What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling

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1 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Who should go to foreclosure prevention counseling? Homeowners who are having, or soon may have, problems with their home ownership costs should seek these services. Why should I go to foreclosure prevention counseling and where do I go? Foreclosure prevention counseling is intended to help homeowners having difficulties with their mortgage payments. Counseling can help you make informed and reasonable decisions regarding your mortgage and other homeownership obligations. Beware of groups and individuals who offer ways to save your house for a fee. Many of these offers are actually foreclosure rescue scams. Foreclosure rescue scams are deals that claim to save your house, but usually result in just the opposite. If you have been approached with such offers, you need to meet with a certified Housing Counseling agency to avoid being scammed.

2 2 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling The Housing Education Resource Center (HERC) is a non-profit Housing Counseling agency Certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HERC has provided housing counseling services for over 30 years in Connecticut and has an established program of foreclosure prevention counseling. The HERC provides foreclosure prevention services to the resident homeowners of Connecticut. A HERC housing counselor will assist you with identifying your financial problem areas, developing an Action Plan to address your mortgage needs, and will provide you with the necessary information, tools, and services to find a workable solution to your mortgage crisis. Homeowners can contact HERC for Foreclosure Prevention Counseling by calling: (860) , extension 107, or by sending an to: to request this service. What will this cost me? There is no charge for this counseling service from the Housing Education Resource Center. HERC is a certified Housing Counseling agency and is supported by federal and state programs. As such, HERC s foreclosure prevention counseling services must be provided for free.

3 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling 3 How do I start receiving foreclosure prevention counseling? The first step is to contact HERC by telephone or and request an intake form for foreclosure prevention counseling. You will be sent an intake form along with a budget sheet and a disclosure form. You must complete all areas of the intake and budget forms and return the forms to HERC. If your returned intake forms are determined to be complete, you will receive an invitation to HERC s next scheduled Foreclosure Prevention Clinic. If your returned intake forms are not complete, you will not be invited to attend HERC s Foreclosure Prevention Clinic. The next step is to attend the group Foreclosure Prevention Clinic. At the Clinic, you will receive an explanation of HERC s foreclosure prevention services, basic information about loss mitigation tools and strategies, budgeting methods, and the legal foreclosure process. Clinic attendees meet individually with a counselor immediately afterwards for a basic assessment and an initial plan of action. If clients are interested in pursuing the recommended course of action, the homeowner will then make an individual appointment with the HERC housing

4 4 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling counselor to review detailed information regarding the client s mortgage loan, financial and credit situations and other related documents. What can a housing counselor do? HERC s Foreclosure Prevention Specialist is a certified HUD housing counselor with extensive training and experience in this field. You will receive assistance from your housing counselor with the preparation and submission of a work-out packet required by your lender. In doing so, your counselor will need detailed financial and other pertinent information and documents from you in a timely manner. You and your counselor will determine which loss mitigation solution would be best for you given your specific situation. Your submitted work-out packet will then be reviewed by your lender. There are various solutions to assist you in avoiding a legal foreclosure action, such as: Forbearance agreements Loan modifications Repayment plans Refinancing programs Government mortgage assistance programs

5 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling 5 Pre-foreclosure sale Short sale Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure In some cases, legal foreclosure action is avoided, but the homeowner still does not keep the home either by choice or not. HERC will provide you with the necessary information during transitional counseling and will assist you with preparing for a graceful exit from your home. What can t a Housing Counselor do? A housing counselor cannot promise to save your house. Whether or not your home can be saved from foreclosure depends upon the individual facts and financial circumstances of your case. There are no guarantees. However, if you work closely with your housing counselor as a team and actively follow your Action Plan, you have a better chance of reaching a positive solution with your lender. If you decide you no longer want to own your house, there are options available to you that would prevent a legal foreclosure action from being taken against you and marring your credit any further. Your counselor will inform you of these options.

6 6 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling What do I bring to foreclosure prevention counseling? Recent pay stubs Complete tax returns with all schedules and W-2 forms; self-employed include Schedule C Profit & Loss statements, if self-employed Recent bank statements Information on debts and obligations (such as credit card debt, utility payments, insurance costs, living expenses) A list of all assets (such as cars, savings accounts, other properties, anything which could be converted to cash) Other documents, as needed Your housing counselor will specify all of the documents required. Will I have to provide personal information at foreclosure prevention counseling? Yes, be prepared to provide your housing counselor with your and any other co-borrower s personal and financial information such as date of birth, social security number, address, income, expenses, mortgage information and more. Your housing counselor needs to have this vital information in order to work with you and your mortgage

7 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling 7 lender/servicer. This information is critical to assessing your mortgage situation and determining a realistic Action Plan. HERC is required by the federal and state government to protect your personal and financial information and maintain client confidentiality. You will be given forms and other disclosure documents to this effect. How long will it take to go through foreclosure prevention counseling and to find a solution to my mortgage problem? The process of foreclosure prevention counseling follows a particular protocol. There is no quick, easy way to deal with a mortgage crisis. Much of the time involved depends upon the homeowner s preparedness, the mortgage lender s review of documents, and the timing of the lender s response. It could take months to get a final response from a mortgage lender/servicer. This is why it is important to be persistent and give the lenders what they require. How can I help to speed up the process? It is extremely important to be organized. Delays in this process are often a result of homeowners who are illprepared for their counseling appointments. All paperwork and documents that will be required from you

8 8 What to Expect at Foreclosure Prevention Counseling must be in order. Scattered and partial pages of documents are not acceptable. In other words, have all of your documents readily available and sort your paperwork in order by date. Also, follow the specific instructions given by your lender and your housing counselor. Timeliness is as important as being organized. But what about my other questions, such as: Can I stay in my home? Will I still owe money to the lender? How will this be reported? Will there be a court judgment against me? The answers to these and other questions you have will depend upon your individual circumstances. Your housing counselor will be able to answer them as your counseling progresses. HERC - Foreclosure Prevention Counseling: Call , extension 107, or send an to request an Intake form to Housing Education Resource Center 901 Wethersfield Ave. Hartford, CT May 2013 Edition

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