How to Avoid Foreclosure
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Related Information
 -   Stop Foreclosure
 -   MN Attorney General Guide to Foreclosure
 -   HUD National Servicing Center has more information on avoiding foreclosure
 -   Read the PDF version of the How To Avoid Foreclosure brochure
 -   Download Short Sale Documents

The guidance below (and in the "How to Avoid Foreclosure" pamphlet) is applicable to homeowners with FHA Insured loans. While a good deal of this information may apply to all homeowners in danger of losing their homes, not all of the foreclosure avoidance tools mentioned may be available to you if you have a VA or conventional loan. Additionally, HUD/FHA does not have any Loss Mitigation oversight over VA or conventional loans. Please contact your lender or a housing counseling agency.

Q: What Happens When I Miss My Mortgage Payments?

Foreclosure may occur. This is the legal means that your lender can use to repossess (take over) your home. When this happens, you must move out of your house. If your property is worth less than the total amount you owe on your mortgage loan, a deficiency judgment could be pursued. If that happens, you not only lose your home, you also would owe HUD an additional amount.

Both foreclosures and deficiency judgments could seriously affect your ability to qualify for credit in the future. So you should avoid foreclosure if possible.

Q: What Should I Do?
  1. DO NOT IGNORE THE LETTERS FROM YOUR LENDER. If you are having problems making your payments, call or write to your lender's Loss Mitigation Department without delay, or contact Lakes Area Home Buyers, Inc. and explain your situation. Be prepared to provide them with financial information, such as your monthly income and expenses. Without this information, they may not be able to help.
  2. Stay in your home for now. You may not qualify for assistance if you abandon your property.
  3. Contact a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Call (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339 for the housing counseling agency nearest you. These agencies are valuable resources. They frequently have information on services and programs offered by Government agencies as well as private and community organizations that could help you. The housing counseling agency may also offer credit counseling. These services are usually free of charge.
  4. If you've determined you can no longer afford your home or you no longer want your home, contact Lakes Area Home Buyers, Inc., and set up an appointment for a free in home consultation. We might be able to provide you with new ideas on how to save a foreclosure from showing up on your credit file.
Q: What Are My Alternatives?

You may be considered for the following:

Sell via Short Sale Lakes Area Home Buyers can negotiate on your behalf to buy your home at a discount from your lender. They have successfully negotiated dozens of short sales and can buy your home as-is and save a foreclosure from appearing on yoru credit.

Special Forbearance. Your lender may be able to arrange a repayment plan based on your financial situation and may even provide for a temporary reduction or suspension of your payments. You may qualify for this if you have recently experienced a reduction in income or an increase in living expenses. You must furnish information to your lender to show that you would be able to meet the requirements of the new payment plan.

Mortgage Modification. You may be able to refinance the debt and/or extend the term of your mortgage loan. This may help you catch up by reducing the monthly payments to a more affordable level. You may qualify if you have recovered from a financial problem and can afford the new payment amount.

Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. As a last resort, you may be able to voluntarily "give back" your property to the lender. This won't save your house and it is damaging to your credit rating as it is a voluntary foreclosure. This only benefits the bank, not the borrower.

You may qualify if:
  1. you are in default and don't qualify for any of the other options;
  2. your attempts at selling the house before foreclosure were unsuccessful; and
  3. you don't have another FHA mortgage in default.
Q: How Do I Know if I Qualify for Any of These Alternatives?

If you're interested in selling your home, contact Lakes Area Home Buyers, Inc., and they will let you know if your home qualifies.

If you're interested in your other options, your lender will determine if you qualify for any of the alternatives. A housing counseling agency can also help you determine which, if any, of these options may meet your needs and also assist you in interacting with your lender. Call (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339.

Q: Should I Be Aware of Anything Else?

Yes. Beware of scams! Solutions that sound too simple or too good to be true usually are. If you're selling your home without professional guidance, beware of buyers who try to rush you through the process. Be especially alert to the following:

Equity skimming. In this type of scam, a "buyer" approaches you, offering to get you out of financial trouble by promising to pay off your mortgage or give you a sum of money when the property is sold. The "buyer" let's you stay in the home and sells the home back to you on a lease option or contract for deed, often with payments much higher than before. If you can't make your rent payment you get evicted and are out of all of your equity.

Phony counseling agencies. Some groups calling themselves "counseling agencies" may approach you and offer to perform certain services for a fee. These could well be services you could do for yourself for free, such as negotiating a new payment plan with your lender, or pursuing a pre-foreclosure sale. If you have any doubt about paying for such services, call a HUD-approved housing counseling agency at (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339. Do this before you pay anyone or sign anything.
Q: Are There Any Precautions I Can Take?

Here are several precautions that should help you avoid being "taken" by a scam artist:

  1. Don't sign any papers you don't fully understand.
  2. Make sure you get all "promises" in writing.
  3. Check with a lawyer or your mortgage company before entering into any deal involving your home.
  4. If you're selling the house yourself to avoid foreclosure, check to see if there are any complaints against the prospective buyer. You can contact your state's Attorney General, the State Real Estate Commission, or the local District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit for this type of information.
Q: What Are the Main Points I Should Remember?
  1. Don't lose your home and damage your credit history.
  2. Call or write your mortgage lender immediately and be honest about your financial situation.
  3. Stay in your home to make sure you qualify for assistance.
  4. Arrange an appointment with a HUD-approved housing counselor to explore your options at (800) 569-4287 or TDD (800) 877-8339.
  5. Cooperate with the counselor or lender trying to help you.
  6. Explore every alternative to keep your home.
  7. Beware of scams.
  8. Do not sign anything you don't understand.

Act now. Delaying can't help. If you do nothing, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR HOME and your good credit rating. Contact Lakes Area Home Buyers, Inc. today

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