Options for Avoiding Foreclosure

As the headlines tell us, foreclosures continue to plague our communities and our economy at large. According to Lawrence Finn, Jr., CEO Owner/Broker of Coach Real Estate Associates if you are one of the many homeowners struggling financially and confronting the possibility of a foreclosure, however, there are viable options you can pursue before relinquishing your home. "There are options worth pursuing for those facing possible foreclosure," explains Finn, Jr.. "Many banks, for example, offer loan modifications or other programs that can give homeowners a little more breathing room and a chance to get back on their feet." An experienced, professional real estate agent or counselors certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can help you explore available options, says Finn, Jr., including: Forbearance. A forbearance is a temporary suspension of payments sometimes offered if a borrower has lost a job but has a new one starting soon – or because medical bills or another crisis situation has caused a temporary cash shortage. Repayment plan. Repayment plans offer a scheduled blueprint for making up missed payments over time. Loan modification. A loan modification is a change in loan terms for a limited time, as when a subprime interest rate has jumped considerably. Finn, Jr. also advises financially distressed homeowners to be extremely wary of anyone purporting to offer a "quick-fix" solution. According to the Federal Trade Commission, steer clear of anyone who: • Guarantees to stop the foreclosure process • Collects upfront fees • Asks to be paid by wire or cashier's check • Tells you not to contact your lender or lawyer • Wants you to make mortgage payments directly to him/her • Suggests you sign over or "share" your property deed or title • Proposes a lease-and-buyback arrangement • Offers to fill out paperwork for you • Pressures you to sign documents you do not fully understand "Unfortunately, there is a growing contingent of foreclosure scam artists preying on vulnerable homeowners," says Finn, Jr.. "Financially distressed homeowners should consult a real estate professional who can point them in the right direction and offer sound guidance on the potential options that can save their home from foreclosure."

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