FHA Q & A: Facing Foreclosure

I was recently contacted by a couple asking for advice on their housing situation. Due to the recent market conditions, their house has greatly depreciated in value and their payments have become too much to handle. They are currently trying to work with their lender, but are still concerned about losing their home. What should they do?

I have a few major pieces of advice. First, contact a housing counselor immediately. Through the HOPE NOW program, housing counselors can help you figure out your options and, hopefully, avoid foreclosure. Plus, the counselors are available free of charge, so you’d be crazy not to take advantage of it. Distressed borrowers can call HOPE NOW directly at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to get started on the process.

Additionally, you need to stay on top of your lender. Lenders like Countrywide are already notorious for their poor customer service and are also working with many other borrowers in your exact situation. Don’t count on them to take care of things without a little pressure. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate. When you lose your home, they lose money; so they should be willing to make concessions to keep you in your home.

Lastly, don’t count on pending legislation or litigation to save you. Although states like Illinois are pressing for restitution from Countrywide, no one should wait on a decision like that (which could take years) to be helped out with current mortgage problems.

Basically, take things into your own hands and be persistent.

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