Archive for May, 2009

Another Change in Laws to Help Struggling Homeowners

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

This past week the Obama administration signed into law changes to the current Help for Homeowners Program (H4H) in order to actually help more homeowners. The H4H program meant well but was not in fact assisting anyone (there was only ONE documented case of assistance in the months since it’s inception, with the preliminary targeted goal of assisting 400,000 families).

The new law, Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, streamlines how HUD will support thousands of homeless support programs across America. The main crux of this new program dreamstime_874044is to provide MORE incentives to both homeowners and lenders to rework loans and save homes from foreclosure‚helping homeowners get into more affordable fixed rate loans insured by the FHA. This will be accomplished by easing the eligibility requirements , reducing the cost of the program and giving the FHA power to offer more substantial loan modifications.

FHA will have more power to create programs and use enforcement tools to police lenders who do not use fair and realistic marketing tactics, thus keeping “bad” lenders out of the FHA programs.

The new law will also allow HUD to help more local homeless housing and service programs, and also will give communities resources to use federal funds in positive ways to assist in needed areas and programs.

Finally, the changes aim at helping those who cannot get a loan modification avoid foreclosure by using the U.S Treasury Department’sdeed in lieu of foreclosure option (also called “cash for keys”). This is where a homeowner turns over their keys and title to the home to the lender and the lender forgives the debt, in addition to providing a small cash incentive to the homeowner (usually around $1,000). Deeds in lieu have been difficult to obtain but the new program seeks to change that for those who do not qualify for other options.

For detailed information on the new program please visit

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Buy Back Your Home AFTER Foreclosure

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Has your home foreclosed (or is about to) and left you feeling desperate and uncertain? Would you like the opportunity to get your home back, even post-foreclosure? You may be in luck.

There is a new option available which allows foreclosure victims to BUY BACK their homes from the bank. It is gaining momentum and may not be a viable option for a long time, but if you are in this situation and are employed, keep reading.

dreamstime_813001With all the options available to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure this is the first that deals with the problem after the fact, and believe it or not it IS working for many people. Some attorneys and non-profit groups have been very successful in submitting offers to lenders on behalf of the recently displaced homeowners.

In a sense this works like a loan modification after the fact, so the homeowner will still suffer some credit ramifications from the foreclosure, but will be able to buy their home back from the bank at a price that is comparable to recently sold homes in the area, which means monthly payments will be more affordable. Many of these homeowners were unable to work out modifications or use other options to save their homes, and many are still living there and have not been presented with a notice of eviction from the lender.

Why is this buy back option so successful?

1. It is unlikely that the lender, the new owner of the property, will find a buyer to purchase the home at a cost that would narrow the gap the lender has opened through the foreclosure process. Plus, in this market it is likely the home will sit for some time, causing further loss to the lender. Selling it back to the owner is a win-win, as there is no market time expended and no monthly payments to be doled out by the lender. A quick close can be arranged and everyone wins.

2. Abandoned homes can fall into disrepair. This can force the lender to pay lots of money for upkeep. A home that is not cared-for is unlikely to sell.

3. With credit damaged from the foreclosure it is not likely that the homeowners will be able to get a loan for a long time‚this is the chance to stay in their home with an affordable payment, instead of putting them out on the street.

4. This option eases the lender’s already overflowing portfolio‚it is one less home to worry about.dreamstime_7502335

There is really no valid argument against buy backs. Some lawyers are already doing so and charge minimal fees to negotiate with the lender.

If you live in the San Diego area and would like a referral to an attorney who knows how to do this and has a success rate please feel free to email or call me and I will pass the information along. If you are in another area I would recommend calling real estate attorneys and asking if they do this, and if not see if they can refer you to an attorney who does.

Another option is to contact a non-profit group who can help you or point you in the right direction. If you live in Boston there is a group called Boston Community Capital, and they currently have about 30 borrowers in the process of buy back negotiations. You can call community resource organizations, the city offices, or call HopeNow and see if they can help. Their number is (888)995-HOPE.

Keep in mind that you DO have to be employed and be able to show that you can make the payments on the new loan. If this is not an option for you I suggest you read up and learn all the possible options that ARE available before it is too late and your home is sold. A great resource is Best of luck!

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