The State of Real Estate Part Two
Corey Harris is a housing counselor with Neighborhood Housing and Development Corporation in Gainesville. NHDC offers foreclosure intervention counseling.
"We get individuals who are less than 30 days late on their mortgage to those who are even 18 months on their mortgages," said Harris. "So the foreclosure could take some time."
More than 100 people have signed up for one-one-one counseling. Harris says he's seeing a growing number of people who owe more than their house is worth and need to sell immediately.
"You'll have people that have either been transferred or they moved on with their life from the university. What they need to do is just sell the property and move on. Then you have those people on the flipside, that bought more house than what they can afford and now they're looking to downsize," said Harris.
There are options for those who may be headed toward foreclosure. One choice is a short sale. That's when the lender agrees to let the homeowner sell the house for an amount lower than what is owed. Another option is deed in lieu of foreclosure. This process involves giving your lender the deed to your home. Harris says homeowners should stay in constant communication with their lenders before it's too late.
"Don't wait to they're 60 days behind or 90 days behind," said Harris. "If you anticipate a problem, go ahead and call your mortgage company."
Florida lawyers are also stepping in to help through an initiative called "Florida Attorneys Saving Homes." Those who qualify get an attorney to represent them for free in pre-foreclosure negotiations.
"The attorney would assist the homeowner with negotiating some type of revised payment schedule, revised interest rate, that would enable the homeowner to stay in the home and avoid a foreclosure process," said attorney Melissa Murphy.
The program was launched in June 2008. Attorneys say lenders have been very receptive to renegotiations.
"The last thing the lender wants is to own that home and have the responsibilities for owning that home and the challenges of trying to market that home to a buyer in today's economy, in today's market," said Murphy.
For more information on NHDC's Foreclosure Intervention Counseling or "Florida Attorneys Saving Homes" visit the links section.
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