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

Holiday Time

Because of the holidays, we decided to take a few days off of Blogging.  We’ll probably have something up for you between Christmas and New Years and then will be back on track the first week in January to start of 2009 for you.  We’re dedicated to keeping you up to date with all things related to Michigan foreclosures and short sales.

Happy Holidays from Michigan’s #1 Foreclosure Solution & Short Sale Team

Ann, Emily, Joel, and Melissa

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Mortgage Meltdown – The Next Wave

If you thought the current foreclosure wave (caused mostly by the poor economy and sub-prime loans) has been bad, watch this 60 Minutes video on the next wave of the Mortgage Meltdown.

If you have one of these “ALT-A” (no documentation) or “Option ARM” loans, chances are very high that you could part of this next wave of Michigan Foreclosures.  Don’t let that happen to you – we can help, but you need to call.


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Loan Modifications Don’t Prevent Foreclosures

According this article, nearly six out of ten troubled borrowers who were able to negotiate loan modifications during the first quarter re-defaulted after eight months.  This report is consistent with what we hear since we talk with a dozen or sell home owners every day.

Why such a high default rate?  I have a few ideas.

First off, let’s talk about what a loan modification is:  It’s when your lender agrees to basically refinance your loan with (hopefully) better terns and (hopefully) putting your past due payments into the modification.  The latest statistic I saw was that only 1 in 10 requests for loan modifications are granted.  Why?  You have to prove your hardship is over and you can afford the new (often times higher) payments.  Most people can’t do that – they fell behind because payments were too high to begin with.

If you’re part of that 1 in 10 that do get approved, why such a high failure rate as mentioned in the above article?  Here are the most common reasons:

  • In a weak economy, families’ incomes are not as consistent
  • All of the other costs of living are higher: utilities, insurance, groceries and other basics – it all adds up (and keeps adding up)
  • Many people took advantage of the ability to refinance multiple times during a strong economy.  Income was good, interest rates were low, credit was easy to get, etc.  Many over-leveraged themselves (created higher expenses) and now that things have reversed (especially in Michigan), many of us just can’t pay all of the month expenses.

Once you default on a loan modification, I’ve never seen a family be able to get approved for a second modification. The result of all of this?  Multiple late payments reported on credit and many times another eventual Michigan foreclosure.

If your hardship is truly over, by all means, pursue a loan modification, but know the averages and realize the vast majority of people end up in far worse positions down the road.


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Another $181k Wiped Out – 1 Week, 2 Houses

Within the last week, we closed on two different houses and my team made $181,000 of debt disappear between both of them. How is this done? This is done with a short sale. Don’t know what a short sale is? Well you can search this blog to learn more, or just give us a call. We’re really good at them though, based on all of the testimonials you’ll find here and here. Oh, and here’s two more!

We were in despair just a couple months ago and today we’re closing after they wiped out over $70,000 worth of debt.

“During my divorce proceedings in 2008 my home went into foreclosure.  Desperate, I went to the Internet looking for a solution.  I came across Great Lakes Home Solutions and gave them a call.  Joel assured me that he would have a better chance of getting my house sold than what I tried in the past.  My biggest worry was what I might still owe the bank after the sale.  He assured me that he would work hard to ensure there would be no balance.   This team of experts got my home sold with full satisfaction of the loan!  I started with $315,000 of debt.  After selling the house for $204,000, he totally eliminated the balance of $111,000.  It was wiped out…gone!”

“When signing the final papers for the sale, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders!  I could finally begin to rebuild my life, and my credit.  Thanks to Great Lakes Home Solutions for giving me back the confidence and sense of security I need.  This company has truly been a blessing for me and can be a blessing for you, too!”
Jeffrey, Benton Harbor, Michigan


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Why Did They Break Into My House?!?

Winter is here and the lenders are getting aggressive and breaking into people’s houses!

We received a call last week from Amy, an angry homeowner who was behind on her house payments and facing a Michigan foreclosure. The foreclosure wasn’t why she was angry, however. Someone had broken into Amy’s vacant house, changed the locks and winterized the house. Amy demanded to know who would do such a thing? Guess what Amy, you don’t have to guess. It was your bank protecting their asset – the house.

One look outside will tell anyone that winter has definitely arrived in Michigan. While this might mean fun in the snow for kids of all ages, it means freezing pipes to lenders. Consequently, lenders tend to be a lot more aggressive in taking control of delinquent houses during the winter.

What does this mean to you? If you are facing a Michigan foreclosure and the house is vacant, you can virtually count on the bank securing the house and winterizing it. Yes, they do have the right to do this – it says so in your mortgage.Sometimes they’re mistaken and do this even if it’s not vacant (yes, we’ve had amazing stories like that!)

Once they claim the house is abandoned (even if it’s not), they can also accelerate the foreclosure or redemption period giving you less time to try to fix the problem.

The solution?  If you are facing a Michigan foreclosure and the house is vacant, call us. We have strategies to keep the bank off your back and out of the house so you have the time you need to sell the house or pursue other solutions. Take action before action is taken on you.


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Falling House prices….Don’t worry

So you probably have heard by now that house prices have fallen significantly in the last year in Michigan (no surprise, I know). In fact, if you saw this story in the Detroit Free Press or heard this story on the Southwest Michigan news you also know that foreclosures continue to plaque Michigan.

The ironic part of all this to me is that the agencies and options for helping people keep their houses gets all the attention in the news. The cold hard facts are that many people can not keep their house because:

  • they have missed too many payments to qualify for a refinance
  • as these above articles point out, there’s no equity in their house, and there needs to be a little bit to refinance
  • their hardship is not over and they can’t afford or qualify for a work out with their lender
  • they just want out from under the burden of a stressful situation

The only remaining option is to sell their house and after reading all the news about falling house prices and rising inventory that sounds just about hopeless.

Well, I am here to tell you it is not hopeless. We work with lenders every day, getting them to accept less than what is owed on your house so it can sell in Michigan’s housing market today. This is what we specialize in and do every day (called a “short sale“). In fact, at the end of October, we had been to the closing table 6 times.  Meaning 6 houses we have helped successfully sell with a short sale, in October alone.

So stop fretting over all the bad news and take action today. We can’t help everyone and the sooner you contact us the better chance we can do something to help you. We will work harder than anyone to get you back to better times and we keep all your information confidential. Oh….and there is never a fee to you. Now isn’t that some good news for a change!


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“I Moved Out of State – House Won’t Sell – Help!”

We get a LOT of email requests for help.  If you email us, be sure to read this post so you’re sure to see our reply.  Here’s a recent email I received.  I figured I’d post it on the blog because there are many people that have moved out of the State over the last few years that are facing Michigan foreclosure on their house they’ve left behind.

I have a home in Michigan that I tried to sell for a year and couldn’t. I used two real estate agents and couldn’t get any bites…I have been living out of state for two years, I’ve drained my savings and can no longer afford to pay two mortgages. I really want to be rid of the house, but want to do the best thing!! Please help.  Suzanne H (Rochester Hills, Michigan).

Here was my response:

Suzanne, you are in a tough spot, much the same as many people that have left the State and have watched their property values decline way below the mortgage balances.

I certainly have some ideas for you that are far better than a foreclosure (all at no cost to you).  To get you started, check out some of the options here and learn about short sales here.

We’ll need to talk “live” to go over all of the options because the best choice for you will depend on your specific circumstances. I’ll look forward to your call.


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