Looking Down That Road: Borrowers Need to Know Their Options

For some people, the picture of this highway might represent escape. For others, it could mean taking a new direction. It's important to know how this looks to you, or someone you're helping, because it probably represents the starting point of dealing with a potentially distressed property issue.

The national average is that about 1 in 7 or 1 in 8 homeowners is facing a difficult time with their mortgage. And recent statistics were published from the 4th Quarter U.S. Census data stating that there were 18.4 million vacant homes in the U.S. (11 percent of all housing units vacant all year round). While the breakdown of rentals, foreclosures held off the market, or homes not sold, etc., is not clear, we know that many of those homes used to be occupied by people whose were foreclosed on.
Did you know that many many people allow themselves to go through foreclosure without first checking their options, which include:

  • Reinstatement
  • Forbearance
  • Selling the Property
  • Renting the Property
  • Mortgage Modification
  • Refinance (or even a reverse mortgage in some cases)
  • Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure
  • Bankruptcy
Not all of these may work for you, or your friend or relative, but shouldn't you find out? Many people never take that step of obtaining professional advice--it's difficult to think about because they're already short on funds. But did you know there are free resources to talk with? HUD is one, and believe it or not, there are attorneys and tax advisors who may be willing to give you 15-30 mintues of their time at no charge. And certainly, there are REALTORS who are training and experienced in giving you basic information and guidance, short of stepping outside of their license qualifications, and can direct you to resources. Many people who are letting themselves go into foreclosure are doing so without even trying to obtain their bank's approval for a short sale.

Some of the options above have more long-term impact on credit than others--and foreclosure is one of them--which is why a borrower should take a little time to investigate these terms before travelling down that road.

To find out more about available resources, go to http://www.juliahuntsman.com/distressed-property-resources-short-sales.html and http://hosted.cdpe.com/LongBeachForeclosureResource/Foreclosure-Solutions.aspx

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