RISMEDIA, October 10, 2009—Foreclosure numbers continue to rise and many homeowners are at an increased risk of losing their home. While foreclosure can be prevented, many homeowners remain confused or afraid to confront their mortgage problems and take action to help save their home. “Fear often prevents many consumers from seeking help,” said Michelle Jones, senior vice president of counseling for Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) of Greater Atlanta, Inc. “Overcoming these fears can mean the difference between staying in your home and losing it.”
CCCS counselors address some of the common fears homeowners have about seeking help:
Fear: Homeowners are afraid to let the mortgage company know they are having a problem because they think it will speed up the foreclosure process.
Contacting your lender is an important first step if you want to save your home from foreclosure. It provides you with an opportunity to explain why you have fallen behind on your payments and what steps you are taking to get back on track. Lenders have a financial interest in keeping you in your home and may be willing to alter the terms of your loan or devise a repayment plan.
Fear: Homeowners believe that if their mortgage company has already turned them down for a loan modification, there is no point in contacting a counseling agency.
Many homeowners are turned down for a loan modification because the information they provide to their lender indicates that their expenses exceed their income or that they have not provided accurate documentation and information about their loan. In other cases, the lender may have made a processing error or the investor who owns the loan will not modify loans in accordance with the Making Home Affordable program.
A housing counselor may be able to suggest alternatives that better suit your current financial situation or help you make adjustments that make you a better candidate for a loan modification with your lender.
Fear: Homeowners fear being judged by others for seeking help.
These are challenging financial times. While it may feel like you are the only one struggling, the reality is that many of your friends and neighbors are also finding it difficult to stay afloat. By seeking help, you will not only increase your chances of avoiding foreclosure, you may also serve as an inspiration to others.
Fear: Homeowners think it is better to use all of their financial resources before seeking help.
Many homeowners try to ride out the financial storm, using their savings and depleting their retirement accounts before seeking help. By the time they do seek help, they are in an even more desperate financial situation and they have spent the resources that may have given them more options in dealing with their mortgage crisis.
Fear: Homeowners facing foreclosure fear that their situation is hopeless.
For homeowners facing foreclosure, the feelings of hopelessness and despair can be overwhelming. While for some, seeking help may mean saving their home, it is inevitable that some homeowners will end up in foreclosure. A certified housing counselor can help homeowners work through the foreclosure and build a new path for long term financial success.
Fear: Companies claiming they can save your home charge large, up-front fees.
You can receive counseling from a reputable, nonprofit housing counseling agency at no charge. While there are unscrupulous businesses looking to take advantage of homeowners, there are also many HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that offer help for struggling consumers.
For more information, visit www.cccsinc.org.