Five Tips to Prevent Foreclosure

By: Diana Pando

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsForeclosure impacts families and destabilizes communities. At The Resurrection Project we continue our commitment to create healthy communities by providing free Foreclosure Prevention workshops to homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage. Our goal is to educate and empower homeowners with the tools they need to stay in their homes and stabilize communities. You should never have to pay to get access to these services to help you keep your home. Call 312-666-1323 or e-mail to learn more about our workshops.

If you are a homeowner experiencing difficulty keeping up with your mortgage payments, it can leave you feeling vulnerable. According to a CNN Money article published earlier this year, “Illinois is one of a handful of states with a concentration of zip codes with the highest foreclosure rates.” Being proactive and educating yourself on the different options to prevent foreclosure will make the process less stressful, help you make educated decisions, and get access to the resources you need to keep your home. Here are five basic tips that can help you prevent foreclosure:

1. COMMUNICATE: If you are starting to have financial difficulties and having a hard time paying your mortgage, make sure you contact your lender and respond to any correspondence you may receive from them.

2. READ: Look for your loan documents and understand what your mortgage rights are if you can’t make payments to your lender.

3. SPEND LESS: If you want to keep your home you will have to review your finances and figure out what areas of spending need to be cut or reduced and applied to your mortgage. Example of areas you might be able to trim include cable and eating out frequently until you are back on track with your mortgage.

4. AVOID FOR-PROFIT FORECLOSURE PREVENTION COMPANIES: These for-profit organizations claim to help you keep your home but will charge you huge fees that can be used towards a mortgage payment instead.

5. OPTIONS: Keeping your home is a priority and educating yourself to prevent foreclosure is critical to keeping your home. Some prevention foreclosure options include the Home Affordability Refinance Program, forbearance, a short sale, deed-in-lieu, and the Making Home Affordable Modification.

Another thing to consider when trying to keep your home is not to fall prey to foreclosure and mortgage scams. According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, reporter Mary Ellen Podmolik says, “Since the housing crisis began, unscrupulous individuals have sought to profit from the misfortunes of desperate, unsuspecting homeowners, emptying their pockets while promising assistance that never materializes.”

Make sure you are not a victim of a foreclosure/mortgage scam. Below are some common red flags you need to look out for when working with an individual or organization that claims to help you keep your home.

  • They want you to pay them large fees upfront and only accept cashiers checks and wire transfer payments. You should never pay individuals and organizations claiming to help you keep your home.
  • They start discouraging you from speaking to your lender and attorney.
  • They advise you not to respond and appear at a court summons. Please note the process will continue without you and you will be one step closer to foreclosure.
  • They start to pressure you into signing the deed to your home or other documents without consulting an attorney. You should never sign anything you haven’t read or clearly understand.
  • They insist you lease your home and buy it back over a period of time.

The Resurrection Project was founded in 1990 by concerned neighbors to help families avoid scams such as these. As an organization, we help hundreds of people each year keep their homes.
“The community we serve has limited English proficiency and government programs do not always accept or have documents translated into Spanish,” says TRP Home Preservation Manager Alicia Gutierrez. “The benefit of working with us is that we provide free service in Spanish and English. We are also a HUD-certified counseling agency that can provide foreclosure options like home retention or dignified exit options.”

You can also get more information on foreclosure and mortgage scams by going to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Website. If you suspect mortgage fraud, report it to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) at 1-800-532-8785.

Don’t forget our Foreclosure Prevention Workshops are free and scheduled regularly. You should never have to pay to get access to these services to help you keep your home. Call 312-666-1323 or e-mail to learn more about our workshops.

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