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Financial Alternatives to Foreclosure: How to Keep Your Home

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Too Good to Be True: 4 Signs of a Foreclosure Rescue Scam

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Foreclosure Prevention Tips

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Foreclosure Prevention Tips

Are you or a loved one struggling to make mortgage payments? You’re not alone. Foreclosures have increased significantly due to the mortgage crisis.



The good news? There is hope. In addition to the financial alternatives to foreclosure, here are some proactive steps you can take to help you keep your home:

Take action. One of the biggest mistakes is waiting to take action until it’s too late. Many people fear that speaking with their mortgage company will expedite the foreclosure process. That theory is false. Much like homeowners, most mortgage lenders want to avoid the foreclosure process, as it’s expensive and extremely time consuming for them. Click here  to familiarize yourself with some of the financial alternatives to foreclosure.

Keep the lines of communication open. Don’t ignore letters or phone calls from your lender. If you’re having trouble making payments, call or write to your lender ASAP. Explain your financial troubles and let them assess the situation – they may have options for you to keep up-to-date on your mortgage payments.

Seek advice from a trusted professional. Sure, you can get advice from friends and family, but speaking with a HUD-certified counselor who can review your financials may be in your best interest. They’ll consider your monthly budget, your mortgage and even help you get in touch with your lender. To make the most out of your session, have the following documents and information on-hand:
•    Paycheck stubs
•    W-2 forms
•    Social security payment records
•    Alimony records
•    Child support records
•    Mortgage/rent statement
•    Utility statement
•    Transportation expense statement
•    Other household expense statement
•    Current credit card, student loan, auto loan statements
•    Records regarding loans against your 401K

Watch out for foreclosure rescue scams. While you are looking for help, beware of scam artists preying on vulnerable homeowners. How will you know if what you’re being offered is too good to be true? You don't need to pay a fee in exchange for counseling or modification of a delinquent loan. In addition, be wary of anyone who tells you NOT to contact your lender, lawyer or housing counselor. Many scam artists will use lines like “let us take your mortgage off your hands” and try to buy your house for a deep discount. Click here  to view more signs of a foreclosure rescue scam.

Every situation is unique, but remember there is help out there. Resources like AARP Foundation’s Housing Solutions Center are great resources for 50+ at-risk homeowners to learn how to avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes. Take advantage of these resources and remember, don’t wait until you’re in dire straights to ask for help.


Sources:
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/avoiding_foreclosure/foreclosuretips
http://housingsolutionscenter.aarp.org/prepare.html

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