** HOW TO AVOID FORECLOSURE **
If you're in danger of falling behind on your mortgage or already have missed payments, you still might be able to avoid foreclosure.
First, contact your lender, as well as a nonprofit homeownership counseling group, to help you navigate a variety of options. Most lenders begin foreclosure only when all else fails. Their ability to help declines with each missed payment. After contacting a lender, follow up for help with a letter seeking specific relief and include any documentation needed.
Keep a phone log of all calls made to and received from the lender. Include the time of the call, the person you spoke with and results of the conversation. Be sure to meet any deadline given to you by the lender.
OPTIONS FOR BORROWERS
Lenders may offer one of the following options to borrowers who are behind in their payments:
Repayment plan: A written agree- ment between the borrower and lender to help you make up missed payments, generally requiring paying something toward the amount in arrears plus the normal mortgage payment.
Modification: Changing terms of a mortgage, including lowering the interest rate, extending the loan term, changing the type of mortgage.
Forbearance: A period without having to make payments, typically three to six months. That amount must be made up on future payments.
Refinance: Not usually an option if seriously delinquent. If current, however, and there is equity in the property, this might be an option.
Second mortgage (equity loan): Possible even if you are seriously delinquent if there is enough equity in your home. Not generally feasible when you are having trouble making first-mortgage payments.
Bankruptcy: Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you save your home from foreclosure if all other options have failed. You will need to consult a bankruptcy attorney.
WHERE TO GET HELP HOPE NOW
This is an alliance of counselors, lenders, loan servicers and others offering to help homeowners stay in their homes. Call (888) 995-HOPE (4673) to reach HUD-approved credit counselors who can guide you through possible options, including loan modifications or repayment plans. Counseling services provided through the HOPE hot line are free.
The following Web sites offer information about financial education, mortgage terminology, free services available to the homeowner, free counseling and outreach events.
Fannie Mae: www.fanniemae.com
Freddie Mac: www.freddiemac.com/corporate/buying_and_owning.html
Home Loan Learning Center: www.homeloanlearningcenter.com
Homeownership Preservation Foundation: www.995hope.org
NeighborWorks America: www.nw.org/network/home.asp
FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION
The FHASecure program gives homeowners with non-FHA adjustable rate mortgages, regardless of the loan's status, the ability to refinance into an FHA-insured mortgage. With FHASecure, the lender will not automatically disqualify you because you are delinquent on your loan, and the lender may offer you a second mortgage to make up the difference between the value of your property and what you owe.
Contact the following HUD-approved housing counseling agencies for help:
California Rural Legal Assistance: Santa Rosa, 528-9941
Catholic Charities housing and foreclosure counseling: Santa Rosa, 575-0215
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco: (800) 777-7526