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Friday, June 24, 2011
CCCS of Greater Dallas Shares Foreclosure Prevention Tips During National Homeownership Month
Nonprofit agency offers free webinars throughout June
Dallas - June 24, 2011 - Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas (CCCS of Greater Dallas), a nonprofit provider of financial education and a HUD-accredited counseling agency, is offering free foreclosure prevention education throughout National Homeownership Month in June. The agency is presenting webinars and in-person seminars focused on foreclosure several times throughout the month.
Don't delay. Take action immediately and work directly with the lender.
"We know many families still are still working to recover from job loss or other financial crisis," said Todd Mark, vice president of education for CCCS of Greater Dallas. "For some, it may seem there is no way to avoid foreclosure, but there are options to save their homes, especially with changing laws and lenders who are more willing to work with consumers."
As one of the seven counseling agencies on the national Homeowner's HOPE Hotline (888-995-HOPE) that provides free 24-hour bilingual, urgent housing counseling to consumers facing foreclosure, CCCS of Greater Dallas counsels hundreds of consumers daily on the options that are available.
"We find that, far too often, homeowners have not taken the necessary steps and contacted their lenders to discuss available options," Mark said. "Our certified housing counselors can educate consumers on all available options and will even join the consumer on a conference call to discuss these options with the lender."
In addition to attending its free webinar, "How to Avoid Foreclosure," CCCS of Greater Dallas recommends taking the following steps if faced with mortgage delinquency or foreclosure:
Talk to a housing counselor to understand your options and help evaluate what is the best solution for the long run. Counselors like CCCS of Greater Dallas are objective. Most callers' goals are to keep their homes, and CCCS counselors highlight all of the options to do so, but if it isn't in the homeowners' best interest to keep their homes, CCCS counselors will discuss other options to provide their softest landing in avoiding foreclosure.
Contact the national Homeowner's HOPE Hotline 888-995-HOPE. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide free, completely confidential counseling in English or Spanish.
Visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov to find out if you qualify for refinancing or modification through the Obama Administration's Home Affordable Refinance Program, which gives homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac an opportunity to refinance into more affordable monthly payments.
In addition to the recommended steps above, CCCS of Greater Dallas encourages consumers to become familiar with the following options for saving one's home:
Loan Modification - When one or multiple terms of the mortgage change. This could be as simple as taking the delinquent amount and tacking it on to the back of the mortgage, changing the interest rate or changing an ARM to a fixed rate mortgage. It's similar to refinancing but without credit requirements or the high cost of refinancing.
Forbearance - Allows the reduction or suspension of a homeowner's monthly payments for a specific period of time. Typically done in conjunction with another workout option, such as a repayment plan or loan modification.
Repayment Plan - Currently the second most common option. It involves taking a delinquency and creating a repayment plan so it can be paid over a period of time from three to 18 months.
Reinstatement - When someone previously did not have the ability to pay their mortgage, but now has the ability to bring their loan current at once. This ability could come from a secondary loan, money from friends, etc.
Partial Reinstatement - When a portion of the delinquency can be paid at one time and the rest would be taken care of through a repayment plan or loan modification.
Partial Claim or Advanced Claim - The ability to pay the delinquency through the support by an insurance claim through FHA or a mortgage insurance provider.
Refinancing - This is a way to lower the payment, if you have a favorable credit score or savings in cash.
Unfortunately, it sometimes may not be in the consumer's best interest to keep the home. If so, there are still opportunities to soften the blow and avoid foreclosure.
Sell the House - Put your house on market and try to sell it. Some lenders may give you an extension if there is documentation that the house has been listed.
Short Sale or Short Pay-off - Where the lender writes off the owed balance if it is sold for a smaller amount. For example, if you get $130K for your house when you owe $150K, the lender may agree to accept the $130K and not pursue a deficiency judgment against you.
Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure - Voluntarily giving the house back to the lender and avoiding the legal process of foreclosure. This negotiation requires turning the house over in pristine condition. Also, there can be no second lien against the home such as in the case of an 80/20 loan.
Assumption - When someone takes over the existing loans and makes the same payments.
Filing Bankruptcy - While this is the very last option and does not stop foreclosure permanently, it provides an injunction known as an automatic stay. It does not mean you can keep the house, but halts all collection proceedings and buys you more time so you can come up with a workout option with your lender or to sell the house.
"The absolute worst thing one can do is ignore notices from the lender and avoid communication," Mark said. "Our administration and lenders are offering many options to lessen the impact of the housing crisis. It is our priority to do all we can to educate consumers on these options."
For more information on foreclosure prevention or to inquire about free workshops available to consumers, corporations and nonprofit organizations, contact CCCS of Greater Dallas at 800-249-2227 or visit www.cccs.net.
About CCCS of Greater Dallas
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, Inc. is a nonprofit, community based credit counseling and debt management service. Established in 1974, CCCS of Greater Dallas and its affiliate offices provide financial education and counseling to consumers in-person, by phone, or Internet at more than 20 locations in four states. CCCS of Greater Dallas is a HUD-approved housing counseling multi-state organization and serves as one of seven counseling agencies supporting the 888-995-HOPE Hotline. The agency is also a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the nation's largest and longest serving national non-profit credit counseling network. To learn more about CCCS of Greater Dallas' free seminars or the agency's services, visit www.cccs.net or become a fan of CCCS of Greater Dallas on Facebook to receive updates on agency events and offerings.