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Finally, in order to prevent these kinds of problems in the future, here are our recommendations. Please use the tips included in these postings to work with your lender/servicer to come to an arrangement you can afford. If you need help in that negotiation, contact 888.995.HOPE, Community HousingWorks and/or the Housing Opportunities Collaborative for certified free non-profit loss mitigation counseling. Be careful out there!
How can I reduce the risk of foreclosure when I purchase or refinance my home?
Take advantage of pre-Purchase counseling offered by not-for-profit organizations.
- Homeowners can avoid trouble later on by making informed decisions while purchasing their homes. Borrowers who are most likely to keep their homes understand their mortgage options and how much they can really afford. Education also helps borrowers identify and avoid unscrupulous sellers or lenders. A recent study found that borrowers who received counseling have half the default risk as those who did not.
- Avoid prepayment penalties and balloon payments. People who refinance their mortgages with loans containing prepayment penalties or balloon payments are more likely to undergo foreclosure, according to a study by researchers at the University of North Carolina. According to the study, a prepayment penalty increases foreclosure risk by about 20 percent. Mortgages with balloon payments were 46 percent more likely to go to foreclosure than loans without. Protect the equity in your home n it’s a valuable source of wealth that will build over time.
- Stay on top of home repairs and maintenance. NeighborWorks organizations provide counseling in home maintenance and repairs and rehabs that improve the value of a home. Too often emergency repairs and less-than-trustworthy contractors push a homeowner into foreclosure.