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With all of the foreclosures being seen around San Diego County and a fairly depressing housing market, how will people get through this cycle and come out on top for the next one?? Whether you are trying to save your home from foreclosure or just planning your real estate asset management strategy — I’ll do my best to give you expert advice, so please ask away!

How should I avoid mortgage trouble?

  • Prioritize your expenses. Prioritize your bills and pay the ones that are most necessary for the well-being of you and your family, such as shelter, food, and utilities.
  • Protect your credit score. When you are experiencing a financial challenge, remember that making late payments or skipping them can seriously affect your credit score.
  • Beware of scams. Beware of predatory lenders, pre-approved loan offers and phony counseling agencies. Homeowners facing financial troubles are especially vulnerable because they are desperate to find a solution to their problems. Legitimate counseling agencies will offer their programs for free or for a small administrative charge. Check with a lawyer or your mortgage company before signing anything involving your home. Do not sign anything you do not understand. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has more information about avoiding predatory lending on their website, www.hud.gov.

What should I do if I miss a mortgage payment?

  • Call for help — it’s the most important thing you can do. More than half of homeowners facing foreclosure did not call for help when they fell behind in their mortgage payments.
  • Don’t make a bad situation worse. Ignoring your situation won’t make it go away. Take the steps provided in this sheet to protect your home, your family and your credit rating.
  • Notify the bank as soon as you know your payment will be late. Calling when you are 30 or 60 days late is better than calling when you are 120 days late. You still have some options. You must put your pride on hold if you’re truly serious about stopping the foreclosure process. Remember that foreclosure is not in the best interest of lenders — lenders report that it costs up to $50,000 or almost half the loan balance each time they write off a foreclosure.
  • Work it out. Depending on the situation, the lender may lower the interest rate, lower the borrower’s monthly payment, or enter into a repayment agreement for missed payments.
  • Avoid foreclosure rescue scams by calling a reputable nonprofit organization. HOPE for Homeowners, (888) 995-HOPE, is an independent, third-party resource that is part of a HUD-certified, not-for-profit network dedicated to helping homeowners 24/7. HOPE counselors are trained to set up a plan of action designed just for you and your situation. (También hablan Español). When you call HOPE for Homeowners, you won’t be judged, you won’t pay a dime, and most of all, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Local HOME Clinics providing counseling and legal intervention and foreclosure prevention. The Housing Opportunities Collaborative is a collaboration of the HUD housing counseling agencies in San Diego county along with other housing counselors/providers and municipalities. See website for the next event.

GABE DEL RIO

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