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Tom Teece's Blog

By Tom Teece | Other/Just Looking in Lehigh Acres, FL

Stop Foreclosure in Lehigh Acres

How do I help stop another Foreclosure in Lehigh Acres? -- SHARE THIS.

Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF I STOP MY MORTGAGE PAYMENTS?
Foreclosure may occur. This is the legal means that your lender can use to repossess (take over the deed to) yourhome. When this happens, you must move out of your house. If your property is worth less than the total amount you owe on your mortgage loan, a deficiency judgment could be pursued. If that happens, you not only lose yourhome, you also would owe your lender an additional amount. Both foreclosures and deficiency judgments could seriously affect your ability to qualify for credit in the future. So you should avoid foreclosure if possible.

Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO?
1. Stay in your home for now. You may not qualify for assistance if you abandon your property.
2. Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency immediately, even if your payments are current. Call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or TDD 1-800-877-8339 or counsel online at www.995hope.org. These agencies are valuable resources. They frequently have information on services and the latest programs offered by Government agencies as well as private and community organizations that could help you. The housing counseling agency may also offer credit counseling. These services are usually free of charge.
3. DO NOT IGNORE THE LETTERS FROM YOUR LENDER. If you are having problems making your payments, WRITE to your lender's Loss Mitigation Department right away. Explain your situation. Be prepared to provide them with financial information, such as your monthly income and expenses. Without this information, they may not be able to help. ASK FOR CONTACT BY MAIL ONLY, NO CALLS.

Q: WHAT ARE MY ALTERNATIVES?
You may be considered for the following:
Special Forbearance. Your HUD counselor may be able to arrange a repayment plan based on your financial situation and may even provide for a temporary reduction or suspension of your payments. You may qualify for this if you have recently experienced a reduction in income or an increase in living expenses. You must furnish information to your counselor to show that you would be able to meet the requirements of the new payment plan.

Mortgage Modification. You may be able to refinance the debt and/or extend the term of your mortgage loan. This may help you catch up by reducing the monthly payments to a more affordable level. You may qualify if you have already recovered from a financial problem and can afford the new payment amount.

Partial Claim. Your lender may be able to work with you to obtain a one-time payment from the FHA-Insurance fund to bring your mortgage current. You may qualify if you have an FHA mortgage and:
1. Your loan is at least 4 months delinquent but no more than 12 months delinquent;
2. You are able to begin making full mortgage payments immediately.
When your lender files a Partial Claim, FHA will pay your lender the amount necessary to bring your mortgage current. You must execute a Promissory Note, and a Lien will be placed on your property until the Promissory Note is paid in full. The Promissory Note is interest-free and is due when you pay off the first mortgage or when you sell.

Pre-foreclosure sale or short sale. This will allow you to avoid foreclosure by selling your property for an amount less than the amount necessary to pay off your mortgage loan. You may qualify if:
1. Usually, the loan must be at least 2 months delinquent, although some non-defaults also get approved;
2. You are able to list and sell your house within 3 to 5 months through a licensed real estate agent; and
3. A new appraisal (that your lender will obtain) shows that the value of your home meets guidelines.

Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. A last resort, you may be able to voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender. This won't save your house, but it is not as damaging to your credit rating as a foreclosure. You can qualify if:
1. You are in default and don't qualify for any of the other options;
2. Your attempts at selling the house before foreclosure were unsuccessful; and
3. You don't have another mortgage in default.

Always seek professional tax advice and seek professional legal counsel to prepare the Deed-in-lieu.

Q: HOW DO I KNOW IF I QUALIFY FOR ANY OF THESE ALTERNATIVES?
A housing counseling agency can also help you determine which, if any, of these options may meet your needs and also assist you in interacting with your lender. Your lender determines if you qualify for any of the alternatives. Call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or TDD 1-800-877-8339 or counsel online at www.995hope.org even if this is a 2nd home.

Q: SHOULD I BE AWARE OF ANYTHING ELSE?
Yes. Beware of scams! Solutions that sound too simple or too good to be true usually are. If you're selling your home without professional guidance, beware of buyers who try to rush you through the process. Unfortunately, there are people who may try to take advantage of your difficulty. Be especially alert to the following:

Equity skimming. In this type of scam, a “buyer”approaches you, offering to get you out of financial trouble by promising to pay off your mortgage or give you a sum of money when the property is sold. The “buyer”may suggest that you move out quickly and deed the property to him or her. The “buyer” then collects rent for a time, does not make any mortgage payments, and allows the lender to foreclose. Remember, signing over your deed to someone else does not necessarily relieve you of your obligation on your loan.

Phony counseling agencies. Some groups calling themselves “counseling agencies” may approach you and offer to perform certain services for a fee. These could well be services you could do for yourself for free, such as negotiating a new payment plan with your lender, or pursuing a pre-foreclosure sale. If you have any doubt about paying for such services, call a HUD-approved housing counseling agency at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or TDD 1-800-877-8339 or counsel online at www.995hope.org. Do this before signing anything. Up-front fees are illegal in FL.

Q: ARE THERE ANY PRECAUTIONS I CAN TAKE?
Here are several precautions that should help you avoid being “taken” by a scam artist:
1. Don't sign any papers you don’t fully understand. Don’t pay up-front fees, they are illegal in Florida.
2. Make sure you get all “promises” in writing and papers to sign at least 24 hours before signing in FL.
3. Beware of any contract of sale or loan assumption where you are not formally released from liability for your mortgage debt. Do not sign any form of deed transfer to anyone, even yourself or a family trust.
4. Check with your HUD counselor or a lawyer before entering into any deal involving your home.
5. If you’re selling the house to avoid foreclosure, you or your real estate agent should check to see if there are any complaints against the prospective buyer. You can contact your state’s Attorney General, the State Real Estate Commission, or the local District Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Unit for this type of information.

Q: WHAT ARE THE MAIN POINTS I SHOULD REMEMBER?
1. Don't lose your home, keep your debt and damage your credit history.
2. Stay in your home to make sure you qualify for assistance. Investor-owners should also call for help.
3. Arrange an appointment with a HUD-approved housing counselor to explore your options at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or TDD 1-800-877-8339 or counsel online at www.995hope.org.
4. WRITE your mortgage lender and be honest about your financial situation.
5. Cooperate with the counselor trying to help you. LENDER CONTACT BY MAIL ONLY, NO CALLS.
6. Explore every alternative to keep your home. If you can’t, then do everything you can to help sell it.
7. Beware of scams. Always work with a licensed real estate agent. Get professional legal&tax advice.
8. Do not sign anything you don't understand. And remember that signing over the deed to someone else does not necessarily relieve you of the loan obligation. Do not sign any form of deed transfer to anyone.

Act now. Delaying can't help. If you do nothing, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOME and your good credit rating. Visit our web site at good2gobuyshouses.com or call us today at 239-243-0630.

Short Sale Listings won’t stop Foreclosure. Short Sale Buyers, like us, will. Homeowners and their real estate agents can call us for additional free information. We are a local family, investing in the future of Lehigh Acres for over 45 years. We charge no fees and all inquiries are strictly confidential.

Best regards, Tom

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