The availability of foreclosure assistance is on the rise as a direct result of so many homeowners developing an inability to keep up with mortgage payments. For some people facing foreclosure, however, these programs are not enough to keep them from losing their homes.
When to Seek Assistance
The ideal time to seek out foreclosure assistance is not when you are already involved in foreclosure proceedings. If you even think that you may not be able to make your mortgage payment on time, it's time to seek out some help. The reason for this is because it is much easier to work with lenders while you're still current on your mortgage loan as opposed to when you have already fallen behind.
This should not deter you from seeking out foreclosure assistance after you have received notice of foreclosure proceedings on your home. Unless you are ready to pack up and walk away from your home, you should fight a foreclosure until you have exhausted every single option for assistance that you can think of.
Types of Foreclosure Assistance Programs
Whether you're looking for a housing counselor to talk you through the process of avoiding foreclosure, or if you are in dire need of some financial assistance in order to avoid foreclosure, there are foreclosure programs designed to help.
Keep in mind that while these programs will help plenty of people, there may not be any way to avoid foreclosure unless you can simply come up with the money to bring your mortgage loan back up to current status. A lot depends on what stage of foreclosure you are in when you begin to seek out help.
Many lenders recognize the advantage of working with borrowers instead of simply foreclosing on their loans when they become delinquent. In most cases, it is more cost effective for the lender to lower the interest rate on the loan or forgive late fees instead of paying for foreclosure proceedings and possibly taking a loss on the consequent sale of the house.
Your lender should be the first place you call when you think you might be in danger of falling behind in payments. Some lenders now have staff members who are specially trained in foreclosure assistance methods.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) both offer a variety of foreclosure assistance programs to homeowners including the FHASecure program and many state-specific programs.
You do not have to have your first mortgage guaranteed by FHA before these organizations will assist you with foreclosure issues.
There are also special foreclosure assistance programs available to active duty and veterans of the military through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sometimes homeowners simply need some counseling to figure out their options for avoiding foreclosure. Free foreclosure counseling is available in every state through HUD and through The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Borrowers can also seek out counseling through a Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS), but should be sure to work with a CCCS group that is familiar with foreclosure issues and operates in a not-for-profit capacity.
Temporary Charitable Assistance
Local organizations may be willing to provide you with temporary assistance in order to bring your mortgage loan up to date. Organizations that homeowners may want to request assistance from include charitable organizations, churches, and other private donors.
If you are able to find someone willing to grant you the money you need in order to bring your mortgage loan up to date then there are two things you need to ensure:
- Make sure the grant is indeed a grant and not a high interest loan.
- Fix whatever the financial problem is which initially brought you so close to foreclosure in the first place.
Beware of assistance programs for foreclosure that are actually thinly-veiled scams to get you to sign your home over to someone else. Always check with the Better Business Bureau before signing up with any program designed to help you avoid foreclosure.