By Richard Woodfork
The author has permitted the reprinting and redistribution of this article.
I was driving through a neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago this past Saturday and I was amazed at how the area had gone down. The area itself was never the best area to live in, but it was a place where people had a sense of pride. As I drove down one particular block, I slowed my car to witness five houses and multi-units in row that were abandoned. I looked towards the opposite side of the street and noticed numerous other vacant structures. As I continued, I again saw countless pieces of real estate that were without occupants.
I immediately started writing this article to try to help people during this current economic downturn. The perils that our country faces today on the economic front have taken away the concept of the American Dream. What was once places where people could call home were now dilapidated and rodent-infested nightmares. I hope that after people read this article, they will begin to take control of their lives so that we can build this country back up, one house and one homeowner at a time.
All of these dwellings that I saw were once occupied. They are all now the waste and carnage of foreclosure. They are all now owned by the mortgage companies who hoped to help people realize the American Dream (and make some money in the process).
So, what is foreclosure Foreclosure is a court action initiated by a lender or a lien holder for the purpose of having the court order the debtor’s real estate sold to pay the loan or other lien (mechanic’s lien or judgment). It is a legal process. There are specific steps the lender or lien holder must take to force the sell of the property. These steps are governed by various state and Federal laws.
Please keep in mind, the lenders do not want to foreclose on the real estate. They are in the lending business not the real estate management business. The worse thing that can happen to them is that they foreclose on the property. With the way the economy is now, it is very likely that they will receive the property back instead of receiving their money.
Let’s not get things mixed up here. The lender WILL foreclose on a person’s home if they feel that this is the only way the situation can get resolved. This is also their last choice. They prefer to work with home-owners to help get them back on track. Here are the steps you must take to avoid foreclosure
1. If you are unable to meet your obligation, call the lender immediately.
2. Do not ignore letters from the lender. Your failure to respond will make the situation worse not better.
3. Assess your current financial state to find out where you can cut expenses and raise money to pay back your delinquency.
4. Talk to friends and family to help you cope with the added stress.
5. Take the time to relax. Do something you enjoy.
6. Contact a professional to solicit their input.
If you’re behind on your mortgage payments or facing foreclosure, receive a hassle-free offer on your property.
There are options you may have when you talk to the lender
1. Forebearance – The lender may postpone any foreclosure action against you if you can repay the delinquent amount you owe within a short period of time.
2. Forgive the payment – If you can convince the lender you experienced a temporary setback and you will not miss a payment again, you may be able to have the delinquency forgiven. They may waive the amount.
3. Spread the payment over a longer time frame – Sometimes the lender will allow you to repay the delinquent amount over a longer period of time. The prefer to have the money sooner than later, but they also do not want to foreclose. For example, you may have a normal mortgage payment of $1500 per month. You may be four months behind. The lender may allow you to pay back the $6,000 plus interest over say five years by adding approximately $100 per month to your payment. You will now pay $1600 per month for five years and then $1500 per month after fives until the mortgage is paid.
4. Loan modification – If the you have an adjustable rate mortgage, the lender may agree to freeze the interest rate or change the interest rate to an amount that is mutually beneficial. They may also increase the term of the loan to lower the payments.
5. Move the amount owed to the end of the loan – If you have some equity in your property, the lender may move the amount owed to the back of the loan. There may be a balloon payment at the end or larger payments for a few months.
6. Make an additional loan to you – Some loans that are backed by the government contain provisions to help home-owners who are in trouble. Check different government web sites such as those for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) for more information.
As stated, the lender does not want to foreclose. Foreclosures cost the lender BIG money and hurts their ability to borrow money.
This article covered some of the things you can do to avoid foreclosure. But what if the lender has already filed a notice of default against you Be sure to read Part 2 of this article for answers to your questions.
Every effort has been made to comply with federal, state and local laws regarding the material presented. We make no representations or guarantees that the material will work for your particular needs, and we disclaim any warranties, express, implied or for any particular purpose you may need. You understand that all material is provided for example only and that it is strongly advise that you seek legal counsel for advice to make certain it is applicable to your situation. It is also advised that you review the potential financial and tax implications of any actions with a qualified professional before proceeding.
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