FORECLOSURE / AVOIDING FORECLOSURE

Failure to pay your monthly mortgage payments can lead to foreclosure, but there may be ways to avoid that outcome. The following is a list of things you can do if you can no longer afford your mortgage.

  • Analyze your financial situation and calculate how much of your mortgage you are able to pay.
  • Contact a non-profit credit counseling agency for help with analyzing your financial situation. In Connecticut, the non-profit credit counseling agency is Money Market International.
  • Contact your mortgage company as soon as you realize that you cannot make a mortgage payment or soon after you have missed a payment – the sooner the better.
  • Stay in touch with your lender. Do not ignore the lender’s attempts to contact you.
  • Work with your lender to find a solution. Lenders are motivated to help you find a way to avoid foreclosure. They want to continue receiving your mortgage payments. They don’t want to own your house.
  • Seek help from a HUD approved housing counseling agency and from any of the programs listed below.

FORECLOSURE RECOVERY SCAMS:

Beware of anyone that tells you that you can stop foreclosure by signing a document that appoints someone else to act on your behalf. You could be signing over the title to your property without knowing it. Before signing any document that deals with your mortgage, get the advice of an attorney, a HUD approved housing counselor, or a real estate professional that you know and trust. You can also call the Better Business Bureau or the State's Attorney to see if the business is trustworthy.

To read more about foreclosure scams, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s paper, Foreclosure Rescue Scams: Another Potential Stress for Homeowners in Distress.

PROGRAMS FOR CONNECTICUT RESIDENTS AT RISK OF FORECLOSURE:

  • HUD Approved Counseling Agencies
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA) & U.S. Treasury Department has adopted new program requirements to the "Making Home Affordable Modification" Program, (http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov) as of August 1, 2011, for unemployed homeowners trying to stay in their homes, while seeking re-employment. The changes to FHA’s "Special Forbearance Program" will require servicers to:
    • Postpone payments for unemployed homeowners from four months to 12 months, and remove upfront hurdles to make it easier for unemployed borrowers to qualify.
    • Also require servicers participating in the current "Making Home Affordable Program (MHA)" to extend the minimum forbearance period to 12 months wherever possible under regulator and investor guidelines.
    • Additionally, forbearance under this program will become available to borrowers who are seriously delinquent.
  • If your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible for a Home Affordable Refinance and take advantage of lower interest rates, see this link for more information:  http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/tools/does-fannie-or-freddie-own-your-loan/Pages/default.aspx .

    For a HUD Special Forbearance Fact Sheet on the program changes, see: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=nscsffaq.pdf

  • Connecticut Department of Banking's Mortgage Foreclosure Assistance Hotline gives referrals to HUD counseling agencies and other foreclosure assistance centers; also cases can be given to Department of Banking examiners to research. (877) 472-8313
  • Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) manages several mortgage foreclosure assistance programs, including the Connecticut Fair Alternative Mortgage Lending Initiative and Education Service (CT FAMLIES) program, the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP) and the Homeowners Equity Recovery Opportunities program (HERO). Call CHFA at (877)571-2432.
  • Homeownership Preservation Foundation's HOPE Hotline/HOPE NOW provides free mortgage foreclosure counseling and referrals to in-state foreclosure counseling resources. Access to housing counseling is also available at the website. English and Spanish-speaking counselors are available at the HOPE Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Statewide Legal Assistance's Pro Bono Foreclosure Attorney Panel assists income eligible homeowners facing foreclosure at no charge. Homeowners must have income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and be using the home as their primary residence. Assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis and clients are referred to other attorneys, as needed.
  • Superior Courts in Connecticut offer the Foreclosure Mediation Program which provides free mediation services for homeowners and lenders in order to assist homeowners whose one to four family, owner-occupied, residential property is the subject of a mortgage foreclosure action. The property must be located in the state of Connecticut and be the homeowner's primary residence. The foreclosure action must have a return date on or after July 1, 2008. The Foreclosure Mediation Request form and an Appearance form must be filed not more than 15 days after the return date on the Summons, unless extended by the court.

WEB-BASED RESOURCES:

TO FIND PROVIDERS IN CONNECTICUT'S COMMUNITY RESOURCES DATABASE:

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SOURCES: Freddie Mac: "Buying and Owning a Home," "Avoiding Foreclosure;" Connecticut Network for Legal Aid: “About Foreclosure: A Homeowner’s Guide to What It Is, How It Works, And Options You May Have,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Homes and Communities, “How to Avoid Foreclosure;” Wickell, Janet: Your Guide to Home Buying / Selling, “How To Stop Foreclosure.”
PREPARED BY: 211/kq
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: September2014