REALTORS Guide to FORECLOSURE RESOURCES

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1 REALTORS Guide to FORECLOSURE RESOURCES

2 Federal & State Programs That May Help Those Facing Foreclosure Making Home Affordable Program Designed to assist families who may face foreclosure, the federal Making Home Affordable Program was launched in March, Program options for homeowners are dependent on certain qualifications of both the homeowner and the particular loan product. Here are the key elements of the Program: 1. The Home Affordable Refinance Program. Under this program, eligible borrowers may refinance loans that Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac own or guarantee. The program can help homeowners who are current in making loan payments and have loan-to-value ratios (LTVs) above 80 percent but not more than 125 percent. This program could help owners avoid future increases in monthly payments. This program ends in June, The Home Affordable Modification Program. This program is limited to homeowners who are at risk of default or already in default, and who have loans at or below the maximum GSE conforming loan limit ($417,000 in Illinois). The program makes use of incentives for lenders/servicers to share the cost of reducing mortgage payments from 38 percent of gross monthly income to 31 percent. Loan modifications under this program may be made until December, The easiest way for borrowers to find out if they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan is to go to and click on loan look up. Also, the Making Home Affordable web site has a questionnaire that analyzes whether a homeowner is eligible for loan modification or refinancing and points them toward the next steps. Other elements of the Making Home Affordable Program include: Foreclosure Alternatives Program. This program will provide incentives for servicers and borrowers to pursue short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure in cases where the borrower is generally eligible for a Making Home Affordable modification but does not qualify or is unable to complete the process. The short sale process will be streamlined with standardized documentation, cash incentives to lenders, and a moving allowance payment to borrowers. Eligible homeowners can be accepted through December 31, Home Price Decline Protection Incentives. This will provide lenders additional incentives for modifications where home price declines have been most severe and lenders fear these declines may persist. Go to: Finally Home Finally Home is a state program that was established by Illinois State Treasurer s Office in 2002 to help Illinois residents buy a home, or to keep their existing homes from going into foreclosure. Since that time, more than $35 million in loans to over 450 families have been guaranteed. The Finally Home program guarantees 10 percent of a borrower s mortgage to the lender in situations where the borrower would otherwise be unable to qualify. The program is designed to assist both prospective homebuyers who are unable to secure a conventional, affordable mortgage as well as current homeowners who are having trouble refinancing because they are slightly behind or are at risk of falling behind on mortgage payments due to financial hardships or adjustable rate resets. Borrowers must demonstrate an ability to resume making payments. Borrowers must meet different eligibility requirements based on whether they plan to purchase a home or refinance a mortgage. The requirements and directions on how to apply for our mortgage guarantee can be found by visiting

3 Understanding the Basics The Illinois Housing Development Authority Web site has several informational items about the foreclosure process, including: The stages of the foreclosure process and a foreclosure Q&A How to stop or prevent a foreclosure once it s started Suggestions on seeking foreclosure assistance Go to: (click on the Foreclosure Assistance link) How to Avoid Mortgage Rescue Scams REALTORS and at-risk homeowners should be aware of and avoid scams that could result in exorbitant fees and negative terms. Go to: Managing Foreclosure Buyer Expectations For several tips and guidance on working with buyers of foreclosed properties, Go to: Short Sale Information & Education Downloadable PDFs of short sale letters Legal Q&A related to short sales Free one-hour short sale webcast with IAR attorneys Go to: What is the foreclosure process??

4 Recent Laws in Illinois on Foreclosure 90-Day Grace Period in Illinois Troubled Illinois homeowners facing foreclosure will get up to a 90-day grace period which went into effect on April 5, Public Act gives homeowners more time to work with lenders and housing counselors to avoid foreclosure. The new law adds provisions to existing law regarding procedures and forbearances for delinquent residential mortgages. The law provides that: If a mortgage secured by residential real estate becomes delinquent by more than 30 days, the mortgagee must mail a notice advising the homeowner that he/she may wish to seek approved housing counseling (defined in the legislation as a counseling agency approved by HUD). No foreclosure action can begin before mailing this notice- which is spelled out in the legislation. If, within the 30-day period, an approved counseling agency provides written notice to the mortgagee (lender) that the homeowner is seeking approved counseling services, then no legal action shall be instituted for 30 days after the date of that notice. During the 30-day period the homeowner or counselor or both may prepare and proffer to the mortgagee a proposed sustainable loan workout plan (defined in the legislation). The mortgagee determines whether to accept the proposed sustainable loan workout plan. If the parties agree to the plan no legal action shall be instituted for as long as the sustainable loan workout plan is complied with by the homeowner. Homeowners Rights Act (Rights in Foreclosure Suits) Effective January 1, 2009, the Homeowner s Rights Act (Public Act ) requires lenders to provide borrowers with a clear notice of their legal rights and options when they are served with a foreclosure suit. This notice must advise homeowners that they can sell their home, refinance or pay off the loan during the redemption period. It will also advise homeowners to call their mortgage company to discuss alternatives to foreclosure. The law also requires lenders to provide borrowers with an accurate statement of the outstanding mortgage balance within 10 days of the borrower s request. By telling homeowners exactly how much they must pay to avoid foreclosure, these payoff statements permit homeowners to quickly explore their options, such as refinancing the loan or selling their home to protect their equity.

5 Finding a Financial Counseling Agency At-risk homeowners should reach out quickly before they are three months delinquent on their mortgage payment and the loan is turned over to foreclosure attorneys and fees mount up. Immediate counseling can be obtained through the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline at HOPE. Experienced counselors can help develop the best plan for the situation. This counseling is free. Homeowners can also call the Illinois Attorney General s Homeowner Helpline at for referrals to housing counselors to receive free help. A list of counseling agencies in Illinois is also available in the back of the Illinois Mortgage Lending Guide on the Attorney General s Web site. Go to: consumers/mor_lend_guide.pdf Additional Assistance for At-Risk Homeowners FICO, the national credit score company, has developed a Web site with a loan modification questionnaire which helps homeowners determine whether they are eligible for a loan modification. Upon the submission of confidential data, an initial determination about qualification will be made, and a HUD-certified counselor will contact the homeowner within 48 hours. Go to:

6 Item #1024 Illinois Association of REALTORS 522 S. Fifth Street, Springfield, IL

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