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The Basics Of Foreclosure Prevention

Aug 17, 2007
Every year there are millions of Americans who find themselves in a pre foreclosure situation. The nightmare of losing one's home is appalling. The place where the family has experienced the happiest of moments is getting taken away. What was once the place where laughter rang out has become a vail of tears.

Each month there are more than a million homeowners who receive threatening letters from their home loan companies. They are in the pre foreclosure stage. They have gotten 90 days or more behind on their mortgage payments. Families are losing their homes at record rates, and experts are predicting the trend is increasing. These homeowners have gotten at least two or three months behind on their mortgage payments because of any number of temporary problems.

Some of these problems are unavoidable. The loss of a job through uncontrollable factors such as a plant layoff or a reduction in force are two of the major reasons why people get behind in mortgage payments. Accidents and medical illnesses are other valid reasons why the family income gets disrupted.

The banks and lending institutions themselves are one of the biggest reasons why foreclosures are running rampant. Through high pressure hard sell tactics, the lenders' marketers work overtime to push refinances, second trusts, and other lending products that use the home as equity. The lenders' objectives are simple: push as much available funds for lending onto the consumer that has a home to use as equity. Borrowing can be "for any worthwhile purpose."

Should the borrower use these funds advantageously, he or she has let the house carry the play. Should the new infusion of borrowed funds not make it, the home goes on the foreclosure block. The homeowner has gambled and lost.

For the most part, these homeowners are good people who want to stay in their homes and want to pay their mortgage. Many have attempted to remit their last two or three mortgage payments, but their lenders demanded to get paid all of the delinquent payments, plus late fees, legal fees and filing fees. As a rule, they will not accept partial payments.

At that point, the lender files a lawsuit to collect the delinquency. Usually, the homeowner does not know what to do and how to deal with it. Lenders fail to realize the homeowner really wants to work out the problem. The lenders maintain, "we are in the lending business, not in the debt collection business."

Once a home has gotten into the pre-foreclosure stage, the homeowner must act fast to save his or her home. The first element of thought is to retain a competent attorney This is easier said than done because most attorneys will want a steep retainer fee for their services. The objective here is to find law firms having low or no initial consultation fees and at the same time deliver useful advice.

If it becomes cost prohibitive to retain an attorney, the next option would be to find an organization that can act as a mediator between the lender and the homeowner. The key is the efficiency of the organization to deal with homeowners and lenders in a timely fashion. This is a two step process.

The first step is to find and enlist the aid of a Referral Agent. The Referral Agent makes it his or her business to be able to find and refer delinquent homeowner clients to a Mitigation Specialist group. Referral agents do not take any action to get into the process of saving the mortgage, but will find competent resources that based on their review will proceed with the case. Referral agents only collect information about the foreclosure, the property, and the borrower.

Only one out of three cases will make it to the level where a Mitigation Specialist Group will take the case under its wing to try to save the mortgage. This is because a number of homeowners have been linked to the causes of why the foreclosure happened in the first place. Examples are a divorce occurring because of an intemperate life style, homeowners making expenditures beyond fiscal means, or behavior patterns causing the loss of a job. A good example is a once-trusted employee getting fired because he has been caught using the computer system to play on line games. The foreclosure happened because the income got terminated, but the termination of income happened as a result of employee activity and not as a result of anything the employee could have prevented.

The bottom line of advice is to try anything that looks feasible, but to avoid falling out of the frying pan into the fire. The first rule is to be honest with the referral agent. If he or she will refer you to a mitigation specialist group, be honest with them as well. It will not help your goal of saving your home if something is rotten in Denmark upon their review of your application.

The second rule is to avoid scams. Scam merchants are like sharks in the water. They feast upon the helpless. They will try to involve you in deals that are frauds. Above all else, check with agencies such as the FTC, the Better Business Bureau, and your attorney. You need all the help you can get, but please do not let the fox guard the hen house.
About the Author
Bob Carper is a veteran information systems consultant with an MBA from Pitt. For additional information go to All About Webconferencing or Effective Web Design. You may also e-mail Bob at robertcarper06@comcast.net
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