Foreclosure is not a fun word yet it is reality that many across the US are facing in these tough economic times.
There are many ways that home owners find themselves in this predicament including job loss, reduction in income, mounting credit card debt, an increase in mortgage payments, a terrible illness, or divorce. There are probably others that I have missed as well.
A home foreclosing doesn't just effect the homeowner directly. It effects you and I and everyone else that lives near the home.
Foreclosures drive down property values! When you are faced with selling your home and you have to compete with the foreclosure down the street that's been marked down in price because the bank has no desire to hold it, you will quickly realize you are part of the epidemic.
There are many home owners that don't know there are other options besides letting their home end up in foreclosure. Some are even too embarrassed to investigate their options.
This is a shame and I would like to help explain some of the things you can do including a short sale or a loan modification.
The short sale and loan modification options would solve the same goal of avoiding a foreclosure but with each providing a different outcome.
The short sale is for those that absolutely need to move and get out from under their debt completely. A loan modification is for those that would really like to remain in their homes but can not do so without assistance.
It is important to remember that banks are not in the business of owning Real Estate in their portfolios and would much rather assist a homeowner than to take ownership of their home.
Here is a break down of how both assistance programs work.
A short sale is a legal lender approved solution designed to assist those home owners who are financially strapped to get out from under their mortgage debt.
A short sale is negotiated through the mortgage holder of an owners home where by the mortgage holder agrees to take less than what home owner owes on the property.
An example of a short sale would be if a home owner owes $500,000 on their current mortgage and their home is only worth $450,000. The lender in this example would agree to take a short fall of $50,000 at closing. In many cases the mortgage holder may completely wipe out the debt and the home owner does not have to repay the 50k.
The home owner benefits in this situation because they get out of a sticky financial mess without going to foreclosure which can seriously damage your credit.
You may be thinking why would a mortgage holder want to allow a short sale? There are a number of reasons, most notably the cost involved for the lender going through a foreclosure proceeding. The mortgage holder when all is said and done can easily spend $40,000-$50,000 going through a foreclosure. This avenue can save the lender money they would otherwise lose. The average loss by a bank is about double when a foreclosure is done instead of a short sale.
Most lenders will work with a short sale option to avoid a costly foreclosure.
As a Realtor representing a seller in a short sale scenario there some issues you need to be aware of. See Ethics in a short sale for an explanation.
When selling your home and you know you are going to be faced with a short sale make sure you choose to work with a good Realtor who has some working knowledge of short sale procedures! A good Real Estate lawyer in your corner who has worked with short sales would also be an important consideration. There are also short sale negotiating companies that work directly with the banks as well. There is a lot that goes into the process of completing a short sale. Having professionals to work with is vital when you are going through a short sale.
If you would like to investigate the short sale process and live in the Metrowest Massachusetts area, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you. I am well versed in the procedures and have been successfully completing short sale closings.
Over the last year working as a Metrowest Massachusetts Realtor, unfortunately I have heard a number of stories about people who have lost their homes that did not realize they had any other options.
What you need to understand is that just because you missed a few mortgage payments does not mean that a bank is not going to want to work with you! There are times in people lives where they can come under financial stress, as mentioned previously.
Banks understand that sometimes a persons problems are not permanent and can turn around quickly. You have all the incentive to try to avoid the foreclosure process at all costs.
With a foreclosure on your record you will not be able to buy a property with conventional loan financing for five years. So if you or someone you know is potentially facing a foreclosure because of falling behind in mortgage payments don't just sit back and let it happen. Reach out to your lender and explain your situation right away and ask for their help.
The 1st thing a lender or bank will want to know is exactly where you stand financially at the moment and what you can afford. Let the mortgage company or bank know your exact situation. Speak to them about your desire to remain in the home and how you can work out a payment plan that will be mutually beneficial.
The bank is going to want to know what has caused you to become financially strapped. You can plan on being asked to put this in writing. This is known as a "hardship letter". In the letter you will be asked to explain the circumstances behind your missed payments and an understanding of why you believe you will be able to continue to make payments under the modified terms.
You will be asked to provide documentation to prove your case. Documents that the bank will ask for most likely will include pay stubs, bank and brokerage accounts, W-2's, income tax returns, and a list of your current expenses including things like insurance, utilities, taxes, food and other typical expenses.
The bank has the option to try to keep you in the home in a number of ways including an extension of the length of the mortgage, the interest rate, or a reduction in principal. It potentially could be some combination of all three. Remember the goal is to keep you in the home and the bank is working with you!
One other option that can help those home owners who are under water where the value of their home is less than the mortgage balance is the new bill put into law in October known as the Home Owner Recovery Act of 2008.(read a complete explanation here) This new bill will allow a qualified home owner with the lenders approval, to refinance their home at 90% of the homes newly appraised value. There is one caveat, however, to this new program. The home owner will be required to share in the future appreciation of the property with the government.
If you live in Massachusetts and need help with a Short Sale please visit Massachusetts Short Sale Realtor
Above all else remember there is help available!
The above information on Foreclosure ~ Avoiding it Through a Short Sale or Loan Modification was provided by Bill Gassett, the team leader for the #4 RE/MAX Team in Massachusetts in 2007. Bill can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 22+ Years. Bill's office is conveniently located in the center of Hopkinton MA at 77 Main Street.
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