Getting Help from Others to Avoid a Foreclosure - dummies

Getting Help from Others to Avoid a Foreclosure

By Ralph R. Roberts, Lois Maljak, Paul Doroh, Joseph Kraynak

Your most valuable assets during the foreclosure process are people who can help you — including friends, family, and professionals. Before or during the foreclosure process, you should draw up a list of people you can lean on.

Before you even start missing mortgage payments, your bank has a plan in place to deal with the situation and collect on the debt. You need your own plan to counter that attack. Are you going to try to save your home? Do you want to sell it to get out from under the burden? Who can help answer your questions or assist with financial or other obligations during the foreclosure process?

Your list is likely to include the following:

  • Friends and relatives with money: Your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or rich aunt or uncle may be in a position to assist you financially by loaning you the money you need to catch up on payments or redeem your property. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. After all, if you were in a position to help a friend or relative in the same situation, wouldn’t you want him to ask you for help?

  • Friends and relatives without money: Even if your friends and relatives are not well off financially, they can assist in other ways, such as watching your kids so you can work overtime, cooking meals for you and your family, or offering moral support.

  • Bank representative: Although you may see the foreclosing bank as your bitter enemy, the bank’s representative or attorney may be your biggest ally or at least the person who can offer the most assistance. She may give you a few extra weeks to get your money together or work out a payment plan with you.

  • Real estate agent: A real estate agent may be able to sell your house for you before you lose it and all the equity you have in it. Even if you don’t plan on selling your home, contact a real estate agent to explore this option.

  • Register of deeds: Your county’s register of deeds is likely to be reluctant in offering any advice, but the person may be able to refer you to others who can assist you.

  • Sheriff: If the county sheriff is in charge of handling the foreclosure sale, he may be willing to explain to you how the system works and provide you with some valuable information.

  • Bankruptcy attorney: Filing for bankruptcy may be your best option. Depending on your situation, you can either liquidate assets under Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have all debts erased, or reorganize under Chapter 13 bankruptcy to pay off as much debt as reasonable and possibly even save your home.

  • Foreclosure attorney: A qualified attorney who has experience in foreclosures in your area is the ultimate go-to guy or gal, assuming you can afford the services. The attorney can review your mortgage, note, and other legal documents; inform you of your rights; let you know when the lender has failed to adhere to the rules and regulations in your jurisdiction; and represent you in court.