Foreclosure is quickly becoming a nationwide epidemic that will affect each and every one of us before it’s cured. The only solution to this problem is for everyone to pitch in and fix the problem before it’s out of control. Many of the lenders and servicing companies have taken measures to ease their own suffering, but it seems most would rather delay things, than actually fix them. Maybe they’re under the assumption that the homeowner will come up with their own solution if they give them enough time. This just isn’t the case; it’s the American way to procrastinate, so don’t expect foreclosure victims to act any different. I personally help 100’s of people save their home each year and I know for a fact that 90% wait until the absolute last minute before they seriously try to stop the foreclosure. Most just do research on the internet and talk to companies who might be able to help, but they don’t take action until they are weeks, or days away from losing their home. Of course, the servicing companies don’t help much, because they don’t even offer support until someone is 3 payments behind. They weren’t prepared for this either; they are so overwhelmed with people in foreclosure, that they don’t have time for those who are still months away. It’s too bad, too, because for many of these people, a simple refinance into a fixed rate loan would solve the problem.
Lenders and servicing companies need to be more proactive and offer solutions before it’s too late. If a homeowner can’t make payments at 10%, but they can at 8%, then why wouldn’t the lender want to offer a fixed rate refinance or modification into a more affordable rate? Instead, they are opting to lose 20-30% on a mortgage that could have easily been profitable. Lenders can make a simple change in there system and eliminate many of these foreclosures before they happen. Homeowners need to make changes as well. Obviously it’s easy to blame lenders for these problems, but most homeowners knew what they were getting into and just made poor spending decisions. Consumers need to be educated on the mortgages and they need to be made aware of how easily a hardship or depreciation can cause a foreclosure. Spending habits need to be adjusted and homeowners need to be more aware of what is happening with their credit.
By continuing to foreclose on properties, rather than offering solutions, lenders are forcing lower credit scores and taking more and more borrowers out of the market for new homes and mortgages. This not only affects our real estate market, it affects our overall economy by removing millions of consumers from the retail market. Many mortgage brokers or real estate agents need new jobs and others are just barely scrapping by. Not to mention all the foreclosure victims who are no longer creditworthy. Certainly this does open up new revenue streams for other business that profit from these hardships, but overall, I think we can all agree that society is much better off without foreclosure.
I’ve seen many clients who use their life savings trying to pay the mortgage on a home they can no longer afford, because of an adjustable rate mortgage. In the past these home could just be sold and the owner could walk away, but now they are upside down from a 100% mortgage and a market that seems to be getting worse every day. Our company is generally successful helping victims refinance or sell, but we also work with lenders to help them establish a loan modification or workout program to keep them in the existing loan. Once we get involved, lenders are very cooperative, but only a small portion of foreclosure victims actually find us before it’s too late. Lenders and servicing companies need to work with their clients without the need for professionals to get involved. Unfortunately, these lenders are suffering too, so they are forced to hire low cost customer service reps that are overworked and underpaid. This creates a whole new problem; the customer service rep doesn’t care if the loan is profitable or not. They only want to make it through the day and eliminate as many cases as possible, with the least amount of work. They seem to love it when we contact them on behalf of a client, because they know we are going to do most of their work for them. Maybe this is why we are so successful, but still, homeowners shouldn’t be forced to hire someone to speak with their lender on their behalf.
If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure, then I recommend contacting your lender first and finding out what options they have available. If they are not helpful, or don’t offer any viable solutions, then you need to immediately contact a professional who can help you either find a new lender or make arrangements with your existing lender to begin a loan modification. Companies like mine, who offer all of these services from one source are your best options, because you will not be “sold” on one solution, you will be evaluated and provided with all possible options to stop foreclosure. Ultimately, you need to find a company or person that has experience and is someone you can trust, so feel free to interview companies until you find someone who fits your exact needs. Just be careful, because many of the companies offering foreclosure help do not have experience and should not be trusted.
Eventually lenders and servicers will figure out that it’s more profitable to offer viable solutions, but for now, if you are a homeowner, you better plan on helping yourself out of foreclosure or finding someone to do it for you.