According to Google search result trends, searches for foreclosure increased 47% in the past week. This is a staggering number, and proof that American homeowners are deeply concerned about the impact of coronavirus.
I’ve practiced foreclosure defense for the past seven years, and I’ve never seen a time where the threat of foreclosure has ever been so dire. Here, I want to discuss help for homeowners during coronavirus.
Speak to Your Lender Directly If You Are Behind on Your Mortgage Payments
The first step for anyone facing foreclosure is to speak with their mortgage lender, as soon as possible. Don’t wait until a foreclosure sale is scheduled; start as soon as you realize you may need assistance with your mortgage payments.
In Massachusetts (as well as most other states), there are few, if any, requirements for a mortgage lender to offer a homeowner foreclosure assistance, such as a loan modification. Fortunately, most lenders will consider such relief: if often makes more sense to get a homeowner into an affordable payment plan than foreclose.
Many lenders, thankfully, are offering foreclosure assistance in lite of the coronavirus pandemic. I wouldn’t be surprised if the federal government offers a loan modification program like the Home Affordable Modification Program offered years ago, during the financial meltdown.
Keep Good Records, Keep Good Records, Keep Good Records
What’s the most important advice for homeowners during the coronavirus? Keep good records. Lenders are going to be swamped with requests from homeowners facing foreclosure. Paperwork will get lost, and mistakes in reviewing these requests will be made.
Keeping good records is critical if your mortgage lender denies you foreclosure assistance, and legal action becomes necessary.
Understand the Foreclosure Process
While many homeowners, understandably, are concerned about the threat of foreclosure, it’s important to understand the foreclosure process. Massachusetts (like most states) has a lengthy process for foreclosure, which generally requires a right to cure period for the homeowner. Foreclosure takes months, and sometimes years, to occur.
While homeowners need to be proactive in addressing foreclosure, foreclosure doesn’t happen overnight, and homeowners do not need to be worried about being thrown out of their homes unexpectedly. This is especially true now, as many lenders are putting moratoriums on the foreclosure process.
Please stay safe during the coronavirus. If you need assistance with a foreclosure matter, contact me. I’m not doing in-person consultations, but I am available by phone.