I was reading an interesting article over at the LA Times on foreclosures talking about the usual problems faced by homeowners. The pressure of the foreclosure, unscrupulous people looking to take advantage of those in trouble, and things homeowners fail to do to protect themselves. All valid, but all have been said 100 times.
But then I found a nugget that Gayle Pollard-Terry wrote summerizing what people can do to get out of foreclosure or if they think they are heading in that direction. And I decided to share with you. Who knows, it may help someone searching some day (newspaper information gets stuck behind their firewalls too quickly and disappears from Google).
6 Tips When Facing A Foreclosure
Act immediately. If you take unpaid time off from work or lose a job, contact your lender to negotiate extra time to pay. Explain the situation to the loss-mitigation department and ask for a temporary suspension of payments, a payment reduction or a repayment plan. Lenders don’t have to agree to any change in a mortgage payment but are more likely to do so when contacted early.
Refinance or tap into your equity. If you have good credit, work with the lender to extend the loan and reduce the payments, or buy time with a second mortgage if that’s the only way to save the house. If you have bad credit, be prepared to pay higher interest rates.
Get reputable credit counseling early. Obtain a referral for free assistance from a nonprofit service such as ByDesign Financial Solutions at (800) 750-2227. When calling, it is important to mention a default notice. The federal housing department, at (800) 569-4287, also recommends agencies, as does the nonprofit Homeownership Preservation Foundation, at (888) 995-HOPE.
Be wary. Check out foreclosure firms with the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org . If you believe you have been wronged, complain to the consumer protection office of the county district attorney’s office or the state attorney general’s office.
Protect yourself. Don’t sign any contract under pressure or sign away your property without making sure the deal is fair. Consult a credit counselor, lawyer or a real estate professional you trust. Don’t make mortgage payments to someone other than your lender. Get all promises in writing and obtain copies of the contract.
Sell only if you must. To get a fair price, contact a real estate agent, who will need time to find a buyer, and if possible, reject deals that take all of your equity. via the Los Angeles Times.