Fighting foreclosure? Keep these 5 things in mind

Foreclosure filings nationally rose 33 percent in June compared with the same month last year, according to data collected by RealtyTrac, Inc. While the company is the nationally recognized source of foreclosure information, analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows wide discrepancies as the statistics pertain to metro Atlanta.

By any standard, the number of Georgia homeowners on the verge of losing their homes, and those who have already done so, is in the thousands. This week’s Voice of the Expert is Mechel Glass, director of education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta. She provides critically important tips for people who find themselves fighting for their homes.

Says Glass:

If you are behind on your mortgage payments, you are not alone. Millions of Americans either are late on their mortgage, or have been recently.

During this mortgage crisis some people have successfully worked with their lenders to bring payments up to date. In many of those cases help came in the form of a loan modification.

A loan modification is a change to your mortgage terms, such as extending the length of your loan, or reducing the interest rate.

Here are Glass’ five points to keep in mind when seeking help with a past-due mortgage:

1. Seek help! Studies show nearly half the people who lose homes to foreclosure never talked with their lender. Ignoring your lender’s phone calls and letters guarantees you will lose control of events.

2. Contact your lender’s loss mitigation department as soon as you think you may fall behind. If you are already behind and are getting calls from the collections department, be aware that it is the loss mitigation department, not collections, where employees are able to offer a loan modification.

3. Keep a contact log near the phone so you can track the names and contact information for everyone you speak with. Mortgage servicers are swamped with people calling these days, so it’s up to you to document any progress you make toward a solution.

4. If the negotiation process is overwhelming and you want a third party to help you get a loan modification, beware of the growing incidence of scams preying on people with mortgage problems. Two red flags are if a company “guarantees” it can get you a loan modification, or if it charges a big upfront fee. Only the lender can guarantee a result and there is no reason to pay for help with a loan modification.

5. If you are not comfortable calling your lender on your own, or are not sure what to say, please call a HUD-approved certified credit counseling agency where you can get help. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta helps people save their homes from foreclosure every day. Counseling is confidential and free. To get started call: 1-800-251-2227.

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains

Have a story idea? Email rcash@ajc.com

11 comments Add your comment

Tony Orlando

July 24th, 2009
7:45 am

Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

Buckheadbill

July 26th, 2009
3:13 pm

6. Send your mortgage payment monthly.

Buckheadbill

July 26th, 2009
3:14 pm

Enter your comments here

PT

July 26th, 2009
4:51 pm

Buckhead, cant wait til you lose your job. Dont post comments about nothing you know about

Phyllis Thomas

July 28th, 2009
12:16 am

Come to the Dream Event Aug. 7-10th at the World Congress Center. NACA has helped thousands for free!

Phyllis Thomas

July 28th, 2009
12:16 am

Go to http://www.naca.com and see for yourself!

[...] Journal-Constitution shows wide discrepancies as the statistics pertain to metro Atlanta…full article. Foreclosure, Foreclosure News, Prevention [...]

Tony Cartman

August 25th, 2009
2:26 pm

Well, good points for those who wants to fight foreclosure. Just to illustrate, in http://www.foreclosurelistings.com/ I could see a lot of properties for sale, showing that millions of americans are facing the problem.

david

September 6th, 2009
6:44 am

On Aug 27 NACA was charged in Atlanta by the SEB for 50,000 counts of voter fraud naca is a joke.

[...] The nonprofit organization helps consumers wade through all types of financial issues, from fighting foreclosure to building an emergency savings fund and [...]

Keepthefactsstraight

June 17th, 2010
4:37 pm

NACA is not the problem, the person giving the information is the problem…Why Lie!!!!

I saved over $1000 thru NACA! I will vote every single election….