing for the Mediation Session
You will get two forms from the Court. You may receive these at your “informational” meeting. Or, you may get them in the mail soon after your meeting. These two forms are:
- Mediation Scheduling Notice: this will tell you the time, date and place of your next court meeting: the Mediation Session. It also orders you to fill out the second “Defendant’s Information” form and “file” it with the court by a certain date.
- Foreclosure Mediation Information Provided by Defendant: you need to fill this out and provide the information requested. If you have retained our office, we will assist you with providing a comprehensive, thorough loan modification application as to avoid delay and confusion.
Free Maine Foreclosure Prevention Hotline
If you need help filling out these forms, you can also call the Foreclosure Prevention Hotline at 1-888-664-2569. This is a free service.
After You Complete the Foreclosure Mediation Forms
- Make two copies of your documents.
- Send the completed form and financial packet to the court.
- Send a copy of the completed form and packet to the mortgage company’s lawyer.
- Keep the second copy for yourself.
Go to the Foreclosure Mediation Session
Bring all of your court papers and copies of your financial information.
Again, you really should have a bankruptcy attorney familar with Maine foreclosure proceedings representing you at this meeting if you want the best chance of saving your home from foreclosure. The mortgage company has their attorney there representing them and you should have someone on your side representing your interests.
A Loan Modification Can Save Your Home (and money on interest)
You may think you cannot afford an attorney but we provide a very affordable payment plan option to pay for our services. In the long run, retaining us could save your home as well as tens of thousands of dollars by getting you a modification with a lower interest rate and monthly mortgage payment.
While we cannot guarantee any result, we have saved hundreds of homes through loan modifications are very familiar with the documents required by the mortgage companies and the process.
The Role of the Mediator at the Session
There will be a neutral mediator, who is trained and court-appointed at the mediation as well as a person from the bank who has the power to change the mortgage (may attend by telephone or video) and the mortgage company’s lawyer. At the mediation, the mediator will address three issues:
The Mediator Determines if Foreclosure Can Proceed
First, the company claiming to own your mortgage has to show that it has the right to bring you to Court.
The Mediator Gathers Relevant Financial Facts
Second, the mediator will lay the financial groundwork. He will gather relevant facts, such as:
- the amount of money borrowed,
- the amount owed for interest,
- the reason you fell behind,
- the amount of the monthly payments,
- the interest rate,
- the value of the property
- any cost or fees for reinstating the mortgage
- your monthly income
- your monthly expenses
The mediator may then calculate how much you can afford to pay. This is based on the financial packet you submitted and financial information supplied by the bank. It will also factor in whether a loan modification is a good deal for the bank. This math work can help to clarify the overall financial picture.
The Mediator Explores Loan Modification Options
Third, the mediator will help you and the mortgage company explore what modification options might work, or whether there are other good alternatives to foreclosure.
What Happens After the First Mediation Session?
Most Likely: You Continue Working with the Bank on a Loan Modification
After the first mediation, you will probably not have an answer on your loan modification application and will have to provide updated or additional documents to the mortgage company. You will set deadlines for providing the documents and for the mortgage company to review them. You will also most likely set a date for another mediation to follow up on the progress of your loan modification evaluation.
What Happens If You and the Bank Can't Agree on a Loan Modification?
If you attend one or more mediation sessions and the mortgage company is unwilling to provide a modification or workout agreement for your loan, your case will most likely be terminated from the mediation program and your case will be placed back on the foreclosure docket.
You will receive a scheduling order that will outline the upcoming deadlines for your case including discovery, motions, and trial.
If a foreclosure judgment is entered against you, you still have 90 days to pay the entire loan amount due before an auction happens.
Don't Give Up Trying to Save Your Home from Foreclosure
It is not too late at this point to continue to try and save your home. You should contact us immediately. Many mortgage companies will work with us until the house is auctioned off to try and prevent the foreclosure. We can still try for a loan modification. We can also look at filing a bankruptcy for you that would stop the foreclosure process.
Do not give up hope. Contact us immediately at (207) 283-3777 to review your options today.