Consumers Give Merit to Use of Housing Counseling Company to Prevent Foreclosure

With a 70% failure rate, bankruptcy may not be the best option to prevent foreclosure. Five homeowners from South Carolina come forward to tell others how a certified housing counseling company negotiated with lenders to stop foreclosure against their homes.

What can a borrower do to prevent foreclosure sale of the home if they have failed at a bankruptcy plan or do not have all of the monies requested by the creditor?

This release provides testimony from five courageous homeowners who were able to successfully prevent foreclosure sale of their homes through housing counseling services provided by Save Your Home, Inc.

Dianna Rumph’s home was scheduled for sale on June 6, 2005 after she fell over a year behind because of severe health problems. My mortgage company did not want to accept my down payment and Save Your Home had to contact the HUD office in Oklahoma to get the lender to review my file under HUD guidelines, said Rumph, of Orangeburg, SC. “My family would be out on the street today if it weren’t for Save Your Home and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Save Your Home is a national foreclosure prevention company that was founded by Herbert Addison, JD, CHC and Michael Taylor, Sr. Mr. Addison is a certified housing counselor and a member of the Virginia Association of Housing Counselors. Professional housing counseling involves developing spending and savings plans and skillfully negotiating with lenders. They are also co-authors of How to Save Your Home, ISBN# 09753754-0-7, .95, SYH University, LLC, 2005, which is on sale at Amazon.com and has received an Excellent rating from bookreview.com.

We are the only foreclosure prevention company in the nation that has published a do-it-yourself-guide for the homeowner. It is not about the money, it is about the mission, Taylor said. Our mission is to provide financial literacy education to consumers regarding wealth creation and homeownership retention.”

One reason for their passion is because of past personal financial experiences that parallel their clientsÂ’. Mr. Addison agreed to disbarment following 3 years of litigation with the SC Bar. He would be eligible to rejoin the SC bar in 2007. In 2002, Mr. Taylor agreed to a two-year suspension from the SC Real Estate Commission which is now complete.

I almost lost everything in 2002 and share my story of hardship in our book, said Addison. We truly understand the emotional and psychological distress that the homeowner is experiencing because we have also been in foreclosure and have a passion for helping them to succeed. said Taylor.

William Free, III of Orangeburg, SC lost his home to a foreclosure sale in November of 2004. My attorney recommended me to Save Your Home and they worked with the lender to set aside the foreclosure sale and to take less money than what was owed so that I could get a family member to repurchase the home said Free.

When asked about 7 complaints against their company filed with the SC Department of Consumer affairs, Mr. Taylor responded that they had provided service to 1543 consumers in the Midlands and over 3,000 nationally.  Seven is less than one-half of 1% of the clients served by our company in this area. For those consumers who are willing to dedicate themselves to a spending and savings plan, the success rate is around 90%. “Although our dedication is to excellence, it is imposible to satisfy everyone” Taylor added.

Joe Caton of Service Management, a leading magazine focusing on default management verifies that Taylor and Addison are top experts in the field of loss mitigation. Mike and Tony were key note speakers for ABN-AMRO last year to discuss bankruptcy and default issues, Caton said.

Mr. Lewis Whitener of Columbia, SC has also come forward to tell his story. “They got the job done for me” said Whitener who received a loan modification from Midland Mortgage in June 2005 to stop foreclosure action against his home.

Walter McCloed of Kingstree, SC agrees. He was over ,000 behind on a loan with Select Portfolio Services and had a sale date scheduled on June 6, 2005. The sale was stopped and all I had to come up with was a ,500 down payment to get a repayment plan. McCloed said. Mr. Addison and Mr. Taylor were very encouraging, professional and walked me through the entire process.

Save Your Home’s housing counseling program also worked for Awni Abuaita of Columbia, SC. “I used the service to save my credit with a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure when my payment became too high,” said Abuaita.

While some may believe that foreclosure cannot be stopped with proper housing counseling, five consumers have come forward to categorically prove otherwise. Moreover, mortgage lenders have long known that loss mitigation saves homes and recognize Taylor and Addison as rising stars within this area.

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Posted On: Columbia, SC June 18, 2005

6 Tips Before Selling a Home for a Loss

Bills.com offers tips for home short sales that leave owners with mortgage debt

Although national housing markets have not necessarily recovered from the economy’s recession, some home owners must sell immediately, even at a loss, and free online consumer portal Bills.com has six suggestions to ease the pain of a home sale that leaves sellers in debt.

“Although some economic indicators hint that the U.S. economy is moving toward a recovery, home values are still suffering from a serious economic hangover. Many home owners are putting off a sale until prices recover. But some owners must sell at a loss,” said Ethan Ewing, president of Bills.com. “Selling a home for less than the debt on the loan — called a ‘short sale’ — is not desirable, but sometimes it is necessary for those who face major financial hardship.”

Statistics on home price trends vary. One August report indicated that 80 percent of real estate markets increased in median home value over the previous year. A separate July report found that home values are down 21 percent from their peak in the second quarter of 2006. However, July was the sixth consecutive month that the decline in national home values lessened.

Overall lower home values mean that many home owners are “upside down” in their mortgages. This term means that they owe more on a mortgage than the home is now worth. “This is especially true in the current real estate market, because low down payments and cash-out refinance deals were the norm in the past decade,” Ewing noted.

Home owners who are facing a possible short sale should consider these points:

1. Know what qualifies for a short sale. Several factors make a home a candidate for a short sale. Typically these are a general drop in home values (such as has happened in many markets), a mortgage that is near default status, or a home owner who is unable to pay due to hard times.

2. Find the right real estate agent. The short-sale process is specialized. Lenders have stringent requirements and might ask agents to take a lower-than-standard commission. Look for agents with experience.

3. Talk to the lender. If a home is worth less than the mortgage amount, sellers will need special permission from the lender to sell the home at a loss for its current value. If the sale stems from financial hardship, home owners will need to prepare a hardship letter explaining why they need to sell. “Remember that some lenders will be open to the possibility of a short sale to avoid the alternative of foreclosure,” Ewing said. “If you are a good borrower hit by bad times, make sure to communicate this effectively to the lender.”

4. Understand tax consequences. In some cases, a lender forgives the difference between what is owed and the selling price. Lenders can classify that forgiven debt as income to the seller, which means that the seller would be required to pay income tax on the amount. However, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 allows some home owners to exclude that income. This exclusion primarily applies to those whose home was foreclosed on or who had debt forgiven as part of a loan restructuring. Individuals who are truly insolvent (total liabilities are greater than total assets) also can file IRS Form 982 declaring the insolvency to have the tax waived. Sellers should consult a licensed tax advisor to learn whether these exceptions apply to their situation.

5. Know it will impact credit. A short sale is recorded on a credit report as a pre-foreclosure proceeding. As such, it will damage credit scores. Still, it may be the best alternative for some homeowners.

6. Consider alternatives. If paying the mortgage is the problem  and there is no desire to sell — some home owners have options available. Some lenders will consider a loan modification, which seeks a permanent change to the loan, such as lowering the payment and extending the loan’s term, or rolling delinquencies into future payments. Government programs such as Hope for Homeowners also fall into this category. Another option is a “deed in lieu” of foreclosure, which essentially allows the borrower to return the title or deed of the property giving the home back  to the mortgage holder to avoid foreclosure. The borrower forfeits equity in the property, but avoids a foreclosure on his or her credit record.

“Short sales are hard facts of life following a serious real estate downturn like the one our nation has undergone,” Ewing said. “Do your homework before agreeing to a short sale. Becoming a knowledgeable seller will help make the process as painless as possible.”

About Bills.com

Based in San Mateo, Calif., Bills.com is a free one-stop portal where consumers can educate themselves about complex personal finance issues and comparison shop for products and services including credit cards, debt consolidation, insurance, mortgages and other loans. Bills.com holds the No. 273 spot on the Inc. 500 list for 2009.

Bills.com and its sister companies, Freedom Debt Relief and Freedom Tax Relief, are wholly owned subsidiaries of Freedom Financial Network, LLC. The company has served more than 50,000 customers nationwide since 2002 while managing more than billion in consumer debt. Its RSS feed is available here.

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Posted On: San Mateo, Calif. (Vocus) October 28, 2009

New Website Offers Florida Foreclosure Assistance for Buyers and Sellers

Florida Foreclosure Assistance is a new website designed for buyers and sellers considering Florida foreclosures or short sales. The site contains informative articles, videos, news feeds and links to educate buyers and sellers. The short sale process is outlined as well as the pros and cons of selling short.

Kevin Dickenson is a Palm Beach real estate agent with Prudential Florida Realty and has unveiled Florida Foreclosure Assistance, a new informative website designed to educate buyers and sellers about Florida foreclosures and short sales. This is not another website to advertise foreclosed homes, said Dickenson. Florida-Foreclosure-Assistance.blogspot.com/ is a compilation of information from dozens of credible government and private sources for the sole purpose of educating buyers and sellers on the ever changing short sale process.

Dickenson reveals Foreclosure Defense Secrets, a publication written by a prominent Florida foreclosure attorney. Find out what the banks don’t want you to know in a comprehensive 39 page guide that is absolutely free to download.

Florida Foreclosure Assistance contains a list of the 20 most frequently asked Q&A from buyers and sellers about short sales and foreclosures. This is a must read before you enter into a contract to buy or sell short.

The new website also contains articles on new Florida and federal laws pertaining to short sales and foreclosures. A new Florida law allows homeowner associations (HOA) to collect the lesser of 1% of the mortgage amount or up to 12 months of unpaid HOA dues from lenders after they foreclose. Unfortunately, the new law does not apply if the property is sold in a short sale and this can actually encourage lenders to foreclose if too much is owed to the HOA. A new federal law requires mediation before lenders can foreclose.

“I recently attended a foreclosure hearing with a client and less than 10% of the owners actually showed up. The judge was sympathetic to those who took the time to attend and granted a 120 day extension to give owners more time to complete a short sale. The other 90% who failed to attend the hearing were foreclosed,” said Dickenson.

HOA’s have recently discovered that they can foreclosure much quicker than lenders because the owner does not have a legal defense in this situation. The HOA obtains a certificate of title from the court which allows the HOA to rent the property or negotiate a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure with the lender. A local foreclosure attorney reviews the pros and cons of HOA foreclosures in a featured article on the new website.

If you’re a tenant renting a property in foreclosure, a new law could allow you to stay in the property up to 90 days after the lender forecloses. Tenants need to understand all the new laws before entering into a lease agreement on a property that is in the foreclosure pipeline, said Dickenson.

Florida Foreclosure Assistance also contains nearly a dozen links to government recommended websites to repair credit, obtain credit counseling, new government policies and a description of short sale scams. Unfortunately there are people out there trying to take advantage of owners in distress and this government site does a good job of keeping track of the cons, said Dickenson.

Kevin Dickenson is in the top 2% of 64,000 Prudential agents nationally and can be contacted through his website http://www.kevindickenson.com.

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Posted On: Palm Beach, FL (Vocus/PRWEB) December 02, 2010