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Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

Once upon a time, I collected words of wisdom that I had read in books, magazines, etc. I cut them out and pasted them into a notebook with the intention of reading them whenever I needed a little inspiration. Well, you know how these things go. Somewhere along the way, the notebook got stuck in a drawer and forgotten until I found it recently. As I paged through the notebook, I realized that these words of wisdom were not meant to be kept in a notebook, and should be shared so they could inspire others.

My life has changed since I first stuck those words of wisdom in the notebook and now I talk regularly to distressed sellers facing Michigan foreclosures. Many are courageously facing tremendous financial hardship and life situations and I am always impressed with people’s will to fight for their financial future & happiness. However, from talking to these homeowners, I know the fight can be lonely, confusing, overwhelming, stressful and even paralyzing as people facing foreclosure try to figure out who to believe and what to do to get back to better times. So, I share these words of wisdom with the hope they will strengthen you.

 

“Nothing will even be attempted, if all possible objections first be overcome.” Samuel Johnson, “Rasselas”, 1759

“The person who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Chinese proverb.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable task, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain.

“The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps. We must step up the stairs.” Vance Havner

“Let us move on, and step out boldly, though it be into the night and we scarcely see the way.” Charles B. Newcomb

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many. Not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

“The conditions of conquest are always easy. We have but to toil awhile, endure awhile, believe always and never turn back.” Marcus Annaeus Seneca

 

We may not be as wise as these great thinkers, but we do know a few things about helping homeowners facing a Michigan Foreclosure. Give us a call and we can answer your questions, discuss options and help you figure out your goals. You may find the fight for your family’s financial future is easier with our assistance. We deal with lenders every day and we know a lot about how to win that fight. Let us help you to live the words of Helen Keller: “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles.”

Ann

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Working Harder… Than Anyone!

Working Harder…. Than Anyone!

We have always been proud that one of the 4 promises that we always make to distressed sellers facing a Michigan foreclosure is the following.

“We will always work harder than anybody, doing whatever we can, to permanently stop your foreclosure situation”

What exactly does this mean? Well, today, I want to give you some examples.

  • We attend monthly and sometimes weekly webinars and teleconferences to keep current on foreclosure related topics.
  • Our negotiators continually call back a lender until they get questions answered or reasonable updates. Our negotiators will not hesitate to call supervision or even executives if the assigned reviewer is unresponsive or making no progress.
  • When documents need to be signed by anyone involved, we follow up aggressively to make sure they are being addressed in a timely manner and often take it upon ourselves to route the documents for signature instead of waiting for them to go through “normal” channels.
  • We provide regular updates to everyone involved in the transaction

The list goes on but you get the idea. We essentially stay involved in every aspect of the transaction making sure it is moving forward and not stagnant and that communication lines are kept open. Does this sound better than handing your situation over to someone who may have never talked to a foreclosing lender before or trying to deal with the lender yourself? If so, then give us a call and let us put our systems to work for you. We won’t ask you for any money, we’ll keep all your information confidential and we will work harder than anyone else. That is a promise!

Joel

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Should I Stop Making My House Payments?

Should I Stop Making My House Payments?

The other day, I got a call from a seller facing a Michigan foreclosure who said the words that always make me sick: “I was told to stop making my house payments”. The person who gave the advice is sometimes the lender, sometimes a person offering to negotiate a short sale or a loan modification, sometimes a REALTOR® or family member. In my humble opinion, the only person who should be giving advice on whether you make your payment or not is an attorney because they are the only ones who can tell you the legal implications of breaking the contract you have with your lender. After all, you signed a promise to pay back the money when you got your loan to buy the house, and this is the contract you are breaking when you stop payments.

All the other (non-attorney) people may be well-intentioned, but from the calls that I get from homeowners who heed this advice, the outcome is usually not what was expected.

  • Many find out their lender has started foreclosure since they are not receiving payments
  • Many find out too late that they cannot do the work out and now they are so far behind it is a monumental task to get caught back up.
  • Many find out that their credit is being hurt by the missed payments.

The other trap that people fall into is to decide they are going to stop making payments (when they can afford to make them) because the house is not worth what they owe. Out of anger or frustration or despair, they decide to break their agreement to pay the bank. Again, unless this decision is made in consultation with an attorney, tread lightly or you could set yourself up for a Michigan foreclosure.

We will never tell you to stop making payments. This is something that you and your attorney (if you chose to consult one) must decide. We will be glad to discuss your options and help you figure out your goals and share our knowledge with you but we will never tell you to stop making payments. Be wary of anyone (besides an attorney) who is ready to tell you to stop making payments.

If you are facing a Michigan Foreclosure, give us a call. We will not charge you a fee and we will keep all your information confidential. We can help keep you out of traps that will seriously limit your options. We can help get you back on the road to better days.

Ann

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Facing the WHY’s Behind Lenders and Their Actions

Facing the WHY’s Behind Lenders and Their Actions

After talking with struggling sellers for years, the questions why lenders do what they do come up in every conversation:

  • Why won’t my lender give me a break and reduce my loan?
  • Why won’t my lender just give me a few months and I’ll get caught up?
  • Why don’t lenders send people a certified letter when they are going to foreclosure/sheriff sale?
  • Why do they give me the run around?
  • Why aren’t there other options for me in my tough financial situation?

The questions are endless and always start with WHY. Read more…

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Mind Games Lenders Play

Mind Games Lenders Play

My mind keeps playing tricks on me. Little things keep happening that I don’t remember doing. For example, I went to walk the dogs yesterday and couldn’t find 1 dog’s collar. Then I found 2 collars on the other dog. I don’t remember putting both collars on her. This morning we returned from our walk and were locked out of the house! I don’t remember locking the door behind me and no one else was in the house. I am sure I am responsible for these silly little events as I get so lost in my own thoughts that I unconsciously do things without thinking.

I am sure that if you are part of a family who is struggling with a hardship and facing a Michigan foreclosure, you may feel like your lender is playing mind games with you. You can call one day and be told to submit certain information and call back a few days later and they either did not receive it or need you to submit something entirely different. Or you call and are told one thing is going to happen and call back again another day and get told something totally different.

The good news is that you probably are not losing your mind. It can be very frustrating dealing with a lender, especially when you don’t know who to call, what to ask and what to expect. I’m not telling you not to try. I just want to suggest that you should have someone who has experience dealing with the lenders call for you. Someone who has phone numbers that work, and knows what to ask and how to respond to information; someone who has time to sit on hold for 30+ minutes and call back daily, or several times a day if necessary.

That someone is us! We have been working with lenders on behalf of sellers since 2005. In addition to having phone numbers and scripts and procedures, we also have a network of other people like us that we can turn to for help if we get stuck. They often have a phone number or a contact that can help us. Give us a call and unload the burden of dealing with the bank onto our capable shoulders. We will not charge you a fee and we keep everything confidential. We will keep you updated on our progress and move your situation along without you having to sit on hold. Let us go to work for you so you can get back to better times.

Ann

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Myth Busting: “The Michigan Sheriff Sale”

Myth Busting: “The Michigan Sheriff Sale”

I attended the Kalamazoo County (Michigan) Sheriff Sale (foreclosure auction) today for the first time in over a year. It seemed fitting to blog about common questions concerning the Sheriff Sale to dispel some myths. When a person gets behind on their house payment and is facing a Michigan Foreclosure, they will eventually get a foreclosure letter from an attorney notifying them that a sheriff sale has been scheduled. This notice is also taped to the front door and also published for 4-5 weeks in a county newspaper.

Myth Bust #1: “I can’t remove the Michigan Foreclosure notice Read more…

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Bank of America Deficiencies

Bank of America Deficiencies

One of the questions we are most frequently asked by our sellers pertains to the deficiency after the sale is completed – the balance remaining after the bank agrees to a discounted payoff. For instance, if you owe $200,000 and your bank agrees to accept $150,000 to sell the house, what happens to the other $50,000? This is a question to which many people want the answer, and probably you too, right? Going into a short sale, one of the biggest issues in your mind is whether or not you’ll be able to walk away and start over when it’s all said and done.

Most first mortgage holders will agree to waive the deficiency or forgive the debt, so you can just walk away. Many junior mortgage holders will not make any such agreement, but that’s another blog… One of the biggest lenders in the United States, Bank of America, has historically – and notoriously – refused to waive the deficiency in writing, choosing instead to decide what they will do with it after closing. Whether they would forgive the debt or pursue you was an uncertainty. That changed last week.

Jack Schakett, Senior Vice President for Credit and Loss Mitigation Strategies at Bank of America, reportedly said that if you cannot afford the payments and can prove that you have few or no assets, the deficiency will be waived. So if a financial hardship put you behind on your payments, you will most likely be “free to go”. If it is determined that you do have assets, a fee will be set for you to pay at closing. For instance, if the house being sold was a rental, and you had other assets, they might ask you to pay a lump sum or sign a promissory note. It might be the same if you were moving for new employment.

This is huge. This takes all the mystery and guesswork out of the transaction. Either way, the borrower knows upfront what is being accepted or required, which, I think we can all agree, is a step in the right direction for Bank of America. Finally! All that being said, we received a Bank of America short sale approval letter yesterday, and the same old ambiguous language is still in there.

If you find yourself in need of a short sale cash offer and someone to negotiate with your lenders, give us a call to see if we can provide both of those to you.

Melissa

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Wanting It All? Need A Reality Check?

Wanting It All? Need A Reality Check?

As I was talking to sellers facing a Michigan foreclosure this week, I realized that one of the toughest realizations a distressed seller needs to come to grips with is that they cannot have it all.

Just like you can’t eat everything you want and expect to maintain a healthy weight. Or go out drinking all night and expect to feel like you can run a marathon the next day. In the same way, if you have had a financial hardship which has caused you to get behind on your house payments, you cannot expect to stay in the house for long without the bank taking some action.

People seem surprised when the bank refuses to work with them or begins the Michigan foreclosure process. This is going to happen. After all they are losing money and looking for a solution to their problem. People seem surprised when they call the bank to work something out and they get transferred around, have to wait for long period of times, or even send in paperwork that gets lost. This is a reality of the large financial institution you are dealing with. They have hundreds of thousands of distressed sellers to deal with. It is not going to be like calling to ask your local bank how much money is in your account where you can get an immediate and clear answer (wouldn’t THAT be nice)!

Fortunately, while we cannot help you to “have your cake and eat it too” we can help you navigate the financial maze toward a solution. Give us a call and tell Emily “I need a reality check” and let her help you realize what you can have. You can salvage your credit. You can get a fresh start. You can find a solution without paying any fees or getting yourself into a worse situation. Call Emily and find out how not wanting it all actually brings peace of mind and a fresh start.

Ann

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FHA “Short Refi” To The Rescue?

FHA “Short Refi” To The Rescue?

On March 26, 2010 the Department of Housing and Urban Development along with the Treasury Department, in all their infinite wisdom, announced a new FHA refinance plan.  The goal of this plan was to help homeowners who are current on their payments but owe more than their house is worth – in a nutshell, they’re upside-down.

What? But how is that possible? One of the major components of doing a refinance is the appraisal. Without the appraisal proving the home’s worth, there IS no refinance. FHA is telling us they will take a $150,000 loan on a home that is worth $120,000, owned by an individual who is current on his or her payments, and put them into a new FHA loan for only $120,000. But what happens to that $30,000? Where does it go?

The catch – and it’s a very big catch – is that the current lender must agree to forgive at least 10% of the principal balance. What lender would do that? Why would they ever agree to this on a loan that is current? It just doesn’t make sense to me, how about to you? Actually, it apparently doesn’t make sense to HUD either. HUD is the department that insurances FHA loans and this new program they created is not available to FHA borrowers. So HUD is essentially saying “it’s OK for other lenders to reduce the principal balance to do this refi, but we won’t do it for our own loans”. Wow!

Which is why I believe it will fail. The thought process behind the plan was well-intentioned; they were trying to help borrowers stay in their houses while avoiding more foreclosures. The housing market is hemorrhaging money, and from their point of view, something had to be done, even if it’s not really feasible. Now, to be fair, there are incentives, I’m sure, to lenders who agree to this. But most will refuse. It’s letting go of hundreds of thousands of dollars without even a protest and with no financial hardship from the borrower. You and I both know that confrontation and collecting are second (if not first) nature to the banks, and they will not give up their money without a fight.

Thanks, but no thanks, HUD.

Interested in real solutions to your Michigan Foreclosure?  Call us for a cash offer and free short sale negotiation.

Melissa

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Pros and Cons of All Your Options When Facing a Michigan Foreclosure

Pros and Cons of All Your Options When Facing a Michigan Foreclosure

If you’re facing a Michigan foreclosure, there are many reasons why you may be feeling overwhelmed right now. For one, you most likely have a hardship that is making it impossible to meet your financial obligations. You also might be overloaded with information. While it’s important to be informed, too much of a good thing can be confusing. In an attempt to make the big picture much easier to take in, I’ve created a table that shows the options you have when it comes to foreclosure, and the pros and cons of each.

Option Pros Cons
Do nothing -You don’t have to do anything -Your lender may still have the right to come after you for all the money they lose on the house
-Your will have a foreclosure on your credit
-You will be removed from your house by a court order
File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy -The foreclosure process will be slowed -The foreclosure will still happen if you are unable to make the payments order by the court
-You will have to pay attorney fees
-You will have to appear in court and the bankruptcy will be public record
-You will have a bankruptcy on your record (further damaging your credit)
File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy -You will not have to repay your debts -If you have equity in the house, it will be sold to pay debts
-If you do not have equity in the house, it will be foreclosed on
-You will have to appear in court and the bankruptcy will be public record
-You will have to pay attorney fees
Loan Modification -Your bank may give you a lower interest rate
-Your payment may be reduced
-If successful, you would get to keep your house
-97% of loan modifications do not make it past the trial period
-Though your payment may be lower, you still may not be able to afford to make it
-Have to deal with your lender
-Have to fill out paperwork and submit financial documents
Deed-In-Lieu of Foreclosure -You may receive cash from your lender
-Process may be quick
-Your lender may still have the right to come after you for all the money they lose on the house
-You will still have a foreclosure on your credit
-You may have to leave your house quickly
-Have to deal with your lender
Short Sale – May prevent your lender from coming after you for any money in the future.
-Your house can be sold even if you owe more than it is worth
-Can save you from having a foreclosure on your credit
-Can take time
-Have to deal with your lender (unless we are involved)
-Have to fill out paperwork and submit financial documents

While we can’t help you with bankruptcies, modifications, or deeds-in-lieu, we can help you tremendously if you think that a short sale is right for you. We’ll even take some of the pain away from the cons – we’ll do all of the talking to the bank, and do all of the confusing paperwork for you (we’ve done it so many times that it’s not even confusing anymore!) If you’re not sure which option is best for you, give Emily a call. She’d be more than happy to discuss your options with you, and help you decide which is best.

Holly

-You don’t have to do anything
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