Frequently Asked Questions - IHDA and NAFP

Q: What does it mean to be in Foreclosure?

A: To foreclose is the legal process that a homeowner in default on a mortgage is deprived of interest in the property. This usually involves a forced sale of the property at public auction with the proceeds of the sale being applied to the mortgage debt. When you have missed two months worth of payments you have defaulted on your loan, but you are not yet in foreclosure. The foreclosure proceedings will not initiate until the mortgage lender or bank submits paper work to a prosecuting attorney.

Q: What are my options?

A: Once the mortgage lender sends letters informing you of the foreclosure it is important that you keep your head up; find a way to fix things. Immediately start considering your options of another loan, refinancing, etc. On the other hand, if you know you are in over your head then selling is always an option. To keep from falling deep into the foreclosure process, it is really important to weigh out your options, looking at your finances and what you can afford in the future.

Q: Who do I turn to?

A: You can talk to your mortgage lender about your options with payments adjustments on another loan. If you decide to sell the house, there are local investors who can help you get your feet back on the ground. If you decide to sell your home, make sure you are getting help from credible sources and of course don't ever sign anything before reading it.

Q: If I am in foreclosure, how much time do I have until I have to leave the house?

A: Most states, the house is not publicly advertised until the 130th day of the foreclosure process. If you look online or go to the library and look up your state legislature, you will find a slue of detailed statutes. Do some research so you know exactly what timeline you are dealing with, but the bottom line is to act as quickly and wisely as possible.

Q: Does the lender have the right to repossess my house, even though I have been paying for it all this time?

A: Unfortunately, yes. Even though you only missed those few payments and had paid so many others, the mortgage documents or deed of trust (depending if you live in a judicial or non-judicial state) gives the lender the right to foreclose and repossess the property after you have defaulted on payments for a certain length of time.

Q: What is refinancing and how can it help me out of foreclosure?

A: By refinancing, you are essentially taking another loan. The new loan is based off a new appraisal of your property. One benefit of refinancing is that you can sometimes get a lower interest rate, in turn, decreasing your monthly mortgage rate. However, refinancing is not for everyone. It can also put you at higher risk for foreclosure depending on a number of factors. Really do some research and talk to someone who can advise you well on this option.

Q: If I lose my house in foreclosure are my chances of buying again lessened?

A: If you apply for a loan on another house, your past foreclosure will show in your credit history. This does not mean you will not qualify for a loan; however you are less likely to receive, for instance, a low down payment loan. It is very important to stay informed and knowledgeable in how to stop the foreclosure before it happens. There are people who are willing to take the time and help. By calling the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE, they'll help you work with your mortgage company to pay back your loan and stay out of foreclosure.

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