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Asesores, Consejeros Ayudan a Propietarios de Casa a Evitar el Proceso de Ejecución Hipotecaria: 1

Lenders, Counselors Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure: Part 1

by Monica Steinisch

Joel and Lisa, married New Yorkers, didn't believe they had a shot at owning a home until their realtor told them about a payment-option adjustable rate mortgage product that could help them stretch their budget. In 2009, three years after achieving their dream, the couple dealt with the nightmare of a monthly payment that jumped from $1,273 to $1,840. They also faced the possibility of foreclosure--repossession of their home by the lender--as their finances were stretched to the breaking point.

These borrowers' situation isn't unusual. Not all of these cases are due to what the industry refers to as "exotic" (nontraditional) loans, of course. Foreclosure is a possibility anytime you get significantly behind in your mortgage payments, whether because of unplanned expenses or a loss of income. But the popularity of some new loans, which typically include terms that create greater risk and fluctuating payments, has put many borrowers in a precarious position.

If you're a homeowner, the thought of not being able to make the mortgage payments probably tops your list of financial worst-case scenarios. While serious default can lead to foreclosure, a financial bump in the road does not have to spell disaster. You will learn that lenders are very eager to help committed and communicative borrowers keep their homes--all you have to do is ask for help.

Early communication crucial

A 2005 survey of more than 2,000 homeowners conducted by Roper Public Affairs and Media, for Freddie Mac, one of the nation's largest residential mortgage investors, found a striking statistic: More than half of mortgage borrowers in default (more than one month late on their payment) and in danger of foreclosure never contact the lender for help, and even ignore the lender's attempts to reach them to discuss the situation. The survey results pointed to a variety of reasons why delinquent borrowers were reluctant to talk--from confidence that they could resolve the situation themselves to doubt that the lender could do anything to help them.

"You're doing yourself a service by calling [the lender] to let them know about your situation as soon as you foresee missing a payment," says Rick Harper, housing director for Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of San Francisco, one of a number of agencies that Freddie Mac has partnered with to reach delinquent borrowers and work with them to construct a plan that will keep them in their homes.

You can find contact information for your lender or the servicer, which collects mortgage payments on behalf of the lender, on your monthly billing statement or in your payment coupon book.

Published 7-4-2011



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