When it comes to helping home owners in financial trouble, no two organizations are alike. Some do round-the-clock foreclosure prevention events that draw thousands of borrowers; others offer walk-in service via a storefront. You can also get foreclosure counseling online or on the phone.
Here are just a few of the ways counseling agencies, community organizations, mortgage bankers, and mortgage insurers are reaching out to distressed home owners across the nation.
Phone a foreclosure counselor
Awake in the middle of the night because you’re worried about losing your home to foreclosure? The Homeownership Preservation Foundation, Minneapolis, takes calls 24/7 at its HOPE™ Hotline at 888/995-HOPE. It can hook you up with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-certified counselor. Because it’s tied to an industry alliance of counselors and mortgage companies, the HOPE™ Hotline has great connections with bank staffers around the country who have the power to help you avoid foreclosure.
Go online for foreclosure help
For those who prefer to type rather than talk, several groups offer online foreclosure prevention. Try the Consumer Credit Counseling Agency of Atlanta’s CredAbility live chat program, which helps borrowers anywhere in the United States.
Another option: HOPE NOW has an online calculator that checks your eligibility for federal government loan modification programs.
Walk in to get foreclosure help
The Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, a Boston-based nonprofit community advocacy and home ownership organization, runs foreclosure counseling events that look more like rock concerts or gospel revivals.
Mortgage bankers and mortgage servicers send representatives to NACA’s multiday foreclosure prevention events so you can sit down and talk face-to-face with a human being. If your mortgage lender sends staff to the event (and most large lenders do), you may even be able to get your case resolved on the spot.
The biggest foreclosure events draw thousands of people, so be prepared to wait all day for your turn, and don’t bring the kids—they’ll just go nuts from the boredom.
Foreclosure help right in your neighborhood
Neighborhood organizations like those in the NeighborWorks® America alliance work to improve communities. Most alliance members offer foreclosure counseling workshops, one-on-one counseling sessions, and other home ownership services designed to help you buy a home or keep the home you have despite financial challenges.
Get foreclosure help from your mortgage insurer
If you put down less than 20% when you bought your house, chances are you have mortgage insurance. That mortgage insurance pays a claim to your lender if you stop paying your mortgage. To collect, your mortgage lender has to do what the insurer says.
Since getting you to pay some of your mortgage means paying a smaller claim than having you pay none of your mortgage, mortgage insurance companies like United Guaranty in Greensboro, N.C., will work with you.
Your mortgage insurance company may work out a deal with your lender to give you extra time to catch up on missed payments, to reduce or even suspend your monthly payment for up to a year, to cut your interest rate, or to extend the length of your loan. To find out if you have mortgage insurance, look at your settlement statement (if you still have it) or call your mortgage lender.