The St. Ambrose Legal Services department has compiled the following tips for what to do if you’re slipping towards foreclosure:
- Ask for help as soon as you realize you are in financial trouble. The sooner you ask, the more likely you are to get the necessary support to resolve the problem.
- Stay in contact with your bank/lender so that they are aware of your situation. If you are upfront and transparent about your financial situation, your bank will better understand your needs and interests.
- Do not pay fees for services to assist you with your financial situation when the service is available for free. Thoroughly investigate anyone who is charging you for financial services and what they are doing for the fees.
- Take advantage of free services! The state and the banks will inform you of free counseling and legal services that are available to you.
- Do not take advice from friends, neighbors, or family, unless they are trained in financing.
- Open all of your mail, promptly. Don’t assume you already know what’s inside.
- There is no way to get out of the debt obligation. Don’t bother looking for a way out. Instead, determine if a loan modification is a viable option for you.
- Understand your responsibilities under the debt obligation. A deed of trust is the same thing as a mortgage. A deed is the document that transfers ownership of real estate.
- Know your rights and don’t sign any contracts unless you fully understand the document. You may be offered a ‘friendly foreclosure’ at mediation, but thoroughly research the implications of this sort of agreement before signing any contract.
- Do not think the problem will just go away. If you cannot afford your house, start considering what next steps you will take in order to find a new living space.
The threat of foreclosure can be intimidating, but being informed of your rights and responsibilities can make the process easier. Going through a foreclosure doesn’t mean losing everything. If you remain informed and proactive throughout the process you’ll be able to salvage the maximum amount of your investment. Find help, resolve the problem, and look ahead to life after foreclosure. Call St. Ambrose for free legal advice and foreclosure counseling: 410-366-8550