Facing Foreclosure?  What to Do First!

    • Contact your lender or servicer immediately if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage or you have received a foreclosure notice. You may be able to negotiate a new repayment schedule. Lenders generally don’t want to foreclose; it costs them money.

    • Contact a credit counselor through the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit organization that operates a national 24/7 toll-free hotline (1.888.995.HOPE) with free, bilingual, personalized assistance to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. HPF is a member of the HOPE NOW Alliance of mortgage servicers, mortgage market participants and counselors. More information about HOPE NOW is at www.995hope.org. Specifically, you should reach out to one of the wonderful nonprofit agencies that provides housing counseling at low or no cost. Click here for a list of housing counselors nationwide. You can search within your state.

    • Get organized.  You will need to keep and provide a number of documents to help your counselor help you keep your home.  According to ABC News, these items include:

Any and all communications from your lender

Foreclosure notices and/or court or sheriff's sale complaints

Your two most recent mortgage statements

Your homeowner's insurance policy if your pay this directly

Two months worth of pay-stubs

Two most recent tax returns for everyone listed on the mortgage

All bank account statements for the previous two 2 months

Proof of any other income (child support, alimony, SSI, disability, rental income, etc.)

It may not be possible to restructure your loan or reduce your payments.  It is possible to get creative and think outside of the box.  Can you work an extra shift for a season at work? Can you pick up extra money with a hobby or a talent by tutoring?  Can you rent a room to someone who needs a place to stay?  Can you downsize to a single vehicle?  If raising your income is impossible, perhaps you need to explore the possiblity of a short sale with your lender. 

Avoiding Foreclosure on Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Mortgaged Properties

FHA-Insured Mortgages

According to CNN, increasingly, FHA-insured loans are falling into foreclosure or serious delinquency, moving in the opposite direction ofloans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or those held by banks,which are all showing signs of improvement.  Last year in 2012, the share of government-guaranteed loans, a majority of which are backed by FHA, that were 90 days or more delinquent soared nearly 27% during the year ending March 31.Foreclosures jumped nearly 17%, according to a report published recently by federal regulators.  The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said FHA has also had a tougher time successfully modifying loans. More than 48% of government-guaranteed mortgages re-defaulted 12 months after modification, compared to 36.2% of loans overall.

Help is available for homeowners facing foreclosure that have mortgages backed by FHA.  The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is working aggressively to halt and reverse the losses represented by foreclosure. Through its National Servicing Center (NSC), FHA offers a number of various loss mitigation programs and informational resources to assist FHA-insured homeowners and home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) borrowers facing financial hardship or unemployment and whose mortgage is either in default or at risk of default.

  • Click Here to log onto the NSC Loss Mitigation Programs home page.
  • Click Here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about FHA’s loss mitigation programs.


FHA staff are available to help answer your questions and assist you to better understand your options as an FHA borrower under these loss mitigation programs. There are several ways you can contact FHA for more information, including:

  • Call the NSC at (877) 622-8525
  • Call the FHA Outreach Center at 1-800-CALL FHA (800-225-5342)
  • Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • The Online FHA Resource Center
Wordle: mortgage

Beware of Mortgage Relief Scams!

With the rise of foreclosures, sellers are facing a rise in mortgage relief scams.  Sellers should be very cautious in proceeding with mortgage relief. 

The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule makes it illegal for companies to collect any fees until a homeowner has actually received an offer of relief from his or her lender and accepted it. That means even if you agree to have a company help you, you don't have to pay until it gets you the result you want.

The Federal Trade Commission has a myriad of help for homeowners who are facing foreclosure here. I have worked in real estate since 1992, and I've seen a lot of mortgage lenders come and go.  Thankfully, those who are not ethical generally do not last long.  Unfortunately, for those they affect while they are in business, they can really make selling your property a hassle.  I can direct you to local, ethical lenders and attorneys that can help you through the difficult process of foreclosure. 

According to the FTC, you can save yourself money and more heartache by avoiding any business that:

  • guarantees to stop the foreclosure process – no matter what your circumstances
  • advises you not to contact your lender, lawyer, or credit or housing counselor
  • collects a fee before providing any services
  • accepts payment only by cashier’s check or wire transfer
  • encourages you to lease your home so you can buy it back over time
  • tells you to make your mortgage payments directly to it, rather than to your lender
  • advises you to transfer your property deed or title to it
  • offers to buy your house for cash at a fixed price that is not set by the housing market at the time of sale
  • offers to fill out paperwork for you
  • pressures you to sign papers you haven’t had a chance to read thoroughly or that you don’t understand.

Don't fall prey to mortgage relief scams!  Arm yourself with information and ethical advice early in the process - preferrably before you have fallen behind in your payments.  Be proactive in the process.  You can minimize the damage, and perhaps even save your home if you take key steps early on.  Let me help you by directing you to people who can help - not who will prey on your situation.


"Thanks for everything including our housewarming gift!" –Rick & Maria

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Sandcastle Dreams Realty
211 Chateaugay Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
Phone: 850-240-4669 Website: www.sandcastledreaming.com