As foreclosure numbers continue to rise, you might be one of the many homeowners worried about losing your home. The truth is, foreclosure can be prevented, however, most homeowners are too confused or afraid to confront their mortgage problems and, therefore, neglect taking the necessary steps to potentially save their homes. As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have helped put many financially-challenged clients on the path toward avoiding foreclosure. The first and biggest step is always overcoming their fears.
Here are six of the most common foreclosure fears the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (www.cccsinc.org
) encounters, along with the steps homeowners can take to overcome them and start taking action to save their homes.
Fear: Homeowners are afraid to let the mortgage company know they are having a problem because they think it will speed up the foreclosure process.
Contacting your lender must be the first step as it gives you a chance to explain why you have fallen behind on your payments and what steps you are taking to get back on track. Most lenders have a financial interest in keeping you in your home and may be willing to alter the terms of your loan or devise a repayment plan.
Fear: Homeowners believe that if their mortgage company has already turned them down for a loan modification, there is no point in contacting a counseling agency.
Many homeowners are turned down for a loan modification because the information they provide to their lender indicates that their expenses exceed their income or that they have not provided accurate documentation and information about their loan. A housing counselor may be able to suggest alternatives that better suit your current financial situation or help you make adjustments that make you a better candidate for a loan modification with your lender.
Fear: Homeowners fear being judged by others for seeking help.
These are challenging financial times. While it may feel like you are the only one struggling, the reality is that many of your friends and neighbors are also finding it difficult to stay afloat.
Fear: Homeowners think it is better to use all of their financial resources before seeking help.
Many homeowners try to ride out the financial storm, using their savings and depleting their retirement accounts before seeking help. By the time they do seek help, they are in an even more desperate financial situation and they have spent the resources that may have given them more options in dealing with their mortgage crisis.
Fear: Homeowners facing foreclosure fear that their situation is hopeless.
While for some, seeking help may mean saving their home, it is inevitable that some homeowners will end up in foreclosure. A certified housing counselor or real estate professional can help homeowners work through the foreclosure and build a new path for long-term financial success.
Fear: Companies claiming they can save your home charge large, up-front fees.
You can receive counseling from a reputable, nonprofit housing counseling agency at no charge. While there are unscrupulous businesses looking to take advantage of homeowners, there are also many HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that offer help for struggling consumers.
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