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Avoid Foreclosure Letter

October 21, 2007

in Community Blog

avoid foreclosure letter
HELP! How do I avoid foreclosure on my home?

We recently started a new business and things have been extremely slow so we’ve had virtually no income. We’ve been living off of credit cards and been unable to pay our mortgages(we have 2). I have now received letters of intent to foreclose if we do not come up with the money in the next 10 days. I am wondering what my options are. Should I just throw in the towel and let them take the house? I know my credit is shot but if it’s in my name only, would my husband’s credit still be ok? I just had a baby and we have a 4 year old. I think if we had enough time we could get the business generating enough income but I’m out of time. I don’t know what to do!

The list of various methods to stop foreclosure that is presented below is a nearly comprehensive accounting of the most common ways homeowners can use to save their homes, either by staying in them and avoiding foreclosure, or by getting out of a bad situation with as much of their financial lives intact as possible. There are really no magical ways to end the foreclosure process — but there are enough tools that homeowners have available, that they can choose from a number of options to help them out of their hardship situations.

1. Save up and get current on the mortgage by paying back the payments you’ve missed, plus the interest, late fees, attorney fees, etc. Understand that there are often thousands of dollars of extra charges that are added once you start missing payments and especially if the lender hires a law firm to pursue the foreclosure.

2. Work with the lender to put together a repayment plan, which would require you to put down part of the amount you are behind now and pay back the rest over a period of months, along with you current monthly payment. Usually, repayment plans can be worked out through your lender’s loss mitigation department, and will result in you paying almost twice as much per month as your regular mortgage payment. This is to help you get caught up on the payments you missed while you are paying your original monthly obligation.

3. Work with the lender to modify the terms of the loan to say that the missed payments are spread out over the life of the loan or put on the back end of the loan. This is called a mortgage modification or loan modification. Some lenders will not do this because they do not hold the paper to be able to modify it. This is especially true for mortgage servicing companies, who only service their loans and collect payments, but who do not own the loans.

4. Refinance — find a hard money lender or traditional lender that will consider foreclosure refinance loans. Qualifications include lots of equity and lots of income, since your interest rate will probably be over 10%. Foreclosure refinance loans can be difficult to qualify for and may result in higher monthly payments, but they are a good way for homeowners to get a fresh start with a new note and new lender.

5. If you have an FHA loan, you can get a one-time loan from the FHA that will bring you current and is placed as a lien on the property that you would have to pay back if you sell or refinance the home. This is called a partial claim. You would have to contact the FHA directly for this one time payout to get you caught back up on your mortgage.

6. Sell to a private investor or friend/family member and lease/rent the property back from them. That clears off the foreclosure loan on the property and uses someone else’s good credit to get a new loan and allows you to stay in the property. Investors can also work out short sales on properties, allow they usually do this in the hope of flipping the property by reselling it quickly at a profit.

7. Bankruptcy will stop the foreclosure process, but is usually an expensive alternative to setting up a repayment plan, mentioned above. Attorney fees, trustee fees, court costs, and high monthly payments cause a lot of people to fail their bankruptcies. Only consider bankruptcy if you desperately want to prevent foreclosure and if you have a significant amount of income you can dedicate towards the bankruptcy payments.

8. Short sales are a good option if you owe more on the property than it is currently worth. A short sale means the bank accepts less than what they are actually owed, and would allow you to get out of the loan, at least. The bank would not be able to come after you for the rest of the loan amount, since, by accepting a lower amount, they forgive the rest of the debt owed on the mortgage.

9. Sell outright if the property is worth enough and you have a willing and able buyer. List the house yourself of through a local real estate broker. In some cases, it is the right decision just to unload the house to stop foreclosure and focus on repairing your credit until you can purchase a new, more affordable home in a few years.

10. If 1-9 do not work, you can offer the bank a deed in lieu of foreclosure, which means you’re voluntarily giving the property back to the bank and they are agreeing that the property is payment in full of the loan. This is not much better than a foreclosure, and you have to leave the property anyway, but it will prevent the sheriff sale and eviction process. The bank will not be able to ask for any extra money or sue you for a deficiency judgment, because they accept the property itself as satisfaction of the loan.

11. If 1-10 do not work, you can just move out and walk away and forget about the property. This is definitely not recommended if you care about your credit and plan to borrow money for several years, but foreclosure should teach you not to rely on banks to help you out when you face a hardship. All they really do is promise great deals when you think of going with them, and then throw you to the foreclosure dogs if you miss a payment. Many homeowners simply walk away because the foreclosure situation is so intimidating, but, as listed above, there are numerous options that are better than just giving up on the property.

Those are the most common options that can be used to stop foreclosure. There are a few others (suing your bank, etc.), but they involve much more cost and legal involvement and may not end up stopping the foreclosure process in the end.

Hope that helps.

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