10 Frequently Asked Questions About Foreclosure

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1 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Foreclosure 1. Who can I call for help if I am in foreclosure or fear I may be soon? The best source of help is a HUD-Approved housing counselor. You can find a housing counselor near you by calling (800) or by going to You can also call the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (877) to link to a housing counselor and learn more about financial assistance options to prevent foreclosure. The Connecticut Department of Banking Foreclosure Assistance Hotline can direct you to a housing counselor in your area and other assistance resources. You can reach the Hotline at The Department of Banking also maintains and regularly updates a 45 page booklet describing all of the resources available to Connecticut homeowners facing foreclosure. The current version of this booklet is available on line at 2. Do I have to wait until I receive papers from a court before I get help? No. If you are behind on your mortgage, even if you are just 30 days late, you can get help. Call a housing counselor if you would like help getting in touch with your loan servicers to work out a payment plan or to determine if there is any way to restructure your mortgage. 3. What should I do when I receive notification of foreclosure from my lender? Call the numbers listed under Who can I call for help? - #1 above. Before the foreclosure case starts in court, you will receive letters from an attorney hired by your loan servicer telling you that they intend to pursue 221 Main Street, 4 th Floor Hartford, CT (Hartford) (Toll Free) (New Haven) (fax)

2 foreclosure. If you receive these letters, you will know that foreclosure is imminent and you should seek help immediately. You will know the foreclosure case has started in court if you find documents from a court left at the door. These documents will have a court notice warning you that you could lose your house. Don t ignore this court notice! Follow the instructions that come with the court notice to file an Appearance and a Request for Mediation. Participating in mediation will likely be your best opportunity to speak directly to your lender! If you do not understand the instructions, go to the courthouse listed on the papers and ask for the court clerk or ask your housing counselor. 4. Where can I find a lawyer to represent me? Unfortunately, there are very few lawyers who have experience representing homeowners in foreclosure. To find one who may be able to represent you: If you are not low-income, you can try contacting your county bar referral service. The referral services generally charge $25-35 for a 30 minute consultation with a local attorney, and the attorney will tell you at that time what the fee would be for additional services. This is one way to find a lawyer who might assist you. Area Covered Contact Number Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, (860) Tolland and Windham Counties Fairfield (203) New Haven (203) New London (M-W-F): (860) If you are low income, call Statewide Legal Services at to see if they can find a free lawyer to represent you. 5. If I file a request for mediation, does this stop the foreclosure? No. Your foreclosure case will continue even though you are in mediation. However, until mediation is over, the court will not make a final decision on your case, and your lender cannot take your house away. 2

3 6. Does the lender have to enter into mediation? (Legislation pending as of 3/20/09 may change this) If you file your appearance and the mediation request by the deadline, the lender must participate in the mediation sessions, but the mediator can t force them to modify your loan or to withdraw the lawsuit. If you go to a housing counselor in advance, however, the housing counselor can help you prepare a good loan modification proposal. That will increase your chances of saving your home. 7. My mortgage was modified and my interest rate lowered, but I still can t make the monthly payments, what else can I do to save my home? Frequently loan modifications offered by lenders are not realistic over the long term. Talk to a housing counselor to figure out how much you can afford to pay. Your housing counselor will help you negotiate for a more affordable modification, if possible. If you have already spoken to a housing counselor for the first modification, or if you cannot afford anything offered by the lender, you should think seriously about finding a more affordable place to live. This may involve selling your home or allowing the foreclosure process to continue until there is a judgment against you. AVOID DEALING WITH ANYONE WHO OFFERS TO GET YOU A BETTER LOAN MODIFICATION FOR A FEE. There are many scam artists preying on homeowners in foreclosure and they may take your money and do nothing. They do not provide any assistance different from what you will receive from a housing counselor at no charge. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU NOT DEAL WITH ANYONE WHO OFFERS TO BUY YOUR HOME AND RENT IT BACK TO YOU. Often such offers are scams that result in rental payments so high that you may never be able to buy your house back. 8. Can I stay in my home while the foreclosure process continues? Yes. If you are a homeowner or a tenant, you can stay in your home until a final decision in the foreclosure case. If the lender wins the foreclosure case, the judge will make a final decision called a judgment and you will receive a notice of that judgment in the mail. It is important to read this notice because it will give you the deadline for you to leave your house. It is important to know and understand this deadline. If the notice you receive states that there has been a Judgment of Strict Foreclosure, the notice will give a law day. On this law day, the title to your house will pass automatically to your lender without any further notice or action. After the law day passes, you can be evicted at any time. If the notice you receive states that there has been a Judgment of Foreclosure by Sale, the notice will give a sale date. On this sale date, an attorney appointed by the court 3

4 called the Committee will hold an auction and sell your house. After the court approves the sale, you can be evicted. In either case, don t wait for the law day or sale date to come before making plans. If you receive a notice of a final judgment in your case, make plans to move so you are not rushed at the end and run the risk of becoming homeless. If you are a tenant and your landlord is in foreclosure, call Statewide Legal Services at for advice on whether you will be allowed to stay after the foreclosure is over. Sometimes tenants are allowed to stay despite the foreclosure, other times they must move. 9. What are EMAP, HERO, and CT FAMLIES? Who should consider it? EMAP, HERO, and CT FAMLIES are special mortgage programs designed to help people who cannot afford their current mortgage. The eligibility requirements are complicated so if you want to save your house, you should speak to a housing counselor or CHFA as early as possible to see if you are eligible for one of these loans. The EMAP program, also called the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, assists some homeowners in paying their mortgage in exchange for an additional lien against their house. CHFA or your housing counselor can help you find out if you are eligible for this program. The CTFAMLIES program also known as the Connecticut Fair Alternative Mortgage Lending Initiative and Education Services program was started in 2007 to assist homeowners in refinancing into a more affordable mortgage. This program may help if you have an adjustable rate mortgage or a fixed rate mortgage that is current, but no longer affordable. CHFA or your housing counselor can help you find out if you are eligible for this program. Finally, the HERO program or Homeowner s Equity Recovery Opportunity Loan Program permits CHFA to purchase the mortgages of some homeowners refinance those borrowers into a CHFA mortgage with an affordable repayment plan. CHFA or your housing counselor can help you find out if you are eligible for this program. The Department of Banking booklet on Avoiding Foreclosure also includes more detailed descriptions of each of these programs. 10. Am I eligible for any of the new foreclosure prevention programs announced by President Obama? There are two programs for homeowners announced by President Obama are part of a program called Making Home Affordable. One is for families who want to refinance 4

5 and have a loan that is owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. To find out if you have a loan owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and if you qualify for the refinance program, you can go to The second program announced by President Obama would modify your mortgage so that you are only paying 31% of your gross monthly income for your mortgage. To find out if you qualify for that program go to There are no telephone numbers to get information about the Making Home Affordable programs. However, a housing counselor may have more information and can be contacted by telephone. (See # 1 above). 5

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