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6 Simple Steps to Avoid Foreclosure
Over 2 Million homeowners have lost their homes, and millions more are at risk of losing their homes in the next 12 months. Are you one of them? If so, you need this practical, step-by-step guide to help you take action before it's too late.
In 6 Simple Steps to Avoid Foreclosure, K. Patrice Williams offers honest advice on all of your options, weighs the pros and cons of each, and shares smart, practical strategies for lowering your payments and keeping your home. She points out the too-good-to-be-true foreclosure rescue offers you should avoid, and offers real alternatives that work--now!
Williams holds a JD and is a former real estate investor who understands the loan servicing industry inside and out. And she understands the pressure you're under. Don't worry! You're not alone. Inside, you'll find the calm, professional advice you need to manage your financial crisis, including topics such as:
* The foreclosure time-clock--why acting early is critical
* Handling collection calls
* Cutting expenses and rebuilding your budget
* Negotiating with your lender
* Utilizing all your legal defenses
* Using bankruptcy to save your home
* Selling your home to avoid foreclosure while saving your credit
* Finding legitimate help and avoiding rescue scams
Get Organized. Act Now.
o Overcoming feelings of Depression, Hopelessness and Worry
o Stress Management Techniques
o Create a Household Budget
o Improve the budget: Increase Income, Decrease Expenses
o Put your Health first, Mortgage Payment Second, Other Bills Last
DEPRESSION, DENIAL, PROCRASTINATION
Don’t let depression, denial or procrastination keep you from saving your home. Take a moment know to get encouraged, inspired, informed, pray and then you really do need to take immediate action.
The more information you have about the foreclosure process, foreclosure prevention techniques, and what to expect when contacting the lender..then the better and quicker you can act. I learned in law school, that the way to overcome enormous stress was to empower oneself, by the act of “preparation”.
I understand first hand that having financial troubles is emotional and extremely stressful. My family had felt the effects of the changing economy, a year before the media and politicians began to realize it. Although I had left a 6 figure job to go to law school, it took me months to find the job of my dreams. The dream job came with a $40,000 salary decrease than when I left to pursue my advanced degree. I worked during the day, on weekends I battled intense feelings of paralyzing guilt, stress and anxiety. There were many days, in which, I stayed burrowed in a room, with the lights out, shades pulled and under my covers. I shut down emotionally and stopped talking to my family and friends.
Once I figured out that being depressed was going to lose some of my properties, I knew I had to do something quick. I gave myself 3 days to get over myself. Maybe you aren’t depressed, but are experiencing some of the same emotions; the end result is the same. You need to quickly get through any debilitating part of your emotions and move to TAKE ACTION as soon as possible. The following are techniques I used:
Take 3 days: To overcome Depression:
My best friend, is a Professional in the field of Education with a BA in Psychology. She gave me the following prescription to assist me in quickly coming out of my depression. Fill out and make a number of photocopies of the Checklist to post on your mirror to read, as you brush your teeth in the morning and at night. Put a copy in your bible, next to your computer to view during work breaks. While reviewing the checklist it is important to picture in your mind things that make you feel happy.
For example, I would envision my son laughing; the way I feel in my husband’s arms when he holds me; the way I feel in church or the way my parents looked at me during my law school graduation party—it was a look of love and pride that I only know because I am a mother. Anyway, you know what thoughts and visions make you happy…tap into these feelings while reading the checklist.
(See Appendix II for a Overcome Depression Checklist to photocopy).
Overcome depression one day, one moment at a time. Be in this moment of your life, be in the “right now”. Right now, you have your home and you should fight to keep it.
Concentrate on feeling great, during the day. Make sure you feel better everyday, even if it is a little bit.
When in the moments you feel bad, stop right where you are and list your blessings and accomplishments.
List your biggest accomplishments, this is your grateful list, review and be thankful.
Guilt is an emotional waste of time.
As long as you have your health, you an overcome anything, therefore you must preserve and take care of your health.
Stress Management Techniques:
My good friend also gave me techniques to better manage my stress. The belief is that excessive stress tears down the body and makes you exhausted.
Check your medical coverage for:
Talk over problems with a psychologist (2nd choice an objective 3rd party)
Acupuncture and Chiropractic adjustments
Eliminate stress toxins by:
Exercise/Yoga/Stretching (purchase tapes on loan from the local library)
Losing Excess Weight
Invest in and take a good daily vitamin
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
Get at least 1-2 hours of natural sunlight a day (sit or walk outside during lunch breaks, open the curtains and blinds when you are home)
Only talk to people who are positive, limit communication with co-workers, family and/or friend who are negative
Regroup: Emotionally, Mentally, Physically, and Spiritually.
Attend church, pray and Read Psalms
Take Selfish time: Do your hair, give yourself a Manicure or Pedicure, have your spouse give you an hour massage everyday, take a quiet hot soke in the tub daily
Reconnect with friends and family.
SET A REALISTIC GOAL AND PLAN:
Develop a goal. Examples include:
1) Stopping the foreclosure and continue living in the home
2) Stall the foreclosure process long enough to find a buyer and sell the house
3) Quickly sell the home to stop the foreclosure from hitting your credit report.
The end goal depends on your current financial situation. Did you for one reason or another become unable to make the payments but have since recovered and are not able to easily make the original payment? Can you pay a large payment to assist in bringing the mortgage current and then continue to make the payments, or reduced payments? Are you unable to make mortgage payments at all?
Develop an action plan that will meet the goal that you detailed in the section above. Action Plans would include:
1) Make bill paying automatic
2) Reduce household expenses. Compare and reduce automobile and house insurance policies; carpool to save gas, eliminate Starbucks and fast food, bring leftovers for lunch, reduce or eliminate cable and other excess spending.
3) Increase household income. Take on a 2nd job, maximize the salary of household members by obtaining a higher paying position, take in room mates, landlords should increase cash flow on rental properties (increase rent, tight rent collection activities).
Without understanding your finances and initiating a game plan, you will have a more difficult time in negotiating what you want! The key to successful negotiations also include thoroughly understand all the options that are available to you. Curing a foreclosure requires a plan. You should know understand that there are many, many critical factors in determining the fate of your home ownership.
One of the keys to successfully being about to legally stop a foreclosure is to communicate with the lender. Don’t ignore the problem of a pending foreclosure by not answering the mortgage lenders calls or opening their letters. The further behind a borrower becomes, the more difficult to reinstate the loan, and therefore the more likely the borrower to lose the house.
The first notices you will receive will probably include loss prevention options. Later mail may include important notice of pending legal action. Failure to open the mail will not be an excuse in stopping the foreclosure process. Not contacting the lender as soon as you know that there will be a difficulty paying your mortgage. Lenders have options to help borrowers through difficult financial times.
If you are unable to make your mortgage payment:
o Immediately develop a financial plan to prioritize your spending. After healthcare, keeping your house should be first priority. Review your finances to see where you can cut spending in order to make your mortgage payment. Look for optional expenses including cable tv, memberships, entertainment that can be eliminated.
o Delay payments on unsecured debt including credit cares until you have paid your mortgage
o Increase income.. Can anyone in your household get an extra job to bring in the additional income?
o Sell assets. Do you have a 2nd or 3rd car, jewelry, a whole life insurance policy that you can sell for cash to help reinstate your loan?
Even if these efforts don’t significantly increase your available cash or your income, they demonstrate to your lender that you are making sacrifices to keep you home.