Foreclosures in Maryland are occurring at over twice the national average, but homeowners have options says bankruptcy attorney Richard L. Gilman
“Contrary to popular belief, the loan modification process is not really about the homeowner’s hardship,” Gilman said. “While that is important, it is not the controlling factor.”
November 18, 2014
Maryland has regularly been among the top states on foreclosure lists since the onset of the housing crisis in 2007, and October was no different. According to the monthly report from RealtyTrac, one out-of-every 400 Maryland housing units is facing foreclosure action — over twice the national average of 1-in-1,069.
This rise is reflected across all types of foreclosure actions compared to the September numbers, including a 29.4 percent rise in foreclosure auctions, a 44.2 percent rise in pre-foreclosures, and a staggering 337.7 percent rise in bank-owned foreclosure. That represents a 68% increase over the previous month, and a 30% increase from a year ago.
Maryland homeowners facing foreclosure have options to avoid foreclosure, and — in many cases — keep their homes, according to attorney Richard L. Gilman, co-founder and principle of Hyattsville and Rockville-based law firm, Gilman & Edwards, LLC.
Loan modification is one such option. Seeking a loan modification is an opportunity for homeowners to carefully present their situation to the lender in an attempt to lower monthly payments. Lowering the monthly payment may be accomplished by a reduction of the interest rate, reduction of the outstanding loan balance, or extending the maturity date of the loan.
“Contrary to popular belief, the loan modification process is not really about the homeowner’s hardship,” Gilman said. “While that is important, it is not the controlling factor. Rather, a successful modification will generally turn on what is in the best interests of the lender. This requires a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the mortgage lending industry, real estate trends, and other factors along with a proper compilation of all relevant financial information in order to maximize your chances of obtaining a loan modification or other loss mitigation relief.
“For example, through our efforts we were able to secure for one of our clients a loan modification that reduced her interest rate from 5% to 2%, and will include a loan balance reduction in excess of $150,000. This modification will enable our client to afford her house, and convert an underwater house to a worthwhile investment.”
If loan modification is not the best option, other loss mitigation options are available such as loan forbearance, a short sale, or deed in lieu of foreclosure.