Foreclosure: Can It Be Stopped? Are you a homeowner who has been ignoring the warning letters and telephone calls from your bank? If you are, you may find yourself in the middle of a foreclosure crisis. At this point in time, fear may automatically set in. What will you do? Where you will live? Can you afford to move? Before you let fear take over, it is important to know that foreclosures can be stopped. Although this process is not easy, it can be done. It is advised that you speak with your financial lender as soon as you find yourself experiencing financial difficulties. For example, when you get laid off or fired from your job, schedule an appointment to meet with your lender and develop a plan, before any problems arise. At the very least, communication should be made when you start receive intent to foreclosure notices. Even if you have a sign on your home stating that the foreclosure process has officially begun, you can still talk to your financial lender. In this instance, the sooner you do so the better. As for why you should talk to your financial lender, even at the last minute, they want to avoid foreclosure as much as you do. Often times, lenders lose a considerable amount of money on the sale of foreclosure homes. If you can prove that your financial troubles are only temporary, your lender may give you a reprieve. They may stop the foreclosure proceedings for you. As for what can lead to this, you or your spouse getting a second job can help. If you are dealing with a locally owned and operated bank, which you have been a loyal customer of, it is important to outright ask what can be done. Offer suggestions yourself, if you do not receive them. Could you continue making all future mortgage payments on time, but develop a payment plan for your past due amount? Can you only pay interest for the time being? Can you be given time to sell your home, as opposed to simply just losing it? These are all important questions that you should ask. Another way that foreclosures can be stopped, in most states, is with a declaration of bankruptcy. However, this step is one that should not be made on a whim. It is first important to meet with an attorney specializing in bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy will the foreclosure proceedings stop? Can you make it so that your home is not considered an asset in bankruptcy proceedings? If so, this is the avenue that you may want to take. However, since bankruptcy can negatively influence your credit, it should only be used as a last resort. Before you take any action with the hopes of stopping foreclosure, you need to closely examine the situation at hand. For starters, would you like to get out from under your property? If it is a money-pit that needs constant repairs, it might just be easier to go the route of foreclosure or even outright allow your bank to sell the property. If you want to keep your home, make sure that you can honestly do so. It is recommended that you take forty percent of your income and apply that towards your living expenses, this includes mortgages and taxes. If this isn't possible for you to do, the avoidance of foreclosure now may result in the process starting again in a few months. How to Avoid Foreclosure Today, a large number of homeowners are facing foreclosure and many wonder what steps they should take. Those facing foreclosure should be well educated on the subject. For example, homeowners should familiarize themselves with their local and state foreclosure laws, their rights as homeowners, and so forth. With that said, it is important to remember that foreclosures are preventable. The easiest way to avoid foreclosure is to make your monthly mortgage payments and do so on time. Some financial lenders will prepare for foreclosure after only one or two missed payments. While you will not be removed from your home right away, just know that the process is easy to get started, so never fall behind in your payments. Of course telling you that you should make on time monthly mortgage payments doesn't mean that you will or that you even can. If you see financial trouble in the near future, such as being laid off from work or being out of work due to an injury, speak to your lender. If a lender knows that your financial troubles are only temporary and if you have a history of on time payments in the past, they may be willing to work with you. This may involve smaller payments for the time being. Even if you cannot get your financial lender to lower your mortgage payments, even just temporarily, there are still ways that you can avoid foreclosure. First and foremost, never ignore warnings and phone calls from your lender. Even if you do not intend to keep your home, it is important to be in constant contact with your mortgage holder. You will need to know what happens next and when you should leave the property. If you have jewelry, a second car or other belongings that can be sold, you are encouraged to do so. This may give you the money needed to get your mortgage up-to-date and in good standing. Even if not in one hundred percent good standing, it shows your financial lender that you are trying your hardest to keep your home. As easy as selling some of your belongings are, know that acquiring a second job is often your best chance of success. Increasing your income and temporary cash flow are just two ways to avoid foreclosure and keep your mortgage payments up-to-date. With that said, many homeowners facing foreclosure are surprised to learn just how much money they can save up by prioritizing their spending. Due the recent rise in gasoline, food, and entertainment, consumers who never had to worry about using coupons or having a monthly budget need them now. All homeowners, especially those facing foreclosure are encouraged to track their spending habits and eliminate unnecessary purchase. The money saved should be applied towards mortgage payments. Another easy way to reduce the risk of foreclosure is to seek professional assistance when needed. In some states, local governments and even mortgage lenders occasionally provide free foreclosure assistance to homeowners in need. As soon as you suspect that foreclosure may be an issue, you should meet with an attorney specializing in foreclosures or a HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved counselor. These are individuals who can advise you of your rights, help you understand your state's foreclosure laws, as well as help you develop a plan of action. Homeowners facing foreclosure often report an overwhelming feeling that just cannot and will not go away. This is the time to seek professional help. Finally, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) advises homeowners to not fall for foreclosure scams. These scams are often referred to as foreclosure recovery scams. Never believe the claim of an individual or company who says they can stop foreclosure proceedings with one signature. If you are not careful, you could still lose your home. What you may become instead is a renter who can't afford the new rent. Never sign any documents pertaining to your home without first having a trusted and reputable attorney review them. Foreclosures and Renters: What Are Your Rights? When you hear about foreclosures on the news or read about foreclosures in the newspaper, you will see that most of the attention is placed on the homeowner in trouble. Unfortunately, it seems as if renters have simply just been forgotten. That doesn't, however, mean that they are exempt from foreclosure related evictions. If you are a tenant of a rental property, foreclosure should be a concerned of yours. The most common fear of renters is coming home to a sign on the door stating that they must be out within twenty-four hours. Typically, this will not happen. Many states have laws that are designed to prevent this from happening. Although it does vary, depending on the state, banks are usually required to post foreclosure notices on the building within twenty days. These are notices that you should be able to spot. Another way that you can know if your rental unit is headed for foreclosure is by regularly examining listings. These foreclosure listings are easy to find online. Properties in foreclosure should also be listed and be available for viewing in your local city, town, or village offices. Although you may want to refrain from outright asking your landlord if he or she is facing foreclosure, especially if no signs are showing, it may help to calm your fears. Even if your building is being foreclosed on, you may not necessarily have to start packing your bags. Some states make it so that your lease trumps the foreclosure. This protection often occurs when a new owner is unable to afford their mortgage. For example, is your one or two year lease with the previous owners? If you entered into the rental agreement before the mortgage in question was obtained, the buyer of the foreclosed property may have to honor your lease. Renters are also provided with a small amount of foreclosure protection when they rent from a rent stabilized unit or when they are a part of a federal housing program. In many states, those on Section 8 cannot be evicted from the rental unit without reasonable cause, even when ownership is transferred. Some states and local governments also state that foreclosure is not a good enough reason to evict those in rent stabilized housing units. Since these exemptions vary depending on local and state governments, be sure to verify this information ahead of time. Although you may be offered some protection as a renter, the new owner of your property may have other plans. Know that you cannot be threatened or forcefully removed from the premises until a proper eviction notice has been served. In most areas, this is not something that just happens overnight, so you should have some notice. Until that time arrives, you should not have your locked changed, have your belongings moved from the premises or have your utilities shut off. In the event this does happen, contact the authorities and a lawyer. In the event your utilities are shut off, the health department can and should be notified. Another concern that renters have, concerning foreclosure evictions, is their security deposit. Since most rental properties require the payment of a security deposit, those forced to move unexpectedly are often left in a pinch. In all honesty, it doesn't matter how well clean or cared for you kept the rental unit, you may have difficulty recouping your security deposit. New owners are often exempt by law from having to pay it. You can sue the previous owner, your last landlord, but this process can be time consuming and costly. As you can see, you do have multiple options when facing foreclosure, as a renter. For more assistance, you will want to consult with a housing counselor that is approved by HUD (The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) or a lawyer. If and when you consult with a lawyer, select one that has experience handling legal matters that concern housing and tenant rights. Foreclosures and Moving: What to Do Are you a homeowner who has been receiving multiple phone calls and letters from your mortgage holder? If so, are you facing foreclosure? Many homeowners say that they are surprised to be facing foreclosure. With that said, the telltale signs are often there. Most reputable financial lenders, including locally owned and operated banks, will do just about anything to keep borrowers in their homes. Unfortunately, this is an important point that many either do not know or just do not take into consideration. If you are a homeowner who has received an intent to foreclose notice, you may want to start packing your bags right away. Yes, this does sound like the most logically step to take, but it isn't your only option. As a reminder, financial lenders want to keep borrowers in their homes, especially those that are only facing temporary financial hardships. That is just one of the many reasons why you should pick up the phone and schedule a meeting in person with the bank's chief loan officer. Before your property enters into foreclosure, homeowners are also encouraged to try and sell their property. In some states, the process of foreclosing on a home and it acquiring a new owner can take up to 120 days. This does leave you room to try to find a new buyer. You may have nothing to lose by placing a for sale sign in your yard or by placing advertisements in your local newspaper. You may even want to use the assistance of a professional real estate agent. When trying to sell your home at the last minute, there are some important steps that you must to take. If you want to sell your home at any costs, remember that you still need enough money to payoff your current mortgage. For example, if you owe $50,000 on your mortgage, you cannot sell your home for $45,000. It is also important to take your moving and living expenses into consideration. Make sure that you walk away with enough money to help you find a new home, even if it only involves renting an apartment. As it was previously stated, the entire process of foreclosing on a property can take up to 120 days or more in some states. Instead of moving right away, you can use this time to try and make good on your outstanding mortgage. Consider selling your valuables or getting a second job. At the very least, stay in the home and save as much money as you can. Remember, you need to have access to some money to move and rent a new apartment. There are also a select number of states who give foreclosed property owners time to essentially reclaim their home. These laws are referred to as redemption period laws. If your state has these laws in place, you may not even be required to move right away after your home is sold at a foreclosure auction. With that said, if you not anticipate being able to re-buy your home or get your mortgage in good standing, you should start making arrangements to leave the property. As for when you do move, there are a number of important steps you will want to take. First, remove all of your belongings from the home in a timely matter. After a set period of time, you may lose ownership of these items due to abandonment. Losing your home to foreclosure can be a stressful, frustrating, and maddening experience. No matter how mad or upset you are, no good can come from "trashing," the property before you leave. In fact, you may face legal repercussions for doing so. Be sure to leave with your head held high. As a reminder, foreclosure laws and the rights that homeowners have vary by state. Before you pack up and leave your home it is important to review these laws or speak with an expert. How to Find and Buy Foreclosures When looking for information pertaining to foreclosures, you will find a lot of information for homeowners who are on the verge of losing their homes. This is nice, but you may be on the other side of the fence. Instead, you may be looking for information and tips on buying foreclosure properties. If so, you have come to the right place. Those unfamiliar with real estate and foreclosures often wonder how they can find foreclosures available for sale. After a quick examination, many are pleased and surprised with their options. One of the easiest ways to find foreclosure properties listed for sale is online. Many foreclosure listing websites come with a free trial period. Foreclosure properties can also be bought through an auction. These auctions are usually advertised in local newspapers, but town and village offices should have the information posted as well. As an added bonus, if you are new to buying real estate and foreclosures, you will want to examine homes that are referred to as REO (real estate owned). You may still find affordable asking prices on these types of properties, but they aren't always classified as foreclosures. This is because the original lender, who now may be referred to as the investor, has regained control of the property. This occurs when bids are low at a foreclosure auction. The lender steps up and buys the property themselves. You can find REO properties available for sale online or by visiting your local bank branches. As it was previously stated, foreclosures can be purchased at an auction. Many bargain hunters like this approach, but know that it may not be in your best interest. Many states do not allow you to place a bid unless you can show proof of available funds upfront. Since it is rare for a lender to grant you a mortgage loan on a house that both you and they have never seen, not everyone is the perfect candidate for foreclosure auctions. In keeping with foreclosure auctions, it is first important to determine what protection your state offers homeowners going through foreclosure. Some states have redemption laws. When these laws are in place, homeowners have a set time frame in which they can reclaim their home by getting their mortgage back in good standing. What this essentially means is that you could win a foreclosure auction, but later walk away without the property. This cannot occur with REOs, as the seller is already out of the picture. If you are interested in buying a foreclosure, it is recommended that you do the proper amount of research first. Although you may not be able to inspect the property in question, you may be able to drive by the property. Foreclosure listing websites and local government offices will have the address listed. Use your best judgment. If the property doesn't look cared for on the outside, chances are the inside is just the same. Of course, you can remodel, but be sure to take those costs into consideration when placing your bid. As a reminder, it is easy to find information on foreclosures both online and locally. To make sure that you are well informed, consider consulting with a professional, such as lawyer who specializes in real estate law. At the very least, purchase a guide on how to buy foreclosures from your local bookstore or online. How to Avoid and Stop Foreclosure on Your Home Are you a homeowner who is experiencing financial difficulties? If those difficulties are making it impossible to pay your mortgage, you may find yourself facing foreclosure. This is if you haven't already been served with a foreclosure notice. Although it is difficult to associate foreclosures with good news, there is some. In some states, it is never really too late to stop foreclosure proceedings. Before focusing on a few of the many ways that you can stop foreclosure in its tracks, it is important to touch on prevention. There are multiple ways that homeowners, just like you, can avoid foreclosure. At the first sign of financial trouble, homeowners should schedule a meeting with their lenders. Lenders do not want a home to enter into foreclosure, so many are willing to work with borrowers. The sooner you ask for help, the better your chances are for receiving it. In addition to speaking with your financial lender, there are other steps that you can and should take. Did you lose your job? Whether you were laid off or fired, you need to start looking for work right away. In the time being, you may want to apply for part-time jobs. Of course, lenders want all of the money that they are owed, but some are willing to temporarily accept smaller payments. Selling a few of your valuables, prioritizing your spending, and eliminating unnecessary purchases can free up money that can and should be applied to your mortgage. As for how you can stop foreclosure, the best chances of you doing so are in the pre-foreclosure stages. This is before the courts have approved the proceeding and ruled in favor of the mortgage lender. Until this point in time, you are still the resident and owner of the home in question. If you do not feel that you can come into money, either by getting a second job or a loan from those that you know, now is the time to try and sell your property. Many in your shoes will try to sell their homes independently, but you can benefit from the services of a professional real estate agent. When selling your home, whether you do so independently or with a real estate agent, you will want your home to be reasonably priced. The better the price, the quicker your home will sell. With that said, do not lose money. You need to make sure that you have enough money to pay off your mortgage in full. Not only that, you need to examine your moving expenses. How much do you need to rent an apartment? What about moving costs or storage fees? Only sell your home when you are able to make a small profit, even if that profit will be spent to provide you with new shelter. Even if your home is slated to be sold at an auction, know that you may be able to stop it from happening. Some states have redemption laws. They provide homeowner, like you, with a grace period. This period allows you to get your mortgage back in good standing. When you do so, the foreclosure proceedings will stop, even if an auction has already occurred. As a last resort, you may want to schedule an appointment with an attorney that specializes in foreclosures and real estate. Many will suggest filing for bankruptcy. Some states offer protection to homeowners. This protection may excluded their home as an asset or at least temporarily stops the foreclose proceedings. Homeowners: Your Foreclosure Options Reviewed Are you a homeowner who is facing foreclosure? If so, you may be unsure as to what your options are. Now is the time to find out. Why? Because you may be surprised how many ways there are to avoid foreclosure. When foreclosure is avoided you can either retain your home, keep your credit in good standing, or do both. When facing foreclosure, the first step you should take is to approach your bank. It is best if you do this before the issue of foreclosure arises. Once it does, it is still not too late to schedule a meeting with the chief loan officer at your bank. If you can prove that you intend to get your mortgage back in good standing or that your financial troubles are only temporary, your lender may hold off on foreclosure. Even if your lender is willing to work with you, keeping your home may not be in your best interest. If you are having long-term financial hardships, it may be within your best interest to sell your home before it enters into foreclosure. When making this decision, you may want to talk to your lender. They may agree to allow you to proceed with a pre-foreclosure sale. In fact, they may hold off on the process of taking your home, giving you ample time to find a new buyer. When selling your home as a pre-foreclosure, your home can be listed as for sale by owner or through a professional realtor. Even if you do not consider a pre-foreclosure sale to be an option, you should expect to hear from hopeful buyers. When you are delinquent on your mortgage, especially to the point of foreclosure, this information becomes public knowledge. Some buyers, namely professional investors, seek out those in trouble. Although having a stranger appear at your door or call offering to buy your home may be rude, it is a decision that you may want to give serious thought to. Another option that you, as a homeowner, has during foreclosure to hire the services of an attorney. When doing so, see those with specialties in foreclosures or real estate. A lawyer can advise you on what steps to take. They can help you understand the pros and cons of pre-foreclosure sales. In some states, attorneys can use bankruptcy as a tactic to stop the foreclosure proceeding. Although not a long-term fix, it may buy you more time to make a decision. It is important to note that bankruptcy, by itself has a whole list of pros and cons. Most states have what are known as redemption period laws. These are designed to protect homeowners. They give you a grace period to reclaim your home. If you can make good on your mortgage payment, the foreclosure proceedings will stop. States that have these laws often enable you to reclaim your property even after it has been sold at a foreclosure auction. This is provided that you act within the allotted time frame. If you reside in a state where you are not given a grace period or a redemption period, you always have the option of buying your home again. Anyone can place a bid at a foreclosure auction. With that in mind, placing a bid and being the winning bidder are two different things. It often takes a significant amount of cash to reclaim your home. Your financial lender will also likely attend waiting to pounce. If the bids are not high enough, they will buy your home themselves. This is done to minimize their money lost. Later, your home will be available for sale as a REO (real estate owned) home. Homeowners: What You Need to Know About Foreclosures Are you a homeowner who is facing foreclosure? Even if you aren't facing foreclosure yet, are you suffering from financial difficulties that may result in it? If so, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the process. Foreclosure can be scary for homeowners, but you can protect yourself by knowing what will happen, what you can do, and what your rights are. Mortgage lenders, which are often banks, must and will provide you with proper notice. In fact, you will receive multiple written notices and telephone calls. Foreclosure should not come as a surprise to you. Neither should the eviction notice that may later arrive. As soon as you start receiving calls or letters from your financial lender, it is important to take action. As for what action you should take, that leads to another important fact. Banks want to avoid foreclosure just as much as you do. Unfortunately, many homeowners are actually surprised to learn this. Many times, financial lenders lose money when selling a foreclosed property. For that reason, you should speak directly with your financial lender. When doing so, have this meeting in person and meet with a high-ranking official, such as the chief loan offer or the branch's president. Since banks want to avoid foreclosure whenever possible, it is important to go into detail about your financial situation. Are you only experiencing temporary problems? For example, did you suffer an injury that will put you out of work for a few months? Were you laid off, but are you actively looking for a job now? If so, your financial lender may be willing to work with you. If you can prove that you have intent to get your mortgage back in good standing, your lender may temporarily accept smaller payments. As for the foreclosure proceedings themselves, the process will all depend on the state in which you reside. Unfortunately, this is a fact that many facing foreclosure do not know or do not take into consideration. If you intend to seek professional help, from either a housing counselor or an attorney, it is important you choose a professional who is familiar with your state's laws on foreclosure, as they do vary. For example, in New York, judicial and non-judicial foreclosures are permitted by law. A judicial foreclosure is where the lender must file an official complaint against the borrower, which would be you. This complaint must be approved by the local courts. A this point in time, the borrower may be given one more opportunity to pay the amount in delinquency. If not, the property will be sold. As for non-judicial foreclosures, financial lenders must have entered a specific clause in the mortgage agreement. This clause states that the borrower, which would be you, authorizes the sale of the property when delinquency occurs on payment. Typically, non-judicial foreclosures are not used often and some states even prohibit them. That is why it is important to know all of your state's foreclosure laws. When the foreclosure process has started, now is the time that you should start looking for other arrangements. Unless you can come into a large amount of cash and rebuy your home, you best option may be to move. Although you are not required to leave your home until you are served an eviction notice by the lender or new property owner, it is a process that you should start planning and preparing for. Where do you want to live? If you will rent an apartment, how do you intend to pay for the security deposit? These are questions that you need to have answers to. As a recap, foreclosure laws vary by state, banks want to avoid foreclosure and multiple notices will be sent. For that reason, foreclosure should never come as a surprise. For more information on foreclosures, contact a HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved counselor, your lender, or an attorney, but do so right away. Homeowners: The Pros and Cons of Pre-Foreclosure Sales Are you a homeowner who is facing foreclosure? If so, know that just because foreclosure is down the road, it doesn't mean that you have to travel that far. You should know that you do have a number of different options. One of those options starts in the pre-foreclosure stages and is known as a pre-foreclosure sale. As for what a pre-closure sale it, it is when the home is sold before foreclosure. Often times, it is immediately before a foreclosure auction is set to take place. As for why some homeowners wait so long, they are looking for a reprieve from the lender. Unfortunately, those in poor financial standing are unlikely to get that reprieve. That is why all homeowners should familiarize themselves with pre-foreclosure sales. As previously stated, not all homeowners are able to receive assistance from their lender. If you find yourself in this position, a pre-foreclosure sale may be the only way to keep your credit in good standing. A foreclosure can negatively impact your credit for years to come. In keeping with credit, some lawyers will have their clients declare bankruptcy to stop foreclosure or hang onto the home. This is also risky. If you make the decision to sell your home, it is a wise to make arrangements with your lender. A financial lender who knows that you are actively trying to sell your home is more likely to give you time to allow that sale to take place. As for that sale, it can be handled by you or by a realtor. If you are upset about the loss of your home, a realtor is advised. This is because it can be difficult dealing with prospective buyers who seem to have no regard for you or your troubles. If you use the services of a realtor to help with the sale of your home, you may receive more money. This is because retailers tend to sell homes at or around their assessment value. Although not much may be left over, after paying your mortgage and the realtor, it may be enough to help you make new living arrangements. Since buying a home likely isn't an option, you should have enough for a security deposit and first and last months rent. As it was previously stated, buyers interested in pre-foreclosure sales aren't always careful with the words they choose. You may have to deal with people who look down on you. Yes, they are usually in the wrong, but you must handle the situation calmly. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions that surround those facing foreclosure, most of which are not true. Remember to always keep your head held high. As painful as it may be to deal with a "jerk," at least you can avoid foreclosure and keep your credit in good standing. Perhaps, the biggest downside to selling your home, through a pre-foreclosure sale, is the loss of your home. In fact, this is why many homeowners wait until the last minute to okay the sale of their home. It is a decision that many homeowners are uncertain about. Please know that unless you can get your mortgage back to good standing, you will lose your home regardless. A pre-foreclosure sale at least lets you retain a decent credit score, as your mortgage will be paid off and hopefully in full. Homeowners: Steps to Help You Avoid Foreclosure Are you a homeowner who fears losing your home? If you are in the middle of a financial crisis, your fears may be founded. Before deciding to throw in the towel and let your home enter into foreclosure, there are some steps that you will first want to take. For your convenience, a few of those practical and easy to implement steps are outlined below. 1 -- Eliminate Unnecessary Purchases If you have yet to receive a foreclosure notice or warning from your financial lender, now is the time to start saving money. Eliminating unnecessary purchases is the best way to do so. In addition to eliminating extras, such as a cup of coffee on the way to work each morning, look at your utilities. Can you lower the package for your telephone, internet, or television? If so, do so. All money that you save should either be applied towards your mortgage or saved for when you approach your lender. 2 -- Get a Second, Part-Time Job If you are already on a limited spending budget, eliminating unnecessary purchases can only go so far. For many homeowners, a second job is required. Yes it may be hard being an office manager by day and a grocery store clerk by night, but you must do what you can to save your home. The good news is that this job does not have to be permanent, but just until you get on your feet. 3 -- Sell Your Assets If you are unable to have a second job, such as if you are a single parent, you should start examining the valuable assets in your home. Do you have an extra vehicle that just sits in your driveway? Do you have jewelry you can sell? If so, do it. If you are in serious need of money, consider hosting a yard sale. This allows you to sell and profit from items that aren't valuable, but still buyable. 4 -- Schedule an Appointment with Your Financial Lender When you know you will have a problem making your mortgage payment or when you receive foreclosure warnings, approach your lender. Surprisingly, they may be able to work with you. In most cases, banks want to avoid foreclosures just as bad. Bring the money that you saved in the above mentioned steps with you to your meeting. Use it as proof that you are serious about keeping your home. When you show drive and determination, your lender is more likely to work with you. This may include reworking your loan to give you more affordable monthly payments. 5 -- Consider a Pre-Foreclosure Sale If your financial lender is unable to help or if you still can't meet their requirements, do not wait for foreclosure to happen. You will still lose your home, but you should be able to retain your credit rating with the sale of it. You will use the money to payoff your mortgage in full. Depending on the selling price, you may make a small profit. As you can see, there are a number of steps that you can take to avoid foreclosure on your home. These steps are the easiest and most practical for homeowners, just like you. For expert advice, schedule an appointment with a housing counselor approved by HUD or with an attorney that specializes in real estate foreclosures. Homeowners and Foreclosure: When to Seek Help Are you a homeowner who is experiencing financial difficulties? If so, foreclosure should be a concern of yours. Unfortunately, many homeowners believe that foreclosure will go away. Yes, many truly know this will not happen, but some do convince themselves that the best thing is to do nothing. Do not make this mistake. To protect your credit and your home, you need to know when and where to seek help. Today's economy is hurting many companies, such as those in the auto industry. For that reason, many employees are finding themselves laid off. If this happens to you, you need to seek help immediately. That help should come from your mortgage lender. This is important because even if you are able to draw unemployment, there is often a waiting period. Let your lender know that you will be unable to make a full payment for the next month. Be sure to state that you intend to either find a job or use your unemployment check for your mortgage. Another issue that should be discussed with your mortgage lender is injury. Are you injured and can't work? Whether you will receive disability or worker's compensation, there is a waiting period. In fact, this waiting period may take up to six weeks or more! In this time frame, you may miss one or two mortgage payments. Do not let your mortgage lender get the wrong impression. If you will be able to return to work in a few months, bring proof. Have a notice from your doctor, as well as from your employer. When a mortgage lender can see that you will be returning to work and your previous financial status soon, they should be more willing to work out a temporary payment plan with you. In addition to speaking with your financial lender, advice can be sought from a real estate agent. If you are facing long-term financial problems, as opposed to short-term, it may be within your best interest to sell your home before you are faced with foreclosure. Depending on the value of your home, the realtor you hire, and the amount you owe on your mortgage, this is a sale that you may be able to profit from. At the very least, get enough money to pay your mortgage in full and relocate. Once your home is in the stages of foreclosure, a lawyer is usually the only professional who can get you out. With that said, lawyers are faced with limited options once foreclosure has begun. They may be able to stop the proceedings by having filing for bankruptcy. Action can be taken if you and your attorney can prove that your mortgage lender discriminated against you or took illegal actions. Otherwise, it may be time to start looking for a new home. Speaking of relocating, many homeowners don't know what to do or where to go. This is despite the fact that many saw foreclosure coming from a mile away. What you will want to do is contact the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Their mission is to make sure that all Americans have access to safe and affordable housing. You can speak to a HUD approved housing counseling who can help you review your options. As you can see, you don't and shouldn't have to face foreclosure alone. No matter what stage in the process you are at, there are professionals who can help. Homebuyers: What You Need to Know About Foreclosures Are you looking to buy a new home? If you are, you may examine the online websites of real estate agents or pick up copies of their printed brochures. Of course, this is a great way to find and buy a new home, but there is another step you may want to take. That step involves reviewing foreclosed properties available for sale. In a time where foreclosures are on the rise, you may be surprised just how affordable they are to buy. One of the most common questions asked by perspective buyers is what causes a property to enter into foreclosure. Typically, there is nothing wrong with the property itself. In fact, the current or previous homeowners may have taken great care of it. Foreclosures occur because of financial difficulties. These difficulties may include an injury that prevents someone from working, being terminated or laid off, excessive debt, or divorce. If you are interested in buying a cheap home, one of the best approaches to take is to negotiate directly with the current homeowners. In many states, this is possible before the foreclosure proceedings get underway. In this case, the home is in a pre-foreclosure stage. As this point in time, homeowners facing mounting debt can try to sell their homes. And, you will find that many want to. You may be able to get a great deal. It depends on the current balance owed on the mortgage, as well as the amount of money the homeowner needs to relocate. Homeowners trying to sell their homes while in the pre-foreclosure stages will often advertise their home is available for sale online or in newspaper inserts. A significantly reduced home is a good sign that the homeowner is facing foreclosure. You also have the option of approaching those facing foreclosure independently. Information for doing so can be acquired online or in local government offices, as foreclosures are public notice. Approaching a homeowner in financial trouble may work to your advantage, but many consider it be a risky and immoral approach. After a home has been foreclosed on, many banks will try to find a new owner right away. This is often done through an auction. This auction often occurs at local county office buildings or at the lending institution. Foreclosure auctions are often considered one of the best ways to get an amazing deal on a home, but you, as a buyer, may be faced with multiple rules and restrictions. You may need to have the money upfront or at least proof of required funds, as most auctions do not allow loans. You also rarely get the opportunity to see the property in question or inspect it. This means that you are not only buying the property as-is, but you are buying it blindly. Before deciding to buy a foreclosed property, it is important to review all state laws pertaining to foreclosures. Learn as much as you can about the proceedings. For example, certain states have what are known as redemption laws. This, essentially, gives a borrower time to make good on their loan payments. If you are unaware of these or other similar laws, you may find yourself in a pinch. Why? Because even after you have successful won a foreclosure auction, the borrowers can reclaim their home if they can rectify their delinquent payments. Finally, know that if you purchase a foreclosed property, whether you do so through a real estate agent, directly through the bank or at a foreclosure auction, you are required to evict all current occupants. Many individuals actually find this difficult, on both physical and emotional levels. If you foresee a problem, such as if the tenant or previous owners are already making it known that they will not move, you should seek professional assistance. This assistance should come from local authorities or a well-known and reputable lawyer, namely one who specializes in real estate or foreclosures. Homebuyers: The Pros and Cons of Pre-Foreclosure Sales Are you looking to buy a new home? If so and if you are on a limited budget, you may use the internet to research foreclosures. The sale of foreclosed properties is on the rise, due to their affordable prices. Somewhere in the mix, you may find homes for sale that are in the pre-foreclosure stages. As you can likely gather from the name, these are properties that are headed for foreclosure, but not yet there. As stated above, some pre-foreclosure properties are listed available for sale online. These may appear on foreclosure listing websites, but not always. There are two main ways in which pre-foreclosures are sold. A real estate agent is used or the current homeowners list the home as for sale by owner. As for who you should do business with, it depends on your own personal preference. One of the many pros or plus sides to buying a pre-foreclosure that is listed through a real estate agent is communication. That real estate agent is whom you will have direct communication with. This may give you comfort and peace of mind. It is no secret that homeowners facing foreclosure are angry and upset. You can discuss the property and talk freely with the real estate agent in charge of the sale, but without having to worry about angering or offending them. The biggest con or downside to buying a pre-closure through a real estate agent is the selling price. Real estate agents take a percentage of each sale. To ensure they get a decent paycheck, the price of the home increases. While pre-foreclosure homes, even in these types of cases, are still cheap, you may get a better deal when buying directly from the homeowner. Speaking of buying directly from the homeowner, there are a number of benefits to doing so. One of those benefits is the deal that you may be able to walk away with. At the last minute, some homeowners will do just about anything to sell their homes before foreclosure starts. Selling a home allows a homeowner to keep their credit in good standing. This means that you may be able to negotiate a better deal. All that really matters is that the mortgage lender gets their agreed upon share. As it was previously stated, many homeowners are dealing with a wide array of emotions when faced with foreclosure. You may see this in the form of uncertainty. A homeowner may want to try and put-off the buying process as long as possible. Deep down, all homeowners wish for a last minute reprieve that will allow them to keep their properties. If you want to buy the property, make your intentions known, but do not be too pushy. In addition to buying a for sale by owner pre-foreclosure, you may want to do a little bit of research. There are millions of homeowners facing foreclosure. Some of those homeowners do not know all of their options. You can approach a homeowner yourself and inquire about buying their home. You can research foreclosure records online or in local government offices. To get started, it is recommended that you send correspondence through the mail. This is considered less rude and invasive. If you hear back, good. If not, you may want to try again in another month.
Foreclosures: When to Consult an Attorney In the United States, foreclosures are hitting an all-time high. What does this mean? It means that you may be impacted, if you haven't already been. When it comes to foreclosures, many homeowners and renters do not know where to turn. There may come a point in time when you need to consult with or hire an attorney. Most media attention surrounding foreclosures is focused on the property owner. Yes, many of the individuals facing foreclosure are owners of single-family homes that they live in, but not always. A large number of rental property owners are finding themselves in foreclosure. As a renter, you may be curious as to what your rights are. If you want professional assistance, an attorney should be contacted. In keeping with renters facing eviction due to foreclosure, proper notice must be given. Regardless of who is trying to have you evicted, whether it be the bank or the new property owner, proper notification is a must. In most states, a written, legal eviction notice is needed. Depending on your state, you may be given up to a month or more to move. Generally, you will not be expected to move out overnight. Also, until an eviction notice has been served, you cannot have your belongings moved from your apartment or have your utilities shut off. If this occurs, contact an attorney right away. If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney right away. As soon as your bank issues intent of foreclosure, it is best to explore your legal options. Remember, however, that you may want to work out an agreement with your financial lender, as they too want to avoid foreclosure. One of the many reasons why you are encouraged to contact a lawyer, namely one who specializes in foreclosure, is because they have legal tricks up their sleeve. A lawyer can help you stop foreclosure proceedings in their tracks. One of the ways that this is done is by declaring bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can temporarily put a hold on foreclosure proceedings. In some states, homeowners can receive protection when filing for bankruptcy, meaning that their home cannot be touched. Since there are various rules and restrictions concerning this exemption, professional legal advice is recommended. Unfortunately, another issue that homeowners facing foreclosure have to deal with are foreclosure scams. There are individuals and companies out there who claim to be professionals who can help you get back on track. They may offer to buy your home or and draft up a new mortgage for you. Many times though, homeowners end up paying more money than before. Do not let yourself become a victim and if you do, contact an attorney immediately. Better yet, companies implementing the above mentioned foreclosure scams will require that you sign documents, which may essentially turn over ownership to them. Never sign anything without reading it yourself, but have an attorney take a look as well. When doing so, do not use the lawyer recommended to you. Instead, choose a lawyer that is locally based and well-known and trusted throughout your community. Ask those that you know for recommendations or find ratings and reviews online. As previously stated, you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in foreclosures as soon as you spot trouble on the horizon. This is important, as even the best lawyers have their hands tied when the foreclosure proceedings actually start. Remember that a warning of intend to start foreclosure, does not mean that the process has already started. That is why it is vital that you seek professional advice as soon as possible. In short, a lawyer specializing in foreclosures can provide legal assistance to both renters and homeowners. Don't let yourself fall victim to foreclosure scams or get taken advantage of by your financial lender or landlord; be sure to seek legal help and do it fast. Foreclosures: When to Accept Your Fate Millions of homeowner are currently in danger of losing their homes. Why? Because of foreclosure. Due to the high unemployment rate, poor job outlook, rising fuel and food costs, many homeowners just can't afford their homes anymore. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be unsure as to what you should do. One of the most common questions asked by those facing foreclosure is when you should just accept your fate. In all honesty, this is a step that most homeowners are advised against taking. Before deciding to give up on your home and move, it is important to know and familiarize yourself with your options. First, know that there is help for you. This help can come from an attorney specializing in real estate or foreclosures, a HUD approved housing counselor, or even your financial lender. If you are a homeowner, foreclosure should not come as a surprise to you. You will receive numerous phone calls and letters from your financial lender, even before the foreclosure process begins. If you intend to act, now is the time to do so. If you are faced with only temporary financial hardships, such as an injury that will keep you out of work for three months, speak to your lender. They may be willing to workout a temporary payment plan with you. This plan may result in short-term lower payments. Remember, the sooner you act, the better your chances are. Lenders are less likely to work with you when you already owe them a large amount of money. As it was previously stated, you may want to seek help from an attorney that specializes in foreclosures. Many are familiar with steps that you can take to stop your bank from foreclosing on your property. One of those steps may involve declaring bankruptcy. In some states, this is enough to cause a bank to hold off on the process of foreclosure. Also, an experienced lawyer may make it so that your home cannot be touched during bankruptcy. Regardless of which action you decide to take, you should do so with the assistance of a trusted professional. However, it is important to make sure that you seek that assistance in a timely matter. For example, in some states foreclosure proceedings cannot be stopped once they have started. That is why as soon as you notice financial problems or receive an intent to file foreclosure notice from your lender, you need to act and fast. Once the foreclosure proceedings have started, like when you see your property listed for sale online or in the newspaper under foreclosure auctions, you may need to start accepting your fate. Many of your friends and family members will encourage you to stay and fight, but you may suffer legal consequences for doing so. Banks and new property owners can legally have you evicted from your home and you will need to move. This is also the point in time when many homeowners are thinking of ways to stay in their home. Renters are encouraged to speak to the new property owner to see if they can continue renting and living in the rental unit. This approach often works for renters, but it is unlikely to work for you. If your home is a single-family home, it will likely be lived in, not used as a rental property. Although you can ask or even beg to stay in the home, you may want to start getting your belongings and finances in order. Rental apartments usually require security deposits. Make sure you can afford this required deposit. Look into other fees and expenses, such as the cost of renting a moving van. Start looking for affordable apartments or make arrangement with friends or family members right away. If you are not prepared or choose to ignore your eviction notice, you may, literarily, find yourself out on the street, if not in jail. Foreclosures: How to Get Your Lender to Help When homeowners are facing foreclosure, the mortgage lenders often become referred to as evil, heartless people. While this anger in understandable, it could be in the way of you keeping your home. Unless you foresee having financial problems for years to come, you will want to make nice with your financial lender. After all, they may be able to provide you with an alternative. This alternative can keep your home out of foreclosure or stop the current process right in its tracks. The first step in getting your lender to work with you, to avoid foreclosure, is speaking with them. You will get nowhere by avoiding them. Whenever you receive a warning or an intent of foreclosure notice or a phone call, start making plans to contact your lender. While you may want to head straight to your local bank branch, you may want to take a few hours or a day to reflect on the situation. This will allow you to develop a plan of action, a plan of action that will be successful. Before meeting with an official at your bank, it is important to know what you will say and how you will say it. This is key to keeping your home out of foreclosure. Although financial lenders want to avoid foreclosures at all costs, they don't want to keep on losing money. Lenders are usually unwilling to work with those who don't show true interest in rectifying the situation. That is why a plan of action is required. As for that plan of action, collect as much information as you can about your current financial situation and the cause of it. For example, are you currently laid off, but looking for a new job? Take your updated resume to with you. It can help to show that you are actively looking for a job and trying to save your home. Let them know of any upcoming interviews you may have scheduled as well. If you are out of work due to an injury and that injury is only temporary, get notices from your doctor and your place of employment. This will prove to your lender that you still have a job waiting for you and will be able to return to work soon. Proving that you do intend to make your mortgage payment in full and as soon is possible is key to avoiding foreclosure or stopping it. Next, it is important to consider your appearance and your attitude. Starting with your appearance, it is important to walk into the bank with your head held high. You will also want to dress professionally. Women should wear dresses or pantsuits. For men, pantsuits are also recommended. Avoid casual clothing. For many financial lenders, a borrower who carries himself or herself in a professional manner shows responsibility. Responsibility is another important key to getting your lender to work with you. As for your attitude, make sure that you don't have one. As previously stated, financial lenders often become the bad guys when foreclosure is threatened or when the process gets started. No matter how angry you are with your lender, do not let your anger show. If you learn that your financial lender is willing to work with you, to help you avoid foreclosure, they may offer their own suggestions. You can take these suggestions, but don't get in over your head. Reduced mortgage payments are nice, even if they are only temporary, but make sure that you can pay them. If a strict deadline is set for the return of the originally agreed upon payments, make sure you can make those payments too. If not, the whole foreclosure warning process will start again. In short, always approach your financial lender if you suspect foreclosure is on the horizon or as soon as the proceedings start. Since lenders lose money on foreclosed properties, they want to avoid foreclosure just as much as you do. Foreclosures and the Impact on Renters Much attention is placed on homeowners facing foreclosure. Yes, this attention is well deserved, but it appears as if many media and news organizations have forgotten about the impact foreclosure has on renters. If you are a renter living in a property that is facing or is in the middle of foreclosure proceedings, you may not know what to do or where to turn. For you, it may seem like you are at the end of your rope. When facing foreclosure, many renters will simply just cut their losses and relocate. This may mean having to move without recouping a security deposit. Unfortunately, there are some renters, possibly you, who cannot up and afford to relocate, especially without getting your security deposit back. When renting a new apartment, most landlords require a security deposit and if you weren't prepared to move, you may not have the money. There is another serious issue that renters forced to relocated are facing. Foreclosures are on the rise. What does this mean? It means that an unprecedented number of homeowners have no place to live. This often turns them into renters. Unfortunately, this lessens the availability and rental choices for renters, like yourself. It may mean that you have to pay more in rent or move to another city or town. As previously stated, many renters decide to throw in the towel and relocate. If you are unable to do so, you may want to wait and see what happens. Of course, during this time you should take steps to protect yourself. Save enough money to cover your moving expenses, including a new security deposit. You will be prepared in the event that you are legally evicted from the property. You should, however, know that eviction from a property in foreclosure is not something happens overnight. You usually have a few days or even a few weeks to make alternative living arrangements. Before making a decision, all renters are urged to look at the property in question. Are you renting a unit from an apartment complex or a multi-family home? If you are, you may be able to stay. Investors at foreclosure auctions often purchase rental units. These investors want to see a return on their profit. The way to do this is to make sure their rental units are filled with quality, on time paying tenants. With that said, if you are renting a single-family home, you may want to prepare to relocate. Unlike with rental properties, single-family homes are often purchased in foreclosure auctions by those looking to live inside. Despite the fact that some new rental property owners may be willing to work with you and let you continue to rent, there is no guarantee that the property will sell. When low bids are received at a foreclosure auction, the original lender often steps up to the plate and buys the home. In this case, the home is no longer considered a foreclosure, but a REO (real estate owned) property. Unfortunately, this doesn't always workout well for renters. With REO properties, lenders, who are also known as investors, may start the eviction process right away. Many cannot or do not want to become property managers, even just for a month or two. As previously stated, foreclosures can occasionally come as a surprise to renters. Your landlord will receive multiple warnings and notices, but they are not required by law to share them with you. Renters usually become aware of foreclosure proceedings when notices are placed on the building. At this point in time, you should contact the lender in question. See what your options are. Can you buy the property yourself? If you can prove that you have a stable income, the lender in question may be willing to work with you. As a recap, foreclosures are having a significant and usually negative impact on renters. If you are a renter who lives in a property that is facing foreclosure or if you fear foreclosure is looming, you may want to start making preparations to ensure that you are well prepared for what is to come. Facing Foreclosure: Where You Can Turn Are you facing foreclosure? If you have received an intent to foreclose notice from your bank, you may be feeling a wide array of emotions. These emotions may include fear, anger, and sadness. Regardless of how you feel about the situation, now is the time to take action. Depending on how soon you act, as well as what steps you take, you may be able to avoid foreclosure. When facing foreclosure, one of the first places you should turn to is that of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD. There you will find experts who can help to point you in the right direction. One direction that you may be pointed to is that of a HUD approved housing counselor. A HUD approved housing counselor can give you tips on how to avoid foreclosure. However, if you have reached the point where foreclosure cannot be stopped, assistance on picking up the pieces and finding a new home will be provided. Another professional that homeowners facing foreclosure should turn is to that of an attorney. Should you decide to contact an attorney for legal advice, it is vital that you select one who has experience dealing with real estate and foreclosure cases. As for how a lawyer can help you, they may be able to stop the foreclosure process. There are a number of ways this can be accomplished. An attorney can and should be contacted in the event you find yourself a victim of a foreclosure scam or if you feel you are being discriminated against by your mortgage lender. Although it is best that you seek professional assistance, such as the assistance of an attorney or a HUD approved housing counselor, you may want to turn to those around you. As embarrassing as it may be to admit that you may lose your home, now is the time to receive support and encouragement from close friends and family members. In fact, they may be able to help you avoid foreclosure. Can you borrow money from someone that you know? If so, just make sure that you pay it back and in a timely matter. Returning back to seeking professional foreclosure advice and assistance, real estate agents can also be approached. However, it is best if they are contacted as soon as you notice a problem. If you suspect you may fall victim to foreclosure, contact a real estate agent immediately. Before your home enters into the official foreclosure stage, it is known as being in pre-foreclosure. You can still try to sell your home. You can list your home as for sale by owner, but the knowledge and expertise of a professional real estate agent can help you sell your home faster. Out of all of the places that you should turn to seek assistance with avoiding foreclosure, the bank is the most important. Financial lenders want to avoid foreclosure. Why? Because they almost always lose money on the sale of foreclosed properties. For that reason, schedule a meeting, in person, with your lender. Make sure you meet with someone who is high ranking in the branch, such as the bank president or the chief loan officer. If you can prove that your financial hardships are only temporary, do so. This may help to convince your mortgage lender to give you more time. The internet can also be used to seek foreclose help and assistance. When using the internet, it is important to proceed with caution. You, honestly, never know if what you find online is true. With that said, many states clearly outline their foreclosure laws and homeowner options on their websites. You may also find detailed information online from homeowners who have been in the same place as you, facing foreclosure. Other homeowners may share the ways that they were able to successfully stop foreclosure. In addition to carefully reviewing all information provided to you, do not pay anything. Foreclosure advice can easily be found online free of charge. Facing Foreclosure: How to Find Advice Online If you are a homeowner who is on the brink of foreclosure or if your lender has already started the proceedings, you may not know where to turn. If you are limited on financial resources you may be unable to hire a lawyer to provide you with expert advice. Although nothing is better than professional help, you can turn to the internet. When using the internet to find advice about foreclosure or to learn what your rights as a homeowner are, visit the website of your state. This should be the official website. Perform a search on the site for information on foreclosures. You should be provided with information on foreclosure laws in your state of residence, as well as detailed information on the process works. This information may also be available from other sources online, but you know the information is accurate and up-to-date when you get it directly from the source. Another type of website that you may want to checkout is that of foreclosure attorneys or those who specialize in real estate. Many lawyers will share important foreclosure information and tips on their websites, available to you free of charge. For example, a current search of foreclosure attorneys will tell you that in some states foreclosure can be stopped right in its tracks when bankruptcy is declared. Although not all attorneys are willing to divulge all of their secrets, you may be surprised how much information you can find online. The internet can also be used to help you find and hire a lawyer. As previously stated, those facing foreclosure don't always have the financial resources needed to hire a lawyer, but there are ways around this. Some lawyers will accept cases pro bono and others will work out a payment agreement with you. As for when you should hire an attorney, you should do so if you fall victim to a foreclosure scam or if you believe that your lender is treating you unfairly and illegally. As a reminder, lawyers specializing in real estate and foreclosures are recommended. Credit counseling websites are another resource that you can find available online. This is a controversial and sometimes risky approach, but help may be out there for you. Some credit counseling companies may try to work with your lender for you. This may result in more affordable monthly mortgage payments for you. With that in mind, there are many scams that surround these companies, even those that claim to be non-profit organizations. For that reason, do the proper amount of research online first or check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The website for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should be visited as well. There you will find a lot of information that is not only from a reliable source, but accurate. This website can be found at HUD.gov. There, you can not only review your options before, during, and after foreclosure, but you can be connected to valuable resources, including a HUD approved housing counselor. Also online, you will find a number of websites that are operated by individuals just like yourself. Many have dealt with foreclosures firsthand, some came out on top, while others didn't. These types of websites can be used to provide you with valuable resources, as well as support. Hearing how to deal with foreclosure firsthand, through someone who has been there before, may be a source of comfort for you. Buying Foreclosures: The Pros and Cons of REOs Are you looking to buy an affordable home? If you are, you may turn to foreclosure property listings online. Foreclosed properties are often available for sale at a steeply discounted price. With that said, buyers need to be aware that buying and living in a foreclosed property isn't as easy as it sounds. That is why some buyers rather opt for properties that are referred to as REOs. These properties are real estate owned. As previously stated, buying and moving into a foreclosed home isn't always a walk in the park. For starters, some states tend to draw out the process. For example, just because you are the winning bidder at a foreclosure auction, it doesn't mean that you can move in right away. In fact, you may still end up with no home. Why? Because many states have redemption laws. These laws gives delinquent borrowers time to get their mortgage back in good standing. Next, it is important to know that many people do not want to leave their homes. While many will do so when faced with a legal eviction notice, you may be surprised how many occupants put up a fight. In fact, there are even cases where lawsuits were brought against the new buyers! If you are unable to afford the cost of legal representation, foreclosures may not be in your best interest. Liens and backed taxes also need to be examined. Depending on the state in question, buyers of foreclosure properties may be responsible for any outstanding liens or backed taxes. Do not let this come as a surprise to you after the fact. If you are not careful, this can significantly increase the cost of a foreclosure, possibly making it no longer affordable. For your own personal protection, always consult with a professional before buying a foreclosed property, especially at a real estate auction. Since the buying of foreclosures can be considered a risky business, there are many homeowners who opt to purchase real estate owned (REO) home or property. As for what these properties are, the original lenders own them. During this process, the lender is also commonly referred to as the investor. Often times, the lender in question will buy back the home in question at a real estate auction. This is often done when not enough interest in generated in the auction or when the bids are anticipated to be or are low. Many experts state that buying an REO home is the best way to buy a property that is in trouble. Why? Because at this stage, the home is likely cleared of all occupants. Financial lenders often have the means and the power to evict all occupants, even those who are against leaving. The only individuals you should have to deal with are the investors, which would be the bank. In rare events, a bank may turn over the sale of the home to a real estate agent. However, since real estate agents take a percentage of each sale, the asking price of an REO home is likely to increase. For the best price, deal with banks directly. As for how you can find real estate own properties, visit all local banks in your area. Ask if there are any real estate owned properties currently available for sale. If so, request information on those properties. The online websites of nationally owned, but locally operated banks can be examined as well. Many times, REO properties are listed for sale online. Remember, the same information can be acquired by scheduling an in person meeting the bank's loan officer or real estate advisor. As an important warning, whenever you are interested in buying a home, whether it be through a traditional real estate agent sale, an REO, or a foreclosed property, never enter into any agreements without the proper legal knowledge. Always first hire or consultant with an attorney who specializes in real estate or foreclosures. Foreclosure: Your Options As a Renter Are you a renter who is concerned with foreclosure? With the recent media attention it has received, you may be and with good reason. Although many renters are blindsided by a foreclosure eviction notice, others may have seen the signs coming. Whichever side of the fence you are on, it is important to know what your options are. One of the most common decisions made by renters who have either been served with a foreclosure notice or see it coming is to throw in the towel and move. Many decide this is the safest and easiest approach to take. With that said, know that you may face a number of obstacles. Unless your landlord has received a foreclosure notice, they do not need to let you out of your lease. If this happens, you legally need to continue paying rent. Next, you may find it difficult or impossible to retrieve your security deposit. This may be a problem if you weren't anticipating to move, as you may not have the funds needed to pay a new security deposit on a new property. This doesn't mean that you will be left homeless or put out on the street. Remember that you don't have to move until you receive a legal eviction notice. Next, talk to prospective landlords about your situation. If your current landlord can vouch that you do make on time payments, you may be able to make your security deposit in affordable installments. As previously stated, you do not legally have to move from your rental unit until you have received an eviction notice. For that reason, many renters, especially those who were unprepared, make the decision to stay and stand their ground. If you want to do this, know that you may face some resistance from the bank or new property owner. With that said, until you receive an eviction notice, you cannot be forcefully removed from the property, your utilities cannot be shut off, and the locks cannot be changed on you. Another option that you have is to approach the financial lender in question. Your best luck is when dealing with either a locally owned or operated bank. When dong so, you will have two different options. Ask to stay in the home or rental unit. Unfortunately, some banks will automatically start the eviction process as soon as a property enters into foreclosure. This is party due to fear that the property will not promptly sell. Many banks don't want the hassle or liability of having to deal with a renter. If you are a long-term renter, plead your case, which should include prompt and on time rent payments. Next, you can offer to buy the property. Even if you aren't in the best financial standing or if you are unprepared to make the often required down payment, the lender may be willing to work with you. Once again, your chances improve when dealing with a locally owned or operated bank. If you are a long-term renter and can prove that you have made consistent on time rent payments, have the money needed to pay for a mortgage or home loan, the lender in question may be able to work with you. After all, they want to sell the property and recoup their lost money as quickly as possible. Although some banks will start the eviction process right away, others will not. This is normally when they believe they can sell the home quickly, like in an auction. If this occurs, you may want to wait and workout an agreement with the new owner. If you are in an apartment complex or a multi-family home, your chances of being able to stay are pretty good. However, if you rent a single family home, the new buyer may intend to move him or herself in. As an important reminder, you can always throw in the towel and start preparing to move when your rental unit is facing foreclosure, but you don't have to. As a renter, you have a number of legal rights, as well as options. Foreclosure Scams: How to Avoid Them Are you a homeowner who is facing foreclosure? If you are, you may literally be desperate. You may try anything to save your home. Of course, you are urged to do so, but it is important to not let desperation get in the way. Homeowners who do often find themselves the victims of a foreclosure scam. When it comes to foreclosure scams, the best way to protect yourself is to know what to look for. Although foreclosure scams come in a number of different formats, many are easy to spot. One type of scam that you will be on the lookout for is when an individual or a company approaches you offering to help. When doing so, they will offer to provide you with a loan. The only problem is that a loan is not what you may be getting. The documents you sign may actually turn over ownership to the individual or company in question. However, you often end up agreeing to rent the property at a very high rate. When you cannot afford to make those payments, you will be evicted from a home that you no longer own. Another foreclosure scam involves having an individual or company coming to your rescue. They will offer to negotiate with your lender for you. During this period, you are asked to pay the individual or company in question, which may be referred to as a rescuer. The only problem is that individual or company isn't in contact with your mortgage lender at all. What they are doing is pocketing your money and you will still end up facing foreclosure. Similar to the foreclosure scam listed above is one that involves strong-arming your home from you. In this aspect, the individual or company in question isn't necessarily after your money, but more your property. They will instruct you not to contact anyone for help, aside from them. You are instructed not to speak with a lawyer, not to talk to or make payments to your mortgage company, and so forth. Right before the foreclosure proceedings start, the scammer will then take every step possible to get your home. One mistake that you will not want to make, concerning foreclosure scams is believing that the individual in front of you is different. Desperation and despair can cloud one's judgment. If you are presented with a contract or legal document to sign, do not do so until you can have it reviewed by an attorney. Be sure to choose your own attorney. Do not rely on the advice of an attorney suggested to you, as they may be in on the scam, if they are even a real attorney to begin with. The three above mentioned foreclosure scams are just a few that you may run into, but they do have the potential to cause the most damage and the most heartbreak. The good news is you now know what to look for. This means you can avoid falling victim to these types of scams. As a word to the wise, never agree to do business with someone who approaches you. A reputable lawyer or housing advisor will wait for you to come to them. No one who comes knocking on your doorstep is likely to have your best interests at heart. As a recap, foreclosure scams are out there. Typically, the only way for you to legally avoid foreclosure to speak with an attorney or to make arrangements with your financial lender. Foreclosure: How and Why You Should Talk to Your Bank Are you homeowner who is facing foreclosure? If you are, your first thought may be to start packing. Yes, this is the only choice for some in foreclosure, but that doesn't mean it is yours. Before you throw in the towel, make an appointment in person to speak with your financial lender. You may be surprised how much help, assistance, or advice you may receive when doing so. First and foremost, it is important to know that banks and other financial lenders are not evil. It may sound silly, but this is how many homeowners feel when facing foreclosure. Many want to know how another human being can force them to leave their own home. In the heat of the moment, many do not realize that banks want to avoid foreclosures just as much as homeowners do. Financial lenders often lose money on foreclosure properties. That is why it is imperative that you schedule an in person meeting with your lender. As nice as it is to know that you should meet with your financial lender when you feel that you are facing foreclosure or know for sure that it is looming, you may be unsure how to proceed. For starters, many homeowners want to know when the discussion should start. In all honesty, it should start as soon as you know that you will miss a mortgage payment. It is best not to wait until the foreclosure process starts. If you can make payment, but need to do so a few weeks late, be sure to make your actions known. This will prevent your lender from even considering foreclosure right away. One of the many reasons why homeowners are facing foreclosure is because of the job market. Long-term employees are now finding themselves standing in the unemployment line. If you are laid off from your job, schedule a meeting with your mortgage holder immediately. They may be walling to work with you, provided you will be taking proactive steps to find a new job. Often times, you may find your monthly mortgages payments temporarily reduced. When your home enters into foreclosure, you will see signs posted on the building. With that said, this is not the first notice that you will receive. As a reminder, banks want to avoid foreclosure just as much as you do. That is why they will likely call and send regular notices to your home. As embarrassing as it may be to admit that you cannot make your mortgage payments, it is important to answer the phone. Remember, your bank may be willing to work with you and create a temporary payment plan. This is often the case when you can prove your financial hardships are only temporary. For example, are you temporarily unable to work due to an injury? Were you laid off, but looking for a new job? If so, make it known. It is also important to determine how much you need to pay to stop the foreclosure proceedings in their tracks. Since banks want to avoid foreclosure, they may accept a portion of the money that you owe. With that said, this is where you need to proceed with caution. If the bank requires full payment the following month, make sure you can make that payment in full. If not, the process will simply just restart from the beginning all over again. When discussing your options with your bank, it is important to do so in person. You will want to show your lender that you intend to get back on track financially, but this is difficult to prove over the phone. Walk into the bank with your head held high, dress professional, and be very confident. You need to prove to your lender that the words coming out of your mouth are true. Just because you say you are looking for a new job, it doesn't mean that you are. Foreclosure Auctions: How to Find Them and What to Expect Are you looking to buy a new home? If you are, you may be turned off by the real estate prices you see on the market. If so, this doesn't mean that now isn't the time to buy a home, but it does mean that you may be looking in the wrong place. Instead of visiting the online websites of realtors or flipping through their brochures, place your focus on foreclosure properties. Foreclosure properties are often considered a great buy, as they are easy to find and affordable. One of the most popular ways that foreclosures are bought and sold is at an auction. This auction typically takes place at a county, town, or village government office, such as the clerk's department. As for how you can find these foreclosure auctions, they are often advertised in local newspapers. You can also search local records, as foreclosures are public notice. One of the few downsides to buying a home at a foreclosure auction is the inspection, as you aren't typically granted one. Most bidders are bidding on the home as-is. As-is isn't so bad, but it may be if you haven't seen the property. With that said, since foreclosures are public notice, you should be able to get the address of the property in question. You will want to drive by. Although you should not judge a book by its cover, a drive by can give you an idea of what to expect. When you have doubts, it may be best to move on and target other auctions. If you decide to attend a foreclosure auction, the last thing you want to do is just show up. That is unless you are scouting to see how an auction works. When you are serious about purchasing a foreclosed property at an auction, you need to be prepared. This preparation involves having financing lined up. Many will require that you either have the money on hand or show proof that you do have the financial resources needed to follow through with the sale. Contingency loans are generally prohibited. Check deposits are sometimes required before you can even place a bid. As for the auction itself, it depends. It is not uncommon for bids to be sealed. Once everyone has placed a bid, the highest bidder will be announced. For bids that are not sealed, the auctioneer will start with a figure, often around $1,000 or less and the bidding will continue on. If you are the winner bidder, it is important to know that you may not be able to move into your new home right away. In fact, it is likely that you will be unable to do so. Many states give current occupants a redemption period or a grace period. This is where they can still fight to keep their home. After this point has passed, you can start the eviction process if the current occupants do not leave voluntarily. As it was previously stated, you may want to attend a foreclosure auction and just sit on the sidelines. You should be allowed to do so. If you are unfamiliar with the buying and selling of real estate, foreclosures, or auctions, you can learn a lot. This knowledge is important, as many fellow bidders will be investors looking to turn a profit, not buy their first home. Seeking Professional Foreclosure Assistance and Advice Are you one of the millions of homeowners who are now facing foreclosure? Unfortunately, the fact that you are not alone is not comforting. What may be comforting is the professional assistance that is available to you. In fact, many homeowners facing foreclosure are surprised to see what their options are. Many are also surprised to learn that help is even out there for them, but it is. If you are facing foreclosure, the first thing you need to do is sit down and look at the situation. How far behind are you on your mortgage? Is there anyway that you can make an immediate payment? Chances are you don't have the money just laying around or else you would have used it already. What you can however do is rely on the help of close friends and family members. If you owe a small amount, such as around $1,000, can you borrow the money and repay it in small increments? Making timely payments on your mortgage is one of the best ways to stop foreclosure in its tracks, but that may not be an option for you. What you will want to refrain from doing is automatically tossing in the towel. Preparing to move is a step that should only be used as a last resort. First, talk to your bank. When doing so, be sure to make an appointment in person. Yes, it may be embarrassing to show your face at the bank when you owe money, but it is a step that you must take. Speak with the loan officer or even the bank president. Determine what they are willing to accept to keep you in your home. See if alternative payment arrangements can be made. If you do not find success by speaking with your mortgage holder, your first step should involve contacting the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The purpose of HUD is to increase home ownership. They accomplish this goal by fighting discrimination against homeowners and by working to keep housing affordable. HUD is often considered the starting point for seeking help or avoiding foreclosure altogether. They will point you in the right direction. As for which direction you will be pointed in, it depends. For starters, the state in which you reside in may have an impact on the professional assistance received. Each state has trained housing counselors that are knowledgeable on the laws, rules, and restrictions concerning foreclosure in their assigned state. Foreclosure counseling is usually offered for an affordable fee or free of charge. Due to the high rate of foreclosure scams, it is recommended that you only speak with a HUD approved housing counselor. There is also special assistance for veterans. This includes active service members. The VA Loan Guaranty Program is designed to help eligible men and women buy homes. However, they are occasionally known to provide assistance to those facing foreclosure. There are also times when legal representation or legal advice is recommended. Have you made payments that put your mortgage in good standing, but are still facing foreclosure? Are you not a homeowner, but a renter who is being threatened with eviction? If so, it is imperative that you seek legal advised. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can connect you with affordable or pro bono lawyers in your area, namely those with a specialty in housing or foreclosures. There is also the option of filing a complaint with your state's Department of Consumer Affairs. This should be done if you feel as if you are being scammed or given the runaround. Do you suspect that your mortgage holder isn't as reliable and dependable as they look? Have you fallen for a foreclosure scam? If so, file a complaint. As you can see, there are numerous places that you can turn to seek professional foreclosure help and assistance. As a reminder, the best way to get started is with HUD.
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