Facing foreclosure can be overwhelming, but help may be just a phone call or a few computer clicks away. If you cannot make your mortgage payments, speaking with a housing counselor or other professional may help you determine what the consequences are and what your options may be. Other resources include banks, local community programs, information online, or your neighborhood REALTOR®. Some of the available Foreclosure Prevention Resources are as follows:
HUD-Approved Housing Counselors: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors housing counselors who can talk to you about your situation and help you decide what to do. HUD-approved housing counselors are prohibited from charging you a fee for foreclosure prevention counseling services. For the list, call HUD’s interactive voice system at (800) 569-4287 or go to http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm.
HOPE NOW: HOPE NOW Alliance is a cooperative effort by mortgage counselors, lenders, and others to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. HOPE NOW has a Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline that provides foreclosure prevention counseling free of charge at (888) 995-HOPE or go to http://www.hopenow.com.
NeighborWorks America: This is a nonprofit organization that administers housing counseling agencies funded through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counsel Program. For its list of foreclosure counseling agencies, call (202) 220-2300 or go to http://ww.nw.org.
Making Home Affordable: The Making Home Affordable Program provides government-subsidized refinances, loan modifications, short sales, and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure for homeowners in distress. Under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), eligible borrowers of loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac can take advantage of historically low interest rates by refinancing up to 125 percent of current market value. Under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), eligible borrowers can obtain more affordable mortgage payments by modifying their existing loans. Under the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), borrowers may be eligible for government-subsidized short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure. For more information, go to http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC): The OCC is the federal governmental agency that regulates all national banks. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has a number of resources for consumers, community groups, and bankers to help them preserve their home ownership, avoid foreclosure, and protect themselves against foreclosure and debt elimination scams. You may contact someone at the OCC Customer Assistance Group at (800) 613-6743 or go to the OCC’s consumer website at http://www.helpwithmybank.gov.
Foreclosure Prevention Workshops: You may attend a Foreclosure Prevention Workshop or other seminars or events to learn more about avoiding foreclosure. For a schedule of upcoming Foreclosure Prevention Workshops sponsored by community organizations, go to http://www.freddiemac.com/avoidforeclosure/workshops.html.
Other Resources: There are many resources on foreclosure prevention. You may go to HUD’s website at http://www.hud.gov/foreclosure, Fannie Mae’s website at http://www.fanniemae.com, or Freddie Mac’s Avoiding Foreclosure Resource Center at http://www.freddiemac.com/avoidforeclosure/. For tax information, go to http://www.irs.gov and http://www.ftb.ca.gov. For credit information, go to http://www.fico.com.
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Copyright© 2011 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). The information contained herein is believed to be accurate as of August 24, 2011. It is intended to provide general answers to general questions and is not intended as a substitute for individual legal advice. Advice in specific situations may differ depending upon a wide variety of factors. Therefore, readers with specific legal questions should seek the advice of an attorney. Permission is granted to C.A.R. members only to reproduce this material for non-commercial purposes (personal use and to distribute to clients). C.A.R. members must reprint the material in its entirety, but may add their own names and contact information where specified.