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You are currently browsing the Stop Michigan Foreclosure weblog archives for June, 2009.

Are You a Tenant? This Blog is for you.

Are you a tenant in a property that just had a foreclosure notice posted on the door? Did you receive a foreclosure notice addressed to your landlord in the mail? Did you receive mail addressed to your landlord from Realtors, Attorneys and investors wanting to help with the foreclosure? Surprised? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this blog is for you.

What do you do if any of the above happens? First thing you should do is call you landlord and tell them to call Emily (aka “Mom”) at 269-685-5921x 203 to discuss their options.

The second thing you should do is educate yourself on foreclosure procedures and how it affects you as a tenant. You can do this by calling Emily yourself (you don’t need your landlord’s permission).  Also call Emily if you can’t reach your landlord when any of the above happens.

President Obama recently signed a new law requiring that a 90 day notice to vacate be given to tenants residing in properties facing foreclosure. We are not attorneys, so you should consult an attorney about how this new law affects your specific situation. Our understanding of the law is that it does not apply to all loans, but does apply to most. The key is who the investor or institution is that backs the loan on the property. Consult an attorney also about how this 90 day period affects the time left on your lease.

The key is that the sad cases we heard in the past where tenants are evicted with no notice because of foreclosure, should be a thing of the past. You should get at least 90 days notice to vacate, but don’t count on it unless you are proactive.

Even though there are now laws to protect tenants, the best outcome for everyone will be reached if you and your landlord educate yourselves and make informed decisions. Give our team a call, we are here to help.


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Workouts From Your PMI Company?

Often, when homeowners find themselves in financial hardships, they may look first to housing counseling agencies or mortgage brokers to formulate a workout plan or renegotiate the terms or their loan (as well they should turn there first). But because of the large number of families in similar situations, these alternatives have become flooded with requests.

In response, more private mortgage insurance (PMI) companies have begun offering programs to keep their clients out of foreclosure. Obtainment of private mortgage insurance (not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance) is a requirement on every loan on which there has been less than 20% down payment. The policies are in place to protect the lender if the homeowner stops making payments. Some PMI companies have begun to reach out to homeowners in order to assist in avoiding foreclosure; however, there are often stringent requirements to qualify for the programs being offered.

For example, one program offers to cover delinquent payments with an interest-free loan but requires the applicant to prove the delinquency is temporary and requires the regular monthly mortgage payments continue to be made. Another program is only available to homeowners who have owned their house for fewer than three years.

It’s no wonder far less than 10% of workouts are approved with these strict criteria.

If you are in default or financial hardship, rest assured, you’re not alone, especially if you are facing a Michigan foreclosure. You have only to turn on your television or radio to hear about the many others in similar circumstances, but let me encourage you to research the information out there for yourself to find out what options are available to you because no one else besides you can really choose which option will suit your unique situation.

Of course Emil (“Mom”) is always available to you at no charge to help you narrow your options on focus you on solutions with the best chance of working. Give her a call today.


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Let’s Talk Bankruptcy and Foreclosures

Something so significant happened this week that I had to blog about it. It has to deal with Bankruptcies and how they relate to foreclosures. Specifically, a Chapter 7 (complete wipe out of debt).

Keep in mind, I’m not an attorney as I go through this.

I started working with two homeowners this week, each who thought their bankruptcies would prevent a foreclosure on their credit. Let’s start with the basics.

A Chapter 7 gives you the option of putting the house into the bankruptcy or not. Keeping it out means you’ll keep paying on the house and be able to keep the house. Both of these families decided to not keep the house (they were behind on payments and owed more than the house was worth – a typical scenario).

The job of the bankruptcy court is to sell all of your assets, take (most of) the proceeds and split it up between the people you owe money too – yes, this is simplified, but that’s the general idea behind it.

When you owe more than the house is worth, after filing the bankruptcy, one of two things are going to happen:

1) The bankruptcy court will look at what you owe on the house and what it’s worth. They’ll then conclude they won’t make any “proceeds” from the sale, and release the house from the bankruptcy.
2) The lender will petition the court to release the house from the bankruptcy. They’ll claim it’s worth less than what you owe, and they want it released so they can foreclose and cut their losses.

Either way, the house comes out of the bankruptcy and the lender completes the foreclosure process.

Here’s the problem: Most bankruptcy attorneys don’t tell their clients that at the end of all of this, they’ll have a bankruptcy and a foreclosure on their credit. Why is this important? Most people can get a home loan after a year or two out of bankruptcy (some lenders can do it immediately after – at a higher interest rate). The point is, though, with just a bankruptcy, you can be a homeowner again fairly quickly. But, with the foreclosure on their credit (which stays for 7+ years), buying a new home in the next 5 years is almost impossible.

Why don’t attorneys tell their clients this? Well, you can make your own opinion. Just ask yourself this, if you knew what I told you above about your credit and the foreclosure, would your bankruptcy attorney get any money from you? ‘Nuf said.

So, what do you do? If you’re considering bankruptcy, get our team involved before you file. We’’ll work with your bankruptcy attorney and we’ll develop a plan to stop the foreclosure from being placed on your credit. If you wait until 3 weeks before the foreclosure (like the two families I started working with this week), I can still try, but the chances of success are much less.  Don’t delay, call us today (hey, the rhymes!)


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We All Need A Short Cut

During these trying economic times, a lot people could use an adviser to help them with tough decisions. Our team has many years experience working with people facing financial hardships and Michigan foreclosures. We can help you discover your options and give you the information you need to decide what is right for you. We will dispel myths (there are plenty of them) and give you the real scoop on what has worked for people in similar situations as yours. You probably don’t have time to do all the research on options so let us be the short cut and give you the information we already have. Give us a call. There is never a fee and we can help you get back to better times.


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Introducing Holly!

Hi Everyone! My name is Holly and I just joined the Great Lakes Home Solutions team a little over a week ago. Prior to my time here I worked at a bank for two years and have seen first hand how many people in Michigan are hitting a rough patch right now.

All people are different and therefore their hardships are different as well. Some people are struggling with adjustable rate mortgages – their payments started out reasonable but have increased hundreds of dollars. They might keep up for a few months but soon find that they can no longer make these oppressive payments. Others are having problems stemming from our economic climate. Many people have been laid off, lost jobs, or taken an income cut that they could not have foreseen when they took on their mortgages.

Though the banks and mortgage companies are offering loan modifications, they can be almost impossible to get to get and are often only a temporary solution. While working at the bank I couldn’t help many people with their situations unless they could pay the back mortgage payments they owed, which was almost always unrealistic. Fortunately, now I am on the other side and working with a great team that can help people with a permanent solution to their problems!

I look forward to helping you.


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More On The Home Foreclosure Prevention Act

In recent months, we’ve all watched the rise in commercial and residential foreclosures. The laws regarding publication of properties scheduled for sheriff’s sale formerly only required the legal description of the property. The common, or street address is much more difficult to acquire. A few weeks ago, Governor Granholm signed into law the Home Foreclosure Prevention Act, which goes into effect July 5th, 2009 and requires lenders to publish the common address and name of the individual facing foreclosure.

While this requirement may have been designed to help families be made aware of their rights about foreclosure, it also makes more personal information available. This could increase accessibility for scam artists or companies that fraudulently claim to help families out of foreclosure. If you are in a foreclosure or pre-foreclosure situation, please take the time to research your options and find out for yourself what possibilities an individual or company may actually be able to offer you. As someone who has been in this field for over three years, I can assure you I have seen many different instances in which unethical persons have taken advantage of unsuspecting families. I encourage you to be cautious during these times; after all, forewarned is forearmed.


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The Fastest Way to Sell Your House and Stop Michigan Foreclosures

Tina and Ron wanted to sell their house and stop a Michigan Foreclosure. However, they wanted the benefit of selling without being inconvenienced by the work it takes to sell a house. As you can guess, they weren’t very successful.

Ron would sit in his easy chair, smoke and watch the game during showings. It was still his house, he said, and he can do what he wants in his house. Tina & Ron would not return the Realtor®’s calls, or clean up before a showing. After all, they worked hard all day and were tired and they were doing the Realtor® a favor letting him list their house. He was going to make money, they weren’t so they would only call him back and clean when they felt up to it (which was never).

This attitude put them on the road to not selling their house, having a full foreclosure on their credit, and having the bank come after them for all the money that was lost.

Have you’ve realized that you can’t afford your house anymore and your best option is to sell it and make a new start? I bet you want to sell it fast and get on to better times. How do you do this?

1. You need to list with a Realtor®. Listing with a Realtor® gets your house listed on the Multiple Listing Service which is where most buyers (working with and without Realtors®) look for houses. If you don’t have money to pay a Realtor® because of a financial hardship, then you may be a good candidate to work with us. We will make sure there is never a fee to you for our service or the Realtor®’s service.
2. You need to allow the Realtor® to show the house. Yes, this will create inconveniences for you, but buyers don’t buy houses without looking at them.
3. You need to follow advice from your Realtor® on things you can do to make the house show better. See earlier BLOGs (here and here) for a list of recommended things to do. Remember, the Realtor® doesn’t get paid unless they sell the house and they will never tell you anything that will jeopardize that goal. They also understand your financial situation and will not ask you to put any money into the house.
4. If the house is rented, you need to get the tenant to cooperate with showings. Remember, you put the tenant in the house, not the Realtor®. You need to control your tenant.
5. If you have asked the Realtor® to notify you about showings, you need to return their calls promptly and let them know the showing time is ok.
6. Yes, sometimes you will have to allow showings on short notice.

Remember, the sooner you find a buyer for your house, the sooner the house will go pending and all showings with stop. Then you can start moving on to better times. We can help you find a Realtor® that will work hard to find a buyer quickly. If you have a financial hardship and are facing foreclosure, we will work with the Realtor® to get the bank to accept a discount so there is no cost to you to sell the house. We will work hard to get your house sold fast! Contact us to learn more.


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Back from Cleveland

I don’t have a lot of time to BLOG today.  Ann and I just got back from another one of our Short Sale mastermind meetings.  Over 2 days in Cleveland.  We were hanging out with the country’s best short sale negotiations teams.  It was yet another excellent opportunity to learn from each other, get even better at what we do, so we can help more Michigan families who are facing foreclosure stop them dead in their tracks.  Some of what we picked up included:

  • More “back door” numbers at some of the major lenders (Countywide aka Bank of America, Citi Financial, HSBC, Homecomings and more).
  • Changes on how most lenders want to see their short sale packages presented to speed the process
  • The top 5 secrets to get lenders to realize the true market value of houses in today’s’ market
  • How to structure our 5-member team to become more efficient.

All of this information will allow us to more rapidly get short sales approved for you!  Call us and we’ll put our newly found knowledge to work for you today!


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Michigan Governor Signs Home Foreclosure Prevention Act Into Law

Here’s the headline announcing it from last week.

It’s about time!  But most experts believe it will have little impact.  According to this article, even Detroit Democrat Senator Hansen Clarke says “It’s too little, too late. I feel it gives false hope to people already in foreclosure.” And according to that same article, Clarke says the new legislation may speed up the foreclosure process because the timelines could be triggered more easily under the new legislation, forcing homeowners into a foreclosure crisis sooner than they currently face.

Here are some of the highlights and what it means to you:

1) The law takes affect 45 days after she signed it (signed 5/21/09 so it takes affect 7/5/09).  Prior to July 5th, you don’t get the law’s benefits.  If your lender forecloses prior to 7/5/09, it’s too late for this help.

Even after 7/5/09, if your lender forecloses (and you are in the “redemption period”), just as always, your only work out option is a short sale (if you owe more than the house is worth).  Why is this? During redemption period (that time after the foreclosure and before your lender kicks you out of the house), your mortgage is gone; there are no modifications available because there is nothing to modify.

2) Must go to financial counseling within 14 days of getting the new required notice from your lender.  This new notice will be sent to you within 7 days of the foreclosure notice being sent.  Jeez, counseling? How embarrassing is that?  Will you be able to get the counseling even if you want it? Carrie Guzman, financial justice director of ACORN says “Housing counselors are already overloaded”.  I know counselors near me are typically booked 7-14 days out.  But if you miss that 14-day deadline, you’re out of luck and the foreclosure will be taking place within 4-5 weeks after that.  Wow!

3) If you qualify and your bank doesn’t work on a loan modification (they have 90 days to consider a modification), your bank must do judicial foreclosure.  This means they will take you to court (more public embarrassment),  How many will qualify for a loan modification?  20%, 10%, most experts believe less than 3% as that is the current rate.

4) To make matters worse, according to this article, the new law requires your property address to be published in a local paper – increasing the chances of getting harassing letters and phone calls from potential scam artists.

Overall, you can tell I’m not thrilled with this new legislation as it indeed seem too little too late, will likely help few families, and will make the entire foreclosure process even more public and embarrassing.


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