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You are currently browsing the Stop Michigan Foreclosure weblog archives for November, 2008.

Is Who You Know Important?

I got a call from Mike who was behind on his house payments yesterday and like many, facing a Michigan foreclosure on his house.  Yep, me!  Not Emily (“Mom”), Joel (“Fix It”) or Melissa (“Bank Bully”).  We’re all perfectly capable of filling in when Emily and Joel are tied up.

The other unusual thing about this call was that Mike worked for the lender who had started foreclosure proceedings against him (National City).  He had managed to stall the foreclosure previously with the help of people he knew at work.  Even with this inside track, they had still eventually started foreclosure since they weren’t getting paid.

Now he was calling us for help and had lost valuable time.  He was amazed that we had better contacts at National City than he did, even though he worked there!

You may not know someone with an inside track at your bank, but you know us.  If you have spent any time reading our blog and watching our videos, I’m sure you know we are real people who will work harder than anyone to help.  Give us a call now. Don’t let valuable time pass by.


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How Did You Know?!

One question that we get asked a lot is “how did you know I was behind on payments and facing a foreclosure on my house?”

They are referring, of course, to the mail they received from Emily (“Mom”) Danger offering to help them with their pending Michigan foreclosure (at no charge of course). I know they are probably wondering “who else knows about the foreclosure?!”

What most people don’t know is that Michigan foreclosure laws require lenders to publish foreclosure notices in a newspaper that is circulated within the same county where the house is located. The foreclosure notice must be listed in the newspaper for at least four consecutive weeks.

This is where we get the names and “legal descriptions” of properties going into foreclosure. Every week, after we get the names of people facing foreclosure out of the newspaper, we go to the Register of Deeds and conduct a property search so we can convert those legal descriptions into property addresses so Emily can send the letters.

It’s the best way to reach those of you who need help, but don’t know where to turn. It may seem intrusive and bold on our part, but it’s really the fastest, most efficient way to make contact. Where else are you going to get the information you need to look at all of your options? Especially if you owe more than what you house is worth and can’t afford to make the payments any longer?

I hope that every letter Emily sends out generates a call, because I know we can help so many people out there. Everyone that calls is glad they received this letter so they can be shown options when facing the Michigan foreclosure.


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Live From Las Vegas

This week I’m at a conference in Las Vegas. Sound like fun? Yeah, I wish there were time for fun!

3-4 times a year I gather with the very top foreclosure specialists around the country. We meet for days (and nights) and talk about all the things that are happening in our industry. We talk about what works, what doesn’t work, what’s new (the bailout?), and most importantly, the best strategies for negotiating with YOUR lender

Fortunately, the saying “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” does not apply here. I’ll be back at the office later this week, ready to pound harder on your lender to help get you out of your nasty Michigan foreclosure. Can you imagine a room full of Bank Bullies?


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Government Bailout Programs, Update III

Not a day goes by when we don’t get several calls from homeowners asking about the government bailout programs that have been announced.  Searching on “bailout” on our BLOG will show that this is the third update we’ve written.

We learn a little more every week.  There is still nothing earth shattering to report, but here’s what we do know so far.

  • Your lender must be willing to participate in the program.  Most of the major lenders are still not participating according to this article because they either haven’t figured out how it works and how to get the money, or they simply don’t have the people on staff to handle the requests for workouts.
  • You must have enough income currently to qualify.  The above report says you’ll need to spend no more than 31% of your gross monthly income on your mortgage, insurance and taxes, while I’ve seen other reports that put this up to 40%.
  • Your lender must be willing to discount your loan amount to 90% of the current market value of your house.  For example, if you’ve refinanced when the market was good, say to $130k, but your house is only worth $100k now, your lender has to be willing to accept $90k and write off $40k.  How likely is that?  No one knows yet.
  • If your lender has already foreclosed, and you are in the redemption period in Michigan (typically 6 months), none of these programs are available to you. Although you can still remain in the house, and can try to sell it via a short sale (with our help, at no charge or course), bailout programs will not apply to you.  Why?  Because you don’t own the house any longer – your lender does.
  • Many lenders are offering their own programs, but they generally have tighter requirements than the proposed bailout options we’ve seen.

Our advice at this point? Well, it completely depends on your specific situation.  Call us, we’ll update you on what we know, and do what we can (never a fee) to get you back to better times as quickly as possible.

Finally, we’re naturally skeptical of the government just like you are, even in these times of change with a new administration coming into power in 2009.  We encourage you not to waste any time waiting for the government and hoping they have the end-all cure-all program to help.  As the above article points out, it’s a lot of money, but it’s not going to be enough to help everyone.  You need to look at all of your options.


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Promises, Promises

Here’s an email I received last week. This story is typical for 85% of people that attempt a repayment plan of some sort.

I’ve looked over your website for a while. I went against your advice and tried the forbearance plan from my lender. I made my payments like they ask me to for 6 months hoping they’d keep their word and give me a loan modification. But after 6 months, and submitting tons of paper work again and there was always a reason why they could not do the loan mod.

I made my forbearance payments on time for 6 months thinking it would show on my credit report as paying on time so I could get a refi. Well guess what, they kept reporting me late so I have gotten nowhere while I’ve been paying $1565.00 a month (up from the $1,100 I couldn’t afford to begin with). Now they are foreclosing on me unless I give them even more money! I can’t sell because I owe way more than what the house is worth.

I’m at a point that I know I can’t afford this any more. Help!


And here was my response:

Jack, you don’t say who your lender is, but the statistics don’t lie. The reason only 15% of homeowners are successful with forbearance plans is because the payments are unreasonably high. You are in the minority in that you were able to go 6 months under a plan that added almost 50% to your payments. Congratulations – I’m impressed and your story will inspire many others!

Now however you are facing the next hurdle. Getting your lender to keep their word and do a loan modification. Those are very rare, and as you’ve seen, you need to jump through many hoops to get approved.

If you want to keep your house, I urge you to continue to persevere through this (ridiculous) process. You could try to refinance, but because you owe more than what your house is worth and because your lender continued to report late payments on your credit, this won’t be an option for you. By the way, all lenders continue to report late while you’re on a forbearance plan (or “payment plan”). It’s silly, but they figure that you’re still technically “behind” as you’re making up those back payments (as ridicules as that sounds, it’s the way they do things).

However, you seem to have come to a point (like most people in your situation) that you’ve realized you simply can’t afford your house any longer. That’s where we come in and can negotiate with your lender to get them to accept less than what you owe (a “short sale”) so you can start your life over and end this nightmare. If you’d like us to consider helping you (at no charge to you of course), give me a call so I can get more details to be sure your circumstances are a good fit.  Here’s how you can contact me (click here)


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The Time to Act is Now!

Here’s a short and sweet message if you haven’t yet taken action to stop foreclosure on your Michigan house.


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10 Million US Homes Are Upside-Down

Clearly, if your house is worth less than you owe, you’re not alone. I’ve said this over and over and now the press is finally catching on (see this article).

Here are some bullet points:

  • 10 million US homes are upside-down (owners owe more that what the houses are worth when considering traditional closing costs required to sell)
  • This is 23% of all US homes
  • Michigan is 2nd worst in the country with 39% of homes being upside-down

I’m not a big fan of the press because they often don’t offer solutions – they just report on the problems (since that’s what sells). For example, the article says:

“But for homeowners who are having trouble making their mortgage payments because of a job loss or a rate reset on an adjustable-rate mortgage, being upside down can make it difficult or impossible to pay off a loan by selling a home or refinancing it.”

Of course what the article failed to mention is that there is a solution out there, that’s always been out there, to help people in these positions. As a reader of this Blog, you already know this: it’s a Short Sale.

We’re ready to help when you’re ready for a solution.


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