Tired of the Foreclosure Threat?

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1 Y o u r R e a l E s t a t e S t r e s s R e l i e f Tired of the Foreclosure Threat? Learn about the 6 options available to you when you are facing foreclosure Loan Modification Foreclosure Prevention Homeowners Guide Short Sale Forbearance Owner Finance Bankruptcy Deed in Lieu Legal Disclosure Notice The information in this document is NOT legal advice or intended to be a substitute for legal advice. It is for informational purposes only. Please seek the assistance of a qualified legal professional for guidance with regard to issues specific to your situation and to the laws of the state of Texas and the county and city where you reside Copyright Protected 2011 Oyezz Corp

2 Option #1: Loan Modification 1. Allows you to keep the home 2. Reduces the monthly mortgage payment What is a loan modification? Simply put, a loan modification changes the terms of an existing home loan agreement. Typically, the change involves a reduction in the interest rate, the length of the loan, or the type of loan. The goal is a more affordable mortgage payment. A general guideline would be to get the payment as close as possible to approximately 31 percent of the borrower s gross income. Eligibility for a loan modification? A loan modification is for someone facing financial hardship and is having difficulty making their mortgage payments; however, they must have enough income to keep up with bills and a modified reduced mortgage payment. The financial difficulty could be due to a decrease in monthly income. This could have been caused by loss of employment, reduced work hours, divorce, a sudden medical disability, or other reasons. One of the most important criteria for a loan modification is that you will be required to have sufficient income coming in every month and you must be able to afford the modified monthly payment. To be eligible for a loan modification, you must prove financial hardship to your lender. You must show why you are facing a financial difficulty which usually requires submitting a financial statement, copies of pay stubs, bank statements, and your tax returns. Why would a lender modify my loan? A lender might be open to modifying a loan because their cost of doing so would be less than the costs for default and foreclosure. How do you get a loan modification? The first step is call your lender, the company where you make the mortgage payment and ask to talk about a loan modification. Honestly state your situation and request a loan modification. They will assess your situation and request necessary documents to determine whether you qualify for a loan modification. A loan modification will be a long, drawn-out process that may become frustrating. It is important to: Hiring a loan modification company or attorney: If you hire a company or an attorney to process the loan modification for you, watch out for companies, individuals, and attorneys who are not experienced, do a poor job, or are a scam. Get referrals and check out their track record before you hire them. Also, you should only pay when the loan modification is complete. If you are required to pay upfront, this is a red flag. Must be behind on payments: Some lenders require you to be delinquent before they will process a loan modification. If you miss payments and the loan modification is denied, you will have to catch up on the missed payments plus interest and penalties. Keep your cool; do not get angry or raise your voice at the bank representatives. Keep detailed notes on names, dates, times, and content of all conversations. Keep copies of everything you send or fax to the lender. Record the dates and time sent. Follow-up consistently, calling the lender every couple days about the status and progress. Even if the lender suggests not calling for two weeks, call every couple of days anyway. Your notes and records will be useful if the lender gives you the run around. The consistent follow-up will keep your application from being put on the back burner. In addition, the documentation may come in handy later if you are faced with foreclosure. 2

3 Option #2: Short Sale 1. Sell the house 2. Walk away with no debt / no judgment 3. No foreclosure 4. Less impact on your credit report What is a short sale? A short sale is the sale of the house and the proceeds of the sale are used to pay off the mortgage(s) in full, even though the proceeds are less than the amount owed. Both you and your lender consent to the short sale because it avoids foreclosure. For the lender, a foreclosure involves hefty costs. For you it avoids major damage to your credit report. When a short sale is done correctly, it releases the borrower from the obligation to pay the remaining balance of the loan. Most lenders are willing to accept a short sale, although a few smaller lenders will not. Who is eligible for a short sale? A homeowner who is upside down (owes more than the house is worth) and cannot afford the mortgage payment due to financial distress, is eligible for a short sale. The financial distress can be due to: Loss of job / unemployment Loss of income / reduced wages or less hours Divorce Relocation outside of the area Medical problems high medical bills Would a lender agree to a short sale? The bottom line is a short sale reduces the loss for the bank. A lender will agree to a short sale to minimize their losses. If a lender forecloses on a house they have significant costs; legal fees to foreclose, cost of selling the house, taxes, utilities, yard maintenance and fix up costs, just to name a few. A short sale avoids all those costs for the bank. In addition, the house is not left vacant for many months and susceptible to vandalism and neglected upkeep. Banks are also penalized by government regulators for non-performing loans. Therefore, they will consider a short sale to avoid a bad loan on their books and having to take another house into their inventory. Scams and con artists: When someone is under financial stress, they are much more vulnerable to becoming a victim of fraud. Look past the smooth talk and appealing promises and thoroughly research the people and companies you choose to help you with a short sale. Inexperienced realtors: Short sales are extremely popular now so many realtors are jumping on the bandwagon. Sadly, more than half of all short sales do not close and the number one reason is poor practices by the real estate agent. Short sales are very complex so you must select an agent that has extensive short sale experience. Just because an agent took a class or has been involved in a couple of short sales does not fully qualify him or her in this type of transaction. What does a short sale cost me? A short sale should cost you nothing. The closing costs to sell the house come out of the proceeds of the sale, your lender will pay the real estate agent s commission, and the bank absorbs the loss. If you are being asked to pay for a short sale, something is wrong. How does someone do a short sale? The first step is find a real estate agent experienced in short sales. A good agent will explain the process to you, handle all the paperwork, negotiations, and coordinate the short sale. You should also call your bank and tell them you are selling the house in a short sale. You can expect the following: Paperwork: Your agent should complete the paperwork for you. You will have to sign quite a few documents. Make sure you read and understand the documents you are signing. Showings: Potential buyers coming to see the house can be disruptive and inconvenient; but, it is necessary. Time: It generally takes three to four months to complete a short sale. During this time, you are encouraged to continue living in the house. Closing: When closing arrives, you are officially selling the house so you will have to move out prior to the closing date. 3

4 Option #3: Forbearance Agreement 1. Allows you to keep the home 2. Hardship must be temporary 3. Avoids a foreclosure What is a forbearance agreement? Forbearance is an agreement to temporarily postpone or reduce mortgage payments for a specific time period. When the forbearance expires, the missed payment amounts are added to the principal balance of the loan. The lender agrees not to foreclose or accelerate payments during the forbearance period and the borrower agrees to a payment plan that will, over a specific period of time, bring the loan current. After the forbearance expires, the borrower must have the income to make the normal payment plus an additional amount to get the loan caught up. For example: If your normal mortgage payment is $1,000 a month and four months of payments were missed, the forbearance agreement may require you to make a $1,500 monthly payment (normal $1,000 a month payment plus an additional $500) until the account has been brought current. Forbearance agreement eligibility? A forbearance agreement is not a solution for borrowers with longterm financial difficulties. It is for borrowers who have short-term temporary financial problems caused by a temporary reduction in income, unemployment where a new job at your original income is highly likely, or any health problems that will be overcome. The borrower must be able to show sufficient income to make higher payments after the financial difficulty is over. Generally, forbearance is only possible if your regular payment amount is less than 30 percent of your monthly take-home pay. Make sure that you carefully read the forbearance agreement you receive from the lender. If you re unsure about any part of it, consult with the lender or an attorney. Some lenders will try to sneak in additional terms and conditions that may cause you difficulty. Before you agree to forbearance, you must be certain your income will return to the level it was previously. Many people have lost jobs and have been forced to take new jobs at a lower salary. You don t want to negotiate a forbearance agreement and then default on it. Why would a lender agree to a forbearance agreement? A lender might be open to a forbearance agreement to keep a good customer that has a temporary financial problem. It also avoids default and the cost of foreclosure. How does someone get a forbearance agreement? The first step is to assess the current and future financial situation. You must have a clear and sound financial plan to insure you will have sufficient income to make higher payments at the end of the forbearance. The second step is call your lender, the company where you make the mortgage payment, and ask about a forbearance agreement. Ask for the loss mitigation department, as customer service representatives or a collections agent won t be able to help you. State your situation and request a forbearance agreement. They will assess your situation and request necessary paperwork to determine whether you qualify.. 4

5 1. Sell the house 2. Avoid a foreclosure 3. Buyer makes the mortgage payment for you What is owner financing? Option #4: Owner Finance Sale Owner finance is where you sell the house, the buyer takes ownership (title) of the house, and you finance the purchase. You would leave your existing mortgage in place. This is also known as Subject-To. Essentially you act like a bank or a mortgage company. You no longer own the house; however, you hold a note on the house. The buyer promises to make monthly payments to you and you would in turn use that money to make the monthly payments to the existing mortgage. The benefit of owner financing is you may get a much higher price for the house. In some cases you can sell the house for the amount owed or more than the market value. Who is eligible for owner financing? Anyone is eligible to sell their house in an owner finance arrangement. Any buyer is eligible to purchase an owner financed house. However, the risks are very high. Most buyers that are looking for owner financed houses are doing so because they are not able to get financing through traditional lenders, banks, or mortgage brokers. There is often a good reason a lender will not give them a mortgage, so you would be selling your house to a high risk buyer. Of all your home sale options, this one has the highest risk, so there are many things to watch out for. Default by the buyer is a very high risk. Remember, in most cases the buyer could not get a traditional mortgage because the lenders saw them as risky. If the buyer defaults, you are still liable for the original mortgage payments. High transaction costs: At a minimum, the buyer s down payment needs cover all the closing costs, fees, commissions, plus any past due payments and penalties on the existing mortgage. These add up quickly so make sure you consider all the costs. Scams and cons: This type of transaction has the potential to bring in scams and con artists. You must be very diligent in selecting the buyer, agent, and attorney. How do you owner finance? The sale of the house can be done yourself, For Sale by Owner, or you can use a real estate agent. Many real estate agents will not take on an owner financed house because of the risks involved. If you hire a real estate agent, explain the situation and tell them you want to sell it owner financed and you want to leave the existing mortgage in place. You will also have to pay a commission, so the buyer s down payment must be sufficient to cover all the closing costs. This transaction is very complicated. You need an experienced attorney to help you create the necessary paper work. Why would my lender allow me to leave the mortgage in place after I sell the house? Frankly, most lenders do not allow this type of transaction. Most mortgage agreements contain a due on sale clause. This stipulates if you sell the house, the balance of the mortgage is due immediately. However, many individuals ignore this and sell the house with owner financing anyway. They assume the lender will not take action. If the mortgage payments are being made, the lender may chose to turn a blind eye toward the transaction. You should inform the mortgage company that you are selling the house and will be leaving the existing mortgage in place. 5

6 Option #5: Bankruptcy 1. May or may not allow you to keep the home 2. If you keep the house, the mortgage will stay in place 3. Wipes out or restructures other debt What is bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is the process in which a homeowner can eliminate or change the amount of their debts. This process is under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court. Most, but not all, bankruptcies fall under two types; liquidation and reorganization. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the liquidation type since you may have to sell ("liquidate") some of your belongings to pay back all or a portion of your debt. In return, most or all of your unsecured debts will be erased. There are some items you may keep that are protected ( exempt items") under state law. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the reorganization type. In Chapter 13 you keep all of your property, but you must make monthly payments over three to five years to repay all or some of your debt. For chapter 13, you must have a reliable source of income that you can use to repay some portion of your debt. How does bankruptcy affect my mortgage? Bankruptcy can temporarily stop a foreclosure; however, a lender can petition to have the house removed from bankruptcy and proceed with the foreclosure. Bankruptcy can also wipe out your mortgage and protect you from a judgment; however, you will not be able to keep the house and most likely you will have both a bankruptcy and a foreclosure on your credit report. Bankruptcy and short sales can be used together. This will avoid the foreclosure on your credit report. A bankruptcy attorney will help determine the best course of action for you. Who is eligible for bankruptcy? The type of bankruptcy you can use depends on your income and debt. For example, if your income is sufficient to fund a Chapter 13 repayment plan (after subtracting certain expenses and bills) you won't be allowed to use Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A bankruptcy attorney will help determine what is best for your situation. HOW DOES SOMEONE FILE BANKRUPTCY? The first step is finding a reputable bankruptcy attorney. Select a lawyer with whom you are comfortable and will answer your questions in a way you fully understand. The lawyer should specialize in bankruptcy or focus a large part of his/her practice in that field. You should ask questions until you understand everything about bankruptcy and your options. Don't be afraid to interview a lawyer and if your not comfortable leave without retaining that lawyer. While you can find a lawyer online or in the Yellow Pages, a good way is by referral from those who are more familiar with bankruptcy attorneys. If you know an attorney, he or she might be able to make a recommendation. 6

7 Option #6: Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure 1. Give the house to the bank 2. Stop making mortgage payments What is a deed in lieu? A Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure is a document in which the borrower gives the property to the lender. In return, the loan is satisfied and foreclosure proceedings are avoided. The principal advantage of the Deed in Lieu for the borrower is that it releases him/her from the personal indebtedness associated with the mortgage. This also avoids the public notoriety of a foreclosure proceeding. The advantage to a lender is a reduction in the time and cost of a foreclosure and subsequent repossession. Read the documents carefully - Make sure that you carefully read the Deed in Lieu. If you re unsure about any part of it, consult with the lender or an attorney. Some lenders will try to sneak in additional terms and conditions that may cause you difficulty. The lender may report the Deed in Lieu as a foreclosure to the credit reporting agencies. Who is eligible for a deed in lieu? There is no clear-cut answer because each lender and situation is different. In our experience most lenders refuse a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. The biggest challenge of giving a Deed in Lieu to the lender is that very often the bank refuses to accept the Deed in Lieu to avoid legal entrapments. If there are other mortgages, judgments, or liens on the property and the bank accepts the Deed in Lieu, the bank becomes liable for these. On the other hand, if a foreclosure is used, subordinate mortgages, judgments, and liens are wiped out. In some cases, your lender may agree to accept the Deed in Lieu from you; however, more often than not there are reasons your lender will not agree to accept it. How does someone utilize a Deed in Lieu? The first step is call your lender, the company where you make the mortgage payment, and ask to talk to someone about a Deed in Lieu. Clearly state your situation and request they accept a Deed in Lieu. They will assess your situation and determine if they will accept it. If they accept it, you will have to move out of the house. 7

8 Doing Nothing is NOT an Option Why avoid a foreclosure? The obvious answer is a foreclosure will stain your credit report. It will make getting a mortgage in the future very difficult. However, it can also hurt you in many more ways. These can be: Difficulties renting an apartment or house: Many landlords do credit checks and a foreclosure says you were not making your house payment. This may scare the landlord into not renting to you. Difficulty finding a job: Many companies conduct back ground checks on potential employees. This includes a credit check. A foreclosure could be seen as irresponsibility and deter an employer from hiring you. Higher insurance rate: A foreclosure will cripple your credit score and most insurance companies use your credit score as a factor in determining how much you pay for insurance. You could end up paying unnecessarily higher insurance rates. Judgments: After a foreclosure, you may end up owing the lender for their losses. Denied credit cards / car loans: A foreclosure will hurt your ability to get credits cards or a car loan. BETTER CHOICES It is never a good idea to do nothing and allow a foreclosure. Most foreclosures can be avoided. What to try: Loan Modification or Forbearance If you have sufficient income Short Sale or Deed in Lieu If you can t afford the house Optional but has out of pocket expenses: Bankruptcy (Only if you qualify) Why is doing nothing a bad choice? A foreclosure can be avoided with one or more of the options in this document and it will be better for you and the lender in the long run. Times may be difficult now and the situation may seem hopeless; however, you don t want to make your future even worse with a foreclosure on your credit report. Considering there are other options available, doing nothing is the worst choice. Taking no action when you are facing foreclosure is leaving yourself open to whatever the bank wants to do to you. This includes judgments and other legal actions against you. You absolutely don t want a foreclosure! 8

9 Need more information? Questions? We at Oyezz Real Estate are here to help you! Call us for a free consultation

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