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The housing crisis is entering its fifth year, with no end in sight, if recent foreclosure statistics are anything to go by. There is lots of free foreclosure help available – from government “prevent foreclosure” programs to non-profit agencies, but many homeowners simply aren’t taking advantage of them. Proof?
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The article, Foreclosure Fund Goes Unused, highlights the issue by shining spotlight on homeowners facing foreclosure in Indiana. It states:
Although Indiana’s foreclosure rate continues to climb the national charts, few Hoosiers are taking advantage of programs that can help keep them in their homes.
The state, which has seen its foreclosure rate climb to seventh in America, established the Hardest Hit Fund to provide assistance in the form of forgivable 10-year loans from a grant to Indiana by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
And though there is money in the fund to assist more than 13,000 Hoosier households, only 651 homeowners had applied by the end of 2011. Of those, 226 have been approved, with another 300 cases pending.
Foreclosure Help: Why Many Homeowners Facing Foreclosure Don’t Seek Help
There are many reasons that a homeowner who is facing foreclosure may not ask for help. Following are a few:
Stress: It is an emotionally turbulent time for many. Foreclosure is often the result of another major life upheaval, eg, job loss, illness, divorce, etc. In times like this, it can be difficult to think straight and seek the help you need.
Awareness: As the aforementioned article highlights, many homeowners simply don’t know that there is free foreclosure help available. And, even if they did, they don’t know how to go about finding it.
Non-Tech Savvy: The internet offers a plethora of free information on programs designed to stop foreclosure, but many just aren’t tech-savvy enough to go online and do the research that’s needed to find the program that fits their needs.
Confusion: As the previous reason alluded to, there are a ton of programs available, but the guidelines can be confusing. And, it can be difficult to actually get in touch with someone to speak to clarify things.
Deer in Headlights: Many homeowners who want to stop foreclosure are actually like deer in headlights. Their whole situation (eg, loss of job, possible lose of home, illness, etc.) has caught them unawares and they don’t know exactly where to turn or who to ask for help, so they do nothing.
While all of these are reasons that many homeowners facing foreclosure don’t ask for help, it is no excuse for inaction.
Get Free Foreclosure Help: How to Do It
Following is a plan of action you should take if you’re faced with the possibility of losing your home to foreclosure.
Talk to Your Lender: This is the first step. It likely won’t outright stop foreclosure, but there might be some “prevent foreclosure” help they can offer you, eg, a home loan modification, forbearance, principal reduction, etc.
Go Online: Go online and do an internet search for non-profit agencies that work with homeowners to stop foreclosure. Start with programs at the national/federal level, eg, President Obama’s Making Homes Affordable Program, then work your way down to the local level by next looking for state programs, then local programs.
Gather Paperwork: Learn what documents you need to get together to apply for a home loan modification, etc. After you get all of your documents ready, have them scanned as well as copied so you can email and/or mail them off quickly when your lender/loan counselor requests them. This will help the process go so much smoother.
Get – and Stay – Proactive: Stopping foreclosure is a process; a process that is probably going to be a pain in the butt; there’s no way of avoiding this. But, you must get ready for the battle physically (eg, getting your docs together), as well as emotionally. For example, put calling your lender on your list of things to do every day.
Stay on them until you get a resolution. Now, while you may still lose your home to foreclosure, at least you’ll know sooner rather than later. This will help you make some concrete decisions so you can get on with the rest of your life.
There is life after foreclosure, but you can’t turn your attention to it until you have some definitive answers about whether you’ll be able to keep your home or not. And as we just stated, staying proactive will get you the answers you need sooner rather than later.
Avoid Foreclosure Scams: What Not to Do When Searching for Foreclosure Help
Under no circumstances should you pay someone to help you stop foreclosure. As we’ve discussed previously here on how to prevent foreclosure scams, there is nothing you can’t do yourself that someone else can do. And, most often, you NEED to be the one involved in the process of negotiating with your lender because all kinds of sensitive, financial information/documentation is called for.
Do you really want all of this info in some third party’s hand – someone you’ve paid for their services? Please, please, please if you don’t remember anything else – there is tons of free foreclosure help available from trusted organizations. Find one of these. Don’t pay a “Foreclosure rescue company,” a “foreclosure specialist,” a “foreclosure counselor,” etc. or anyone else who asks you for money to help you stop foreclosure.
And be really, really leery if they promise or guarantee you that they can stop foreclosure. They can’t. There are no guarantees. Only a lender (or a lawsuit, preferably filed by a reputable foreclosure attorney) has this power.
Free Foreclosure Help Programs
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies: You can also call. The number is 877-HUD-1515 (877-483-1515).
Prevent Foreclosure Scams
For more information on foreclosure scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website on foreclosure rescue scams. Also, take action and report offenders. You can find out how to do this on the Report Federal Citizen Information Center’s Consumer Action Website.
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Copyright © 2012 Yuwanda Black for Foreclosure Business News. Article may not be reprinted or reproduced in any manner without the express, written consent of the author.