Are you facing foreclosure? If so, you're not alone. Millions of homeowners across the country have found themselves unable to keep their homes in today's down economy. Investors let go of properties in strategic defaults and still other homeowners made tough decisions to walk-away from homes in search of jobs in new cities.
RealtyTrac, the leading online marketplace of foreclosure properties, reports that 1 in every 611 housing units received a foreclosure filing in July of this year.
While this figure is a dramatic decline from July 2010, James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, makes it clear that this trend has little to do with economic recovery and more to do with a slowed pace of foreclosure processing. "July foreclosure activity dropped 35 percent from a year ago, marking the 10th straight month of year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity and the lowest monthly total since November 2007," he said. "This string of decreases was initially triggered by the robo-signing controversy back in October 2010, which forced lenders to substantially slow the pace of foreclosing, but the downward trend in foreclosure activity has now taken on a life of its own. It appears that the foreclosure processing delays, combined with the smorgasbord of national and state-level foreclosure prevention efforts -- including loan modifications, lender-borrower mediations and mortgage payment assistance for the unemployed -- may be allowing more distressed homeowners to stave off foreclosure."
"Unfortunately, the falloff in foreclosures is not based on a robust recovery in the housing market but on short-term interventions and delays that will extend the current housing market woes into 2012 and beyond," Saccacio continued. "A stabilizing economy and improving job market are the long-term keys to a housing market recovery."
Overall, just ten states account for more than 70 percent of all foreclosures. These states are:
If you are one of the millions facing foreclosures, then please read these tips:
1. Lender Communication: Don't ignore phone calls or letters. Lenders need to know why you're behind on your payments. They may have programs available to help.
2. Foreclosure Counseling: There are financial advisors that specialize in your situation. Perhaps foreclosure is avoidable. According to HUD, "Foreclosure prevention counseling services are provided free of charge by nonprofit housing counseling agencies working in partnership with the Federal Government."
3. Refinancing: Interest rates are at historic 50 year lows. If you have good credit, don't ruin it with a foreclosure. Refinance your home for a lower monthly payment.
4. Be Prepared: If it's inevitable that you'll lose your home, be sure that you have a back-up plan. Don't wait until the last minute to remove your belongings from the home, otherwise you run the risk of being evicted by the Sheriff and forfeiting the rights to your property. If you have no money, contact relatives or friends for a temporary place to house your family.
5. Explore Options: Don't accept defeat. There may be a government program available. Visit Hud.gov for help.