Millions of homes nationwide are in “distressed property” status, it is likely that you or someone you know has been affected by the “foreclosure crises”. I am sure that you have heard stories like that of the Torres family who paid over $8,000 to a ‘firm’ that guaranteed them a loan modification. After completing all of their payments to the so called ‘firm’ the family was shocked to hear that their home was about to be sold on the court house steps in a few short weeks. Mr. Torres broke down in tears while talking about all of the lies that he was told and the numerous useless messages he left begging for information and guidance from the ‘firm’. His months of worry and desperation finally ended with a note on the door which read “Notice of Trustee Sale”. Their family had counted on this ‘firm’ to “save my home”. With less than a month left until their home would be taken from them, the family was lost with nowhere to turn. They thought about bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure sale date and wondered if the ‘firm’ had ever been truthful and if they still had any type of fighting chance.

So where are people to turn? How do they know who to trust? Most importantly, is there any “hope for homeowners”? As it turns out, there are options. A couple of professional have founded a group of professionals that give FREE ADVICE to the community. Rebecca F. Castro and Leonard Bernal, Realtors with Keller Williams Realty in Whittier, California have teamed up with other agents and Bankruptcy Attorneys to help home owners nationwide get real answers to their questions on home retention and foreclosure alternatives. Rebecca gave us some insight into the truth about foreclosure relief and more importantly, how to avoid scams. Here are a couple of the most pressing questions…

Doesn’t the government have a program where I can get help with my mortgage?

Answer: Yes, there are several programs under the umbrella of The Obama Administration’s “Making Home Affordable Program” The most common is the modification program known as “(HAMP)”. However, there are other programs that a homeowner might be eligible for like the Unemployment Program, 2nd Lien Modification Program, Refinance Program, and Foreclosure Alternatives Program. The two main criteria are 1. The property must be an Owner Occupied and 2. The loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The main site of the government program page Making Home Affordable website can give you more detailed information on each program along with eligibility. In addition, HUD offers assistance through their office and holds occasional community events. A reputable and seasoned real estate agent can also give free advice on the different HUD options. Make sure that you do not pay for this advice since there are many good people willing to help you for free.

How can I tell if a Loan Modification is right for me?

Answer: Ultimately it is the lender or investor who will decide if you fit their criteria. It is important to note that each investor has different programs. Just because your loan is with the same servicer as someone else that you know, it doesn’t mean that you have the same investor. Each situation is different and should be evaluated by a professional who is well seasoned in distressed property resolution. Mortgage advisor Sheffield With a quick calculation they should be able to tell you right away if a modification is a good option that will improve your situation. Ask them to show you how they are calculating your estimated payments so that they are not just saying what you want to hear. Another good tool is a simple mortgage calculator online. If you have been paying on an interest only mortgage for example, and you want to know what your payment will be on a modification to a fixed rate…just plug in your principle balance and number of years left on your mortgage. It will tell you the estimated payment so you can see if the fixed payment is something you can afford. It should be this simple for a loan modification “expert” to help you with. Therefore, if they can’t do it in front of you or over the phone…run…they don’t know what they are doing.

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