Faced with the threat of a foreclosure on their home, with all the weight of the mortgage industry and its army of attorneys against them, the average homeowner might feel like David facing Goliath.
But David defeated Goliath !
David had a sling and some pebbles.
You have an armory of tactics and options which can enable you to stop foreclosure proceedings in their tracks.
There are certain basic rules to follow if you want to stop foreclosure on your home.
*** Do not leave your home. If you do, you may lose your eligibility for assistance.
*** Do not speak to the lender's Collection department, especially over the phone.
*** Never speak to any of your lender's representatives without having all your facts assembled, and your strategy determined.
*** Don't ask the lender what your options are - know your options before the real discussions begin. Know and be prepared for the questions and forms you will be faced with.
*** Don't volunteer the fact that you are either unemployed or insolvent, or you're dead in the water.
(If you are either unemployed or insolvent, you'd better change things pretty quick, for the lender has to be convinced that you have the means to meet the loan repayments, and he will want to see evidence supporting this fact before he will stop foreclosure proceedings.)
*** Don't rely on your memory - have everything written down clearly, and all your credit history records at hand.
*** Speak to the lender's Loss Mitigation or Foreclosure department. Be firm, and insist on speaking to the right people every time.
*** Make a real effort to understand the legal terms relating to mortgages. To stop foreclosure proceedings, you need to speak the same language as your adversaries.
If you cannot fully understand the options, or the terms used, you should certainly speak to a HUD approved counselor - ring (800) 569 4287.
And do this as soon as you realise you might be heading for foreclosure.
Know your options ! Know your rights !
Stop Foreclosure - Tip 1
Read all communications from your lender. Time is your enemy, so the earlier the potential problem is recognised by both parties, the better the chances of a resolution.
Stop Foreclosure - Tip 2
If your property is FHA or VA insured, then your lender must give you the opportunity for a workout. If they refuse, then the FDA/VA may fail their claim for foreclosure.
Stop Foreclosure - Tip 3
If you are suffering financial loss due to the death or loss of a spouse, illness, or unexpected increase in your outgoings, contact the lender and request a loan modification, which effectively changes the terms of the loan to lower the payments.
This is a very common process, but you will need to provide evidence about the change in your circumstances.
If you feel that you qualify for a loan modification, and your lender refuses, contact the HUD for advice.
Stop Foreclosure - Tip 4
If your loss of income is temporary, contact your lender and request a forbearance. This means that you may be granted a period during which your monthly payments are "suspended", after which you must resume your monthly payments plus a partial payment towards the payments you missed.
Most lenders have a forbearance program, but may require you to make an initial down payment.
Stop Foreclosure - Tip 5
If you have a FFA/HUD loan, you may qualify for a partial claim if the present loan is between 4 months and 12 months delinquent. The partial claim has to be repaid only after the original loan has been repaid in full.
Any of these measures can enable you to stop foreclosure on your home.
Stop Foreclosure - Tip 6
If all else fails, you could always file for bankruptcy at any time during the lender's collecting process, and this would put an immediate stop on the lender's activities.
Unfortunately, new bankruptcy reform legislation, to be introduced in October 2005, will effectively invalidate this tactic.
Under the new legislation, you must receive credit counseling from an approved agency 180 days - yes, that's 6 months - before you can file for bankruptcy.
By which time the lender could have filed for foreclosure, and you could be out of your home.
Stop Foreclosure - Tip 7
Remember these facts.
The US is facing an ever-increasing tidal wave of homeowners defaulting on their mortgages. The average cost to the mortgage industry for each foreclosure is around $25000!
Foreclosures cost lenders money, big money, so it is in their interests to reach a workout with the borrower, either to rescue the mortgage, if this is possible, or to reduce the loss as a result of foreclosure.
Don't be intimidated by the lender or his attorneys. Appraise yourself of your exact financial position. Seek advice. Know your rights. Know your options. Be honest in your statements. Keep a written record of all communucations.
You can stop foreclosure in its tracks. And save your home.
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