Foreclosure & Financial Counseling

NEWS:  Information from Comptroller of the Currency regarding settlement with major lenders for households who had foreclosure action in 2009 and 2010.  Click here to download the entire announcement. 

    

If you are facing difficulty paying your mortgage or foreclosure, your best course of action is to seek a mortgage counselor. This section includes a link to a complete list of HUD-approved mortgage counselors*

This is a link to a website maintained by the federal government's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  It provides information on agencies based in Washington State that are part of HUD's Housing Counseling Program, or are National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) grantees through NeighborWorks® America. Note: ARCH does not provide direct assistance to households facing foreclosure.

Take Action Yourself

Click on any of the following for links to get information about what options you have:
Washington Foreclosure Prevention Resource Guide
Avoiding Foreclosure Scams
Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling
Ways to Avoid Foreclosure
Refinancing and Loan Modification
Upcoming Foreclosure Seminars
Your Housing Options if you are Facing Foreclosure
More info at the Washington State Office of the Attorney General
More info at Washington Law Help (Solutions to civil and legal problems for low-income people)
Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (Foreclosure page)
Policy Information Regarding Foreclosure
The Emergency Homeowners Loan Program (EHLP)
The Foreclose Fairness Act Mediation Program


If you need an attorney: contact the Home Foreclosure Legal Aid Project Hotline at 1-877-894-HOME (4463).

Avoiding Foreclosure Scams

From the Federal Trade Commission’s website:

“The possibility of losing your home to foreclosure can be terrifying. The reality that scam artists are preying on the vulnerability of desperate homeowners is equally frightening. Many so-called foreclosure rescue companies or foreclosure assistance firms claim they can help you save your home. Some are brazen enough to offer a money-back guarantee. Unfortunately, once most of these foreclosure fraudsters take your money, they leave you much the worse for wear.

Fraudulent foreclosure “rescue” professionals use half truths and outright lies to sell services that promise relief and then fail to deliver. Their goal is to make a quick profit through fees or mortgage payments they collect from you, but do not pass on to the lender. Sometimes, they assume ownership of your property by deceiving you, the homeowner. Then, when it’s too late to save your home, they take the property or siphon off the equity. You’ve lost your home to foreclosure despite your best intentions.“

Click here to sign up for scam alerts and to get further information on known scams in this area.

Ways to Avoid Foreclosure

If you are at risk of missing a payment or have missed payments, talk to your lender.  You might ask your lender for forbearance (delaying action on a loan due) – if you are confident that the financial situation that has resulted in missed mortgage payments is temporary and that the lender can reasonably expect you to catch up on those missed payments then this may be an option that the lender will entertain.  Forbearance gives you time to make up missed payments.  Spreading out repayment of the missed payments over time might be suggested.  This is known as a repayment plan.  In rare instances they might even agree debt forgiveness, forgiving a payment.  Other options might be refinancing to include the missed payments in the total debt owed, loan modification which changes the terms of the loan such as how long you have to repay (the amortization period) and the interest rate charged.  A partial claim, that is providing a separate loan for the missed payments might be another option.

After several missed payments you will likely get a notice of default.  If you have an notice of default filed against you, then you will be extended a short period of time to make up the missed payments to stop the foreclosure.  If you can’t make those payments the remaining options are to sell your home, do a short sale if the amount you owe is greater than the value of the home (pre-foreclosure redeemed), or do a deed-in-lieu which gives the property back to the lender.  The lender may allow you to live in the property until it is sold.

It is best to discuss these options with a foreclosure avoidance counselor.  Click here for a list of HUD recommended counselors.

There has been much on the news about programs to help households with Fannie or Freddie loans.  For information on refinancing and loan modifications for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loans click here.

For more tips on avoiding foreclosure click here.

Refinancing and Loan Modification

Consult a foreclosure avoidance counselor or your lender to see if you might qualify for either refinancing or loan modification.  Click here for a list of HUD approved foreclosure avoidance counselors.

Certain loans owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may qualify for a Home Affordable Refinance.  Click here to be taken to the website that describes that program.

Upcoming Foreclosure Seminars

From time to time, organizations in the region put together seminars to help those who might be facing foreclosure.  These seminars bring borrowers together with lenders, counselors and other service providers. As we become aware of such seminars we will post notices here. 

Your Housing Options if you are Facing Foreclosure

You will need a place to live after going through foreclosure.  A foreclosure will have an adverse effect on your credit scores and that may impact your ability to rent or get a mortgage.  Your foreclosure counselor may help you sort through the possible options.  Click here for a list of foreclosure avoidance counselors.

If you are looking for rental housing, click here to see get access to the Apartment Finder list of properties. 

For Eastside rental options, click here to see the ARCH-maintained list of affordable rental properties. 

Policy information

Click on any of the following for links to get more information on government policies that help address the mortgage crisis:

Foreclosure Trends in East King County

National Foreclosure Policy
Resources intended to help states and localities respond to the foreclosure crisis. Site is maintained by the Center for Housing Policy, KnowledgePlex, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Urban Institute.

 

Housing and Economic Recovery Act
HUD maintained website detailing the program which helps owner-occupied homeowners through the mortgage crisis and makes housing more affordable.  The program will begin on October 1, 2008 and sunset on September 30, 2011

Refinancing for non-government insured mortgages
Blueprint for an American Built to Last: Making refinancing possible for responsible borrowers who do not have government insured home loans.  (From President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address)

Obama Foreclosure Plan
White House maintained blog that describes the President’s strategy for economic recovery and solving the foreclosure crisis.

Fannie Mae
Look up website to help determine if your mortgage qualifies for a Making Home Affordable Program refinance or modification

Freddie Mac
Part of Freddie Mac’s online guide for finding, buying and keeping a home, focused on what to do if facing foreclosure

Neighborhood Stabilization Program
Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development website on the implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization program here in Washington.  Program brings federal dollars to municipalities with the highest incidence or risk of foreclosures helping them in stopping the deflation of surrounding home values and increasing home sales.  This program has not been targeted for East King County, although it is in other areas of the state.

NeighborWorks America published research and reports
Website designed to help counselors and local leaders involved in planning and implementing  foreclosure intervention programs

* This is a link to a website maintained by the federal government's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It provides information on agencies based in Washington State that are part of HUD's Housing Counseling Program, or are National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) grantees through NeighborWorks® America.