Stop Foreclosure: Gold Cross of America
July 10, 2008
Many of you out there are in fear of facing foreclosure. Interest rates are rising, your adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are resetting. And you are scared.
What should you do?
Well, before we talk about that, let’s talk about what you absolutely shouldn’t do. And that’s just to bury your head in the sand, leave your keys on the counter and walk away!
It’s not only the chicken way out, it also leaves you in the worst possible situation because you have options and, if you don’t seek them out, you are making a bad situation worse.
So, here’s four steps to take if you are facing foreclosure or think you might be in the future:
1. Ask for help!
There is no better way to get what you want than to ask. Most of us are too afraid or ashamed to ask for help and so we give up and give in before exploring all of our options.
You have nothing to be ashamed of and you don’t need to be afraid. When you ask for help, you will get the help you need. But, you’ve got to ask first.
2. Don’t get conned.
You do need to be aware of people who will try to prey on your circumstances. This can be a time of confusion, worry and fear for you. And you must not allow this fear to cause you to make bad decisions.
But how do you know what’s a bad decision?
Well, first off, never sign any legal documents without having them reviewed by a trusted lawyer. While you may think having a personal lawyer is not accessible or affordable to you, it’s not true. A personal lawyer can save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime by saving you from bad decisions. Find a lawyer who won’t bill you hourly and you can turn to throughout your lifetime before making important financial and legal decisions here.
And never, never, never sign over the deed to your home without talking to a lawyer. Doing so could cost you and your family dearly.
3. Get help from trustworthy sources.
There are some trustworthy sources to turn to if you are facing foreclosure. Start with these:
Gold Cross of America www.goldcrossofamerica.org - 800-227-7719
USA Freedom Corps
Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America
And, even when working with a trusted resource, don’t enter into any agreement without first talking to your own personal lawyer first. This is a scary time for you, but with good advice and trusted guidance, you can come through the other side in a better position than before and ready for massive success in your life.
4. Keep your chin up!
I know this seems like the worst thing that could possibly happen to you, but you can choose to see it a different way.
Look at this as an opportunity for growth and learning and see it as the first step on your journey towards the life of your dreams.
Many famous and very successful people have experienced bankruptcy and faced foreclosure. And several of them have even been heard to say that it’s a rite of passage.
The real test is whether you can get back up, brush yourself off and create something even more amazing. You can, but not if you bury your head in the sand, don’t take responsibility and act like a chicken!
Hold your head high, take responsibility, ask for help and make this the turning point of your life.
Posted by Gold Cross of America at 12:01 PM 0 comments
Labels: Fight Foreclosure, Foreclosure Stop
Home Again--A Community Helps Out
The bank gave notice. But a community rallied, and Maria Leon got her house back.
By Lisa Collier Cool
From Reader's Digest
A Community Helps Out
Maria Leon saved for 15 years before putting $48,000 down on a $242,000 Bridgeport, Connecticut, home where she could live with her daughter and four grandkids. Like four in ten Hispanic borrowers (and more than half of African American ones), she could get only a subprime loan, at 8.1 percent. In August 2006, Maria was laid off from her job as a spot welder. Then her daughter, who'd been helping with the bills, moved out, leaving Maria to care for Vanessa, 11, Lorenzo, 10, Alexie, 8, and Shawn, 7.
Christian Abraham/Connecticut Post
Thanks to Rev. Nunes, Maria Leon and her grandkids are staying put.
Maria, 47, was three months behind on the mortgage by the time she landed a factory job paying $1,800 a month. She called the servicer, hoping for a rollback of the overdue payments. "All they did was send tons of forms to fill out," she says. She paid $600 to a financial services company to get her loan modified. No luck. They sent her to a lawyer, who charged $150 and advised her to file for bankruptcy. The bank posted a Public Auction sign in her yard. "I'd go out the back door so the neighbors wouldn't see me," she says. "The kids asked where we'd go. I had to tell them I didn't know." Soon after the house was sold, Maria had a heart attack. The kids, who attended an after-school program at Summerfield United Methodist Church, told Rev. Marjorie Nunes what was going on. Nunes discovered that no one had bid at the auction, so the bank had bought the house but hadn't yet transferred the title. Legally, Maria still owned it. The pastor and a team of volunteers negotiated with the bank, which offered to sell the house back if Maria paid $50,000 to cover late fees and foreclosure costs. Nunes, a pit bull in high heels, demanded a deal Maria could actually afford. The officer said the $10,000 the group had raised wasn't enough, then called back to accept the offer and agree to Nunes's other demands—forgiving $30,000 in foreclosure expenses and rolling back the interest to 2.5 percent for the next five years. Maria burst into tears. The kids jumped up and down, screaming, "We're not leaving!" Maria can't believe her good fortune: "I can walk out the front door with my head held high. I've opened the shades to let the sunshine in, and I'm going to plant flowers in my yard, because we're going to be around to enjoy them."
VOLUNTEER YOUR TALENTS Do More
The USA Freedom Corps has a Financial Literacy Volunteer Initiative. Share your knowledge with people who are struggling to manage their money or avoid foreclosure (usafreedomcorps.gov).
MAKE A DONATION Gold Cross of America helps families facing foreclosure with educational material, financial assistance, and referral services (800-227-7719, http://www.goldcrossofamerica.org). TRY COUNSELING Neighbor-Works Training Institute offers a range of courses in foreclosure intervention counseling—from two-day seminars to a six-month certificate program. Many are open to nonprofessionals (nw.org). If you're facing foreclosure, the following organizations can refer you to HUD-approved nonprofit agencies that will work with you free or at little cost. They can negotiate on your behalf with a lender; explain your rights, responsibilities, and options; and set up a realistic budget. ACORN Housing's Home Equity Loss Prevention (HELP) Program 888-409-3557 acornhousing.org Homeowner's Hope 888-995-HOPE 995hope.org Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) 888-302-NACA naca.com
From Reader's Digest - June 2008
Posted by Gold Cross of America at 11:55 AM 0 comments
Labels: Foreclosure, Loss Mitigation
Homeowners under threat of foreclosure suffer a level of trauma that's largely invisible to most Americans, while professionals working to keep people in their homes are often overwhelmed by the complexity of the crisis. By Desiree Fields, Francine Justa, Kimberly Libman, and Susan Saegert
By now, most Americans have heard about the country’s growing foreclosure crisis and seen the statistics showing the growing numbers of mortgage delinquencies nationwide. But while the numbers are startling, even frightening, they do little to convey the hardships and despair of the households that experience delinquency, default, and foreclosure.
When foreclosure threatens, the attendant trauma often isolates homeowners from the very information and support they need; the shame they feel discourages them from contacting organizations that could help them, even leads them to withdraw from the support of their friends and family. Fear of foreclosure undermines family stability, parent-child relationships, and the ability to make long-range plans. In many cases, homeowners in trouble feel that their life is ruined.
In 2006, the Housing Environments Research Group at the City University of New York Graduate Center undertook a series of focus groups in five cities – New York, N.Y.; Waco, Texas; St. Louis, Mo.; Duluth, Ga.; and Hamilton, Ohio – to learn more about how low-income homeowners go into mortgage delinquency, how they decide to deal with the crisis, and the results of their efforts to avoid foreclosure. We conducted three focus groups in each city: one with the nonprofit professionals who come into contact with homeowners at risk of foreclosure; one with delinquent homeowners who sought help from a nonprofit counseling agency; and one with delinquent homeowners who did not seek help from a counseling agency. In all, we spoke to 88 homeowners and 39 professionals. The conversations yielded a vivid picture of the devastating effects of the foreclosure experience and the difficulty many professionals have in supporting the emotional needs of these homeowners.
“You feel sick to your stomach and scared every time the phone rings.”
A woman named Naira, before breaking into tears, told us, “Truthfully, it feels like you’re walking down a one-way street, a tunnel, dead end, no way out. None. What’s left? Death? You consider it. You consider it why? You’ve got life policies. They’ll take care of your kids.” When she separated from her husband, they agreed that Naira would care for their children and pay for their day-to-day needs if he maintained the mortgage. She only learned about the delinquency when their lender gave up on collecting from her husband 15 months after he stopped making payments and turned to her for remittance.
Marion, a young single mother, explained that she left her job to attend to her mother’s illness. Marion became delinquent on her mortgage after a few months of caring for both households. Still, she felt that providing this care was important because “if it happened to me, she’d do the same thing for me.”
Even when overspending is the root cause of difficulty, people described feeling a loss of self control in the face of the consumerist values of American culture. One woman in St. Louis described how her efforts to “keep up with the Joneses” led her into delinquency. Regarding the powerful media images, she said, “They show you this big American dream and we’re trying to obtain it, and we can’t even afford it.”
Home gives cohesiveness to the daily lives of individuals and their families and serves as a marker of stability and accomplishment. Thus, foreclosure represents a cascading series of economic and emotional losses that interfere with people’s day-to-day lives.
The impact of, and stress from, being mortgage-delinquent interferes with homeowners’ abilities to strategize and make rational decisions about how to deal with financial crises. For example, a New York woman who refinanced to avoid foreclosure acknowledged that acting while she was in an emotionally charged state led her to engage in a fraudulent process that involved signing her home over to a straw buyer. Other homeowners agreed with her assessment of the disastrous consequences of decision-making under extreme stress. A St. Louis woman remarked that “we’re not looking at it, we’re just looking for a way out; we’re just looking for something to say you’re current, to stop the late charges, to stop the little sheets of paper.”
A Duluth, Ga., woman in her 50s lost her job, went into delinquency after using up her savings, and became depressed. Like many homeowners we spoke to, her depression interfered with her ability to find work and address her finances. She said, “When I get depressed, then I don’t have any motivation, or energy, and it’s like it’s all I can do to just go get the mail out of the mailbox.” She eventually became so overwhelmed by the collection notices and calls that she stopped opening them or answering the phone.
Nonprofit foreclosure-intervention counselors characterize this kind of reaction as a typical “head-in-the-sand” response, explaining, ”…some people don’t want to face that they’re in trouble.” Many in the housing-finance sector believe that between 30 percent and 50 percent of homeowners who go into foreclosure fail to make any calls for help. Professionals said such homeowners turn to nonprofit assistance only when it is too late to help them to stay in their homes.
However, some professionals acknowledged that they rarely take the initiative to connect with clients after they became homeowners, noting, “We have to figure out the best way to do that, because I think that’s going to be one of the keys to preventing foreclosures.” Yet nonprofit professionals also expressed reluctance to reach out to those in need of assistance “because the phone might ring, and then we won’t know what to do because we won’t have enough staff.” In particular, one high-ranking professional noted that “Stable, competent staffing is hard to do because demands of the job are not at all like pre-purchase counseling.”
As foreclosures have surged recently, professionals have indeed found themselves unnerved by the demands of assisting homeowners with the financial and emotional dimensions of foreclosure prevention. A professional in St. Louis remarked that delinquency “is not their only problem, they have other issues, too.” Another professional compared working with homeowners in danger of losing their homes to working with disaster victims. Addressing the complex needs for assistance, counselors become “overwhelmed.” This complicates the process of providing help, sometimes resulting in missteps that affect homeowners. The executive director of one nonprofit said, “They [foreclosure counselors] feel they must do everything to save each person, and then they complete nothing.”
Policies and practices of lending institutions are also intertwined with how homeowners cope with the threat of foreclosure. Until the scope of the problem became evident, financial institutions resisted offering early assistance to mortgage-holders in trouble because most homeowners managed to get current with their mortgages before it was necessary to foreclose. Indeed, many homeowners respond to delinquency by cutting costs. Often this means cutting back on basic expenses like utilities. One man in Texas went to so far as to turn off his gas for six months.
Working for additional income is another common way of trying to resolve delinquency. A homemaker from Ohio described this strategy as, “You just live with no money and you don’t get to do things, but you just work really hard work – two, three, four jobs.” In her family’s case, her husband was injured and out of work for more than a year. She would “work two jobs at two offices and clean apartment buildings on the weekend. My kids would help and I just worked really, really hard.” She also home-schooled her three children in part so that they would not need to spend money on shoes and clothes. After a year of struggling to make monthly $1,000 mortgage payments, it was a tax refund that helped the family catch up.
Other homeowners reach a limit to what can be done, like one older woman who found, after taking extra jobs that still brought in little money, that she did not have the physical fortitude to keep up the effort, and resigned herself to whatever would happen. At the time we spoke with her, this woman was still behind on her mortgage payments and unsure if she could get caught up.
The experience of struggling to prevent foreclosure can create a home environment dominated by fear, tension, and stress between parents and children and between spouses. In Ohio, one mother told us that her daughter wanted new school clothes but that she couldn’t even go to consignment stores because there was no money. She said, “Your whole house becomes depressed because all they hear is we can’t, we can’t, we can’t, we can’t.”
Taking on extra work and going without means making trade-offs that affect the entire family. Janice, a single mother in Texas said, “I could make as many hours as I needed to if I needed them, but that’d mean I have two teenagers at home all night by themselves unattended.” Deciding to work overtime meant that her children would have to feed themselves. The exhaustion of being “up five, six days working overtime” meant that she would come home too tired to talk to her children. Overall, she regretted feeling “too stressed out,” explaining, “They tell me ‘Mommy, what are we going to eat today?’ and I go all crazy on them.”
Becoming a homeowner is often viewed as a means of creating wealth and providing for the financial future of one’s children, which makes the pain of possible foreclosure worse. One mother said of her children, “I want them to be those people sitting on the side of the table that have the clout to negotiate what they really want up front and not have to fight just to get the little tidbits that people are willing to throw out there.” Delinquency represents the possible dissolution of a once-secure future for one’s family: “If you have a baby, and you want them to have a stable home where they can grow up and have some stability in their lives, it [delinquency] really adds a lot of pressure.”
“You asked some people for help, but then they looking down on you for asking.”
Some homeowners who sought institutional help for financial problems and the crisis that started them on the road to foreclosure found that it added to their stress and financial problems.
In Texas, Janice became delinquent on her mortgage after she and her husband divorced. As a newly single mother of two teenage boys, she was struggling to take care of her kids and work enough overtime to get caught up on her mortgage. Her monthly payments had recently increased as a result of her working out a forbearance agreement with her lender. She was reluctant to seek public assistance but said, “I’m making money, I pay my bills, just feed my kids. That’s all I ask.” When she applied for food stamps, she said she was asked, “Why are you asking for help when you got gold on your neck?” Janice walked out feeling angry and disrespected.
Some people had similar experiences when they sought help from nonprofit organizations that offered foreclosure intervention services. Talking about her efforts to budget well and get current on her mortgage, Charlene revealed that she had already cut back expenses on food, work transportation, and other necessities. She said, “I’m not a high-maintenance kind of girl or anything like that, you know, where… I got champagne tastes with beer money.” But foreclosure intervention counselors often expressed the belief that their clients had “Champagne tastes on a beer budget.” Delinquent homeowners seeking help picked up on their attitudes. Jim, an older man who had fallen behind on his mortgage because of mounting late fees, was frustrated by his experience with a foreclosure-intervention counselor. He said, “They take the attitude that everybody’s got money and everybody’s rich that you don’t have any problems. That guy evidently has never been there. They need to change their attitude.”
Homeowners frame their spending on a set of needs and values that are sometimes different than those held by the professionals who strive to help them. Juan is a father of two who had already been in and out of jail, as had his father during Juan’s youth. In justifying expenses that seemed frivolous to debt counselors, Juan said, “Every one of my kids are spoiled, you know. But the big picture is the big cycle. I mean, if spoiling them and being hard on them and being late on a mortgage is going to keep my son from going to prison, well then.”
Mortgage delinquency can also promote feelings of shame. Jackson, a man living in Waco, Texas, with a wife and children, said, “I tell you, there’s nothing worse than a man feeling like he’s not providing for his family.” Feelings like Jackson’s prevent some homeowners from seeking help or even talking about their delinquency with family, friends, and coworkers. Jackson cautioned, “Those same people you try to talk to, that you think would bring you up, will be the ones that bring you down.” He worried that people he confided in would tell others in his community about his financial situation. One woman kept her delinquency a secret from her family because “everybody is living kind of paycheck to paycheck” and “you don’t want anybody just feeling sorry for you.”
The shame and silence surrounding mortgage delinquency may prevent the kind of word-of-mouth networking that nonprofits tend to rely on to get the word out about their programs.
Homeowners seeking help felt misunderstood, ashamed, and excluded from resources they believed were a part of the American social safety net. When trying to obtain temporary financial assistance, food stamps, or emergency grants, many found that they were not eligible because their home was an asset that counted against them. Others found that being unemployed or being single without children also made it difficult to obtain assistance. Such bureaucratic roadblocks left some people facing foreclosure feeling unsupported by government agencies and nonprofits because they were not the poorest of the poor. A man from Hamilton, Ohio, commented, “Our government won’t let us get out of debt.”
Many homeowners on the brink of foreclosure see racial discrimination as a factor in their plight. Cheryl was a homeowner in New York who felt that as an African-American woman, she was given an unfair deal at closing, despite her good credit history. She said that although she was quoted a great interest rate, at the closing she was presented with a mortgage that was two points higher than the original quote. She described this as “a hurtful thing, ‘cause you know the black people just get higher rates. I mean, why would I have such a high rate when I had a perfect credit score, perfect, perfect, perfect?”
As many people do in hot markets like New York City’s, Cheryl purchased a multifamily home and planned to use her tenants’ rent to help cover the mortgage. She accepted a tenant receiving Section 8, but fell behind on her mortgage after receiving no Section 8 payments for six months. In an attempt to sell the property, she signed a contract with a real-estate broker who colluded with a lawyer to drag her into foreclosure by using their contract to prevent her from selling in time. Cheryl filed for bankruptcy in an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to prevent foreclosure.
When we spoke with her, Cheryl lamented that as a result of the bankruptcy and the foreclosure “now, five years later, my credit is absolutely destroyed.” Beyond the loss of her home and the savings she had invested in it, she lost her hope for a secure financial future. She said, “Well, what am I going to do? I mean…, it’s going to stay on my credit report for like seven years, 10 years they say. By the time I get that [the bankruptcy] off, if I was going to buy a house, then – I mean I’ll be too old.” The home that had been foreclosed had become the only home that she felt she would ever own.
Foreclosure: More Than Dollars and Cents
The stories of these homeowners show that we need to reconceptualize what is really at stake in the current foreclosure crisis. Clearly, the potential losses are much more than economic.
Intervention strategies by nonprofit homeownership counseling and education agencies must take a more holistic approach that considers the psychological and social dimensions of delinquency. Similarly, prevention strategies must be predicated on a rethinking of what individuals and communities have to gain and lose through efforts to increase homeownership.
The experiential dimension of delinquency and foreclosure points to an immediate need for new forms of counseling, outreach, and community-level interventions. The isolation and emotionality inherent in the threat of foreclosure may be more readily addressed through a peer-support approach than solely through one-on-one counseling. Our focus groups proved a unique opportunity for homeowners to come together and share their experiences, challenges, and strategies. In fact, people who have lived through these challenges may be more aware than professionals of the full range of available local resources, and a group setting encourages the exchange of valuable information. With homeowners providing this kind of social support for one another, service providers may be better able to concentrate on the practical and financial aspects of foreclosure prevention without becoming overwhelmed by their clients’ need for this kind of assistance.
Homeowners and professionals expressed the need for strong policy and regulatory intervention. Professionals fear that the rise in foreclosures means that their “work in increasing home ownership in our neighborhoods” is at risk.
For homeowners, their families, and communities, a great deal more is at risk. Increased protections for consumers aimed at stopping foreclosure before it starts are needed to preserve their dignity, health, hope, and social cohesion.
Taking into account the full scale of what is at risk in this crisis also requires us to reevaluate the risk/benefit ratio of our current all-or-nothing ownership paradigm. Preventing foreclosures and the human tragedies they produce may require developing new ownership schemes that limit risk while allowing families to experience the stability and asset-building potential of ownership.
Kimberly Libman and Desiree Fields are research associates in the Housing Environments Research Group at the City University of New York Graduate Center and Ph.D. candidates in environmental psychology at CUNY. Francine Justa is executive director emeritus of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York and one of the founders of the Fifth Avenue Committee of Brooklyn. Susan Saegert is the director of the Center for Human Environments and a professor of environmental psychology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her new book with James DeFilippis, The Community Development Reader, will be available from Routledge in early 2008.
Understanding Responses to the Threat of Foreclosure Among Low-Income Homeowners
Don't Borrow Trouble (Freddie Mac's predatory lending awareness campaign)
NeighborWorks America's Center for Foreclosure Solutions
Toll-free hotline: 888-995-HOPE
Americans for Fairness in Lending
Gold Cross of America http://www.goldcrossofamerica.org - 800-227-7719
Posted by Gold Cross of America at 11:44 AM 0 comments
Labels: American Nightmare, Foreclosure, Save Home
The American Nightmare -- Home Foreclosure
LIVING THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE
FORECLOSURES ON THE RISE: As the housing market softens, a combination of consumer naivete and aggressive lending means owners with subprime loans are increasingly getting sucked down a financial black hole
Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, July 29, 2007
To many people in the affluent Bay Area, losing a home to foreclosure sounds like a Depression-era relic or a Rust Belt phenomenon. Our real estate prices have defied gravity for so long; our job market is so strong; our cachet as a place to live seems so obvious. How could foreclosures happen here?
Faces Of Foreclosure
But in recent months, the Bay Area has proven to be home to numerous victims of the subprime loan debacle. Just like elsewhere in the country, people here with tarnished credit or limited funds bought houses that proved to be beyond their means, often putting little or no money down, and borrowing money through exotic, expensive loans that were virtual time bombs set to soar to unaffordable levels after an introductory period.
Aggressive mortgage brokers, voracious lenders and naive consumers combined to create an unstable situation. The tipping point came a year and a half ago when real estate prices started to flatten or fall in some areas. Suddenly, home buyers who had planned to refinance saw that door slammed shut because they no longer had equity in their houses and their "introductory rate" mortgages quickly became unaffordable as interest rates -- and their monthly payments -- rose. This year, almost 1 million people nationwide will enter a stage of foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac.com. That great tidal wave is ravaging the already beleaguered real estate market and causing repercussions from Wall Street to Washington, D.C.
In the second quarter of this year, 2,206 homes in the nine-county Bay Area were lost to foreclosure, according to real estate service DataQuick Information Systems. That was the highest number for this area since DataQuick started tracking foreclosures in 1988, and an almost nine-fold increase from 258 foreclosures in the April-June period last year. Also in the second quarter, DataQuick said 7,696 Bay Area homeowners received notices that they were in default on their mortgage payments -- the first step in the foreclosure process. That was more than double the 2,910 default notices received at the same time last year.
Some observers say that many of those facing foreclosure should never have bought a house. To be sure, many consumers were seduced by the American dream of homeownership and so financially unsophisticated that they didn't apply due diligence. For Bay Area residents, more than a decade of consistently rising home prices may have led to a mob mentality of people overeager to jump into the real estate market, confident they would quickly gain equity.
On the other side of the equation, many lenders pushed the envelope. For example, Ameriquest Mortgage Co., the nation's leading subprime lender, is now paying $325 million to 725,000 borrowers nationwide for allegedly improper sales practices, including failing to adequately disclose home-loan terms and rates, refinancing borrowers into inappropriate loans, inflating home appraisals, and charging excessive fees and prepayment penalties.
Foreclosures have a much broader impact than just misfortune for the people who lose their homes. Within neighborhoods, they cause real estate prices to sink because houses on the verge of foreclosure or already foreclosed upon often are resold at lower prices. That, in turn, has a ripple effect on the overall real estate market. Increasing foreclosures are one reason the current housing downturn has proven to be more severe and long-lasting than anticipated.
Foreclosures also take a deeply personal toll. As shown in these profiles of several Bay Area homeowners who got in over their heads, a foreclosure goes through many stages, and is an extended and complex process during which homeowners desperately search for solutions to save their homes and salvage their credit ratings.
Foreclosure is a complicated process that usually takes many months. Here are some of the steps involved in a foreclosure.
Default: When a homeowner falls behind on mortgage payments -- how far behind varies with different lenders -- the bank sends a notice of default and records it with the county recorder's office. Homeowners can try to rectify the situation by bringing payments up to date or refinancing. They can try to sell the house, but selling for less than they owe on the mortgage -- a "short sale" -- requires approval from the lender and can have negative tax consequences. The percentage of default notices that result in foreclosure is rising. DataQuick Information Service said one year ago only 12 percent of defaults resulted in foreclosure. This year, 45.4 percent of defaults ended up being foreclosed.
Notice of trustee sale: Three months after the notice of default, the lender can announce that it is putting the property up for auction. The lender notifies the homeowner and files a notice with the county recorder's office. It is common for auctions to be postponed, sometimes multiple times and often at the last minute, as the homeowner tries to stave off foreclosure.
Auction: Properties are auctioned on the courthouse steps in the county where they are located. Because sales are all-cash and "as is," the vast majority of homes revert to the lender at auction. Once a house has been through a courthouse auction, a trustee's deed is filed with the county signifying that it no longer belongs to the homeowner and is a foreclosure.
Here are some places homeowners facing foreclosure can turn for assistance.
Your bank: Lenders stress that homeowners should contact their lender immediately if they have trouble making their mortgage payments. Ask to speak to the workout department. Ask if your loan can be modified, for example, by adding a year onto its term. Ask if you qualify for "forbearance" -- temporary reduction or suspension of payments.
ACORN Housing -- http://www.acornhousing.org/; (866) 672-2676 or (888) 409-3557: This nonprofit has programs with many lenders to help homeowners negotiate affordable loan workouts, payment agreements and foreclosure prevention. It also advocates for policy reforms to stop predatory lending.
Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America -- http://www.naca.com/; (888) 302-6222: Nonprofit has a $1 billion fund to offer below-market refinances for people who are at risk of losing their homes. Homeowners must meet a variety of qualifications.
NeighborWorks America Homeownership Preservation Foundation -- links.sfgate.com/ZMV, (888) 995-4673: This community development group offers free foreclosure-avoidance counseling and assistance contacting lenders.
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies -- links.sfgate.com/ZMW (800) 569-4287: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout the country that offers advice at little or no cost.
This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
Gold Cross of America – http://www.goldcrossofamerica.org - 800-227-7719: This nonprofit provides loss mitigation services to homeowners to keep them in their homes. You may also join and donate to help other homeowners that are facing foreclosure.
Posted by Gold Cross of America at 11:32 AM 0 comments
Labels: Foreclosure, Stop Foreclosure, Save Home
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Stop Foreclosure Now: Gold Cross of America
Gold Cross of America
Stop Home Mortgage Foreclosures Within 48 Hours
MORTAGAGE LOSS PREVENTION: THE HOMEOWNER DIRECTLY NEGOTIATING WITH THE LENDER
GOLD CROSS OF AMERICA
In many cases, it is possible to negotiate directly with your lender, on your own, in order to stop foreclosure and reinstate your mortgage. However, we now know that using an experienced, reputable Loss Mitigation Professional Organization, like Gold Cross of America, can drastically increase your chances of approval and save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage loan. Nevertheless, some H.U.D. - sponsored Home Mortgage Housing Counselors are still encouraging delinquent homeowners to make a courageous, honest attempt on their own before hiring a professional.
If you are among those valiant and highly patient homeowners who are willing to take this advice, I have lifted the following directions from a letter written to one of our clients by a HUD-Certified Housing Counselor. Here are the steps (with editorial comments in parentheses and bold italics) that the Housing Counselor recommended that you will need to take:
1. Gather all your income and expense documents for the last two years. You should have pay stubs, income tax returns, bank statements, property tax statements, and proof of any other income you receive.
2. Prepare a hardship letter that includes exact dates when your hardship started and ended, as well as documentation to collaborate your hardship claim. This should be as detailed as possible and should be typed, so the agent can clearly read and understand the letter.
3. Contact your lender once you are two months behind. (Most lenders will not negotiate with you until you have missed a few payments, so even if you have contacted them previously, with no results, you will need to do it again.)
4. You should be prepared for long hold times (sometimes more than an hour and a half) and don’t expect the agent to always be friendly. (However, they may agree to listen to your case if you are persistent and keep calling.)
5. Once you have gotten the lender to talk to you, tell them that you would like to apply for a workout plan or a loan modification plan. (Both of these options may be available, depending on your financial situation.) Your lender should then be willing to send you a financial worksheet to fill out and return to them along with the financial documents you have already gathered. (There is no HUD regulation or law that requires the lender to provide you with any assistance, but some of them will if you are diplomatic, diligent and persistent in your efforts.)
6. If the lender does provide you with a copy of their financial worksheet form, you should try to complete it and fax this back to them on the same day that you received it. (This helps move the process forward, as “the clock is ticking” against you and toward the date that the lender is going to officially serve you with a Notice of Foreclosure – including the foreclosure date.)
7. When (and if) you and your mortgage lender have verbally agreed to a workout plan, you will need to get (and here’s the really hard part) everything that has been verbally agreed to in writing from them and signed by them.
8. Once the mortgage lender has completed Step #7, you will need to sign their paperwork, fax it back to them and send them the total monthly payment amount stipulated in the workout plan (no matter what the increased amount works out to be) as soon as possible by certified check, cashier’s check or money orders to solidify the legality of the workout plan.
Your lender will be looking for several things to see if you qualify, but the main qualification will be to determine if you can afford to keep the home. You will need to show that you can afford the monthly
payment after all your other monthly expenses. If you are attempting to get a workout plan, then you will need to be able to afford your normal monthly payment plus an added amount to pay off the arrears. In
direct negotiations with the homeowner, most lenders will require that the arrears must be paid off in 18
months or less and you will usually need a minimum of one and a half payments to begin the workout plan.
In most cases, if a homeowner qualifies for a loan modification through direct negotiations with a mortgage lender, the borrower is required by the lender to also begin a “stop gap” repayment plan while waiting for the loan modification to go through. A “stop gap” repayment plan requires the mortgage borrower to make payments at a much higher rate than the original mortgage contract in order to “stop the gap” created by the missed payments until the mortgage company allows the loan modification plan to go through.
Mortgage lenders routinely take from 60 to 240 days or more to finalize an approved loan modification plan in writing. This also serves, even if unintentionally, to move the mortgage borrowing homeowner closer to the irrevocable nightmare of a foreclosure date.
If you are not successful in trying to work with your lender on your own, or if the payment plan that they set up for you is unaffordable, then you may want to consider hiring a professional loss mitigation company, like Gold Cross of America, to negotiate a better plan for you. Remember, we are the foremost, “not-for-profit”, Christian faith-based Mortgage Resolution Service Company in the entire United States of America.
Gold Cross of America is the foremost Christian faith-based Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Service. http://www.goldcrossofamerica.org - 800-227-7719