lending insights

Avoiding Foreclosure Helping Clients Keep Their Homes

Avoiding Foreclosure
Helping Clients Keep Their Homes

Few things are as devastating as losing your home. Sadly, it's not always inevitable. In many cases the foreclosure could've been avoided with some outside help.

You are in a unique position to advise your clients in financial matters. If you know that clients are on the path toward foreclosure, take the time to show them how it can be avoided. First, remind them of some of the hidden difficulties that will arise if foreclosure occurs.

Finding a new home. Don't let your clients believe that it will be better to let the foreclosure happen, because after they lose their home, they will still need to find a new place to live. All too often, the price they will need to pay in rent will be almost as high if not higher than their current mortgage payment. Remember: The owner of the property needs to make his mortgage payment, too, so he's going to charge a rental payment that's higher than his mortgage costs.

Deficiency judgment. It's not uncommon that the sale of the home is insufficient to cover the remainder of the mortgage. When the property has been damaged, or market values have dropped, the owner may end up with a bill in the tens of thousands for the difference.

Despite what many people think, most lending institutions are not anxious to foreclose. It's a last-ditch effort to recover their money and minimize their losses, and it's an incredible hassle. Most lenders would rather avoid it, if possible. There are multiple sources for help that your client should be aware of, and most lenders will be happy to hear that their clients are going to try to keep their home rather than just await a foreclosure.

Housing Counseling Agency. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development maintains a list of HUD-approved counseling agencies. Have your client call (800) 569-4287 to find the agency nearest them.

FHA-Insurance fund. FHA borrowers may qualify to have HUD make a one-time payment to bring their mortgage current. Seewww.hud.gov/foreclosure for more information on the requirements to qualify.

Different mortgage program. Have them talk to a loan officer about the possibility of refinancing their mortgage to a more affordable program.

Special Forbearance. Many borrowers can qualify for a new payment structure if they've had an increase in their cost-of-living, such as unexpected medical expenses, or a decrease in wages. This payment structure will allow the owner to repay the lender in a given time frame.

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