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Carrot, Egg or Coffee?

Carrot, Egg or Coffee?

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

If you are facing a Michigan Foreclosure, you probably have felt like a carrot or egg at different times. Maybe a hardship has left you in a distressed financial situation and feeling like a carrot? Or after trying to work out a solution on your own with little success you feel like an egg, protecting yourself from further frustration and hurt. Give us a call and let us help you be a “coffee bean” and take charge of the situation and change it for the better. We will not ask you for any money and we will not put you in a worse situation. We will help you get back to better times.

Ann

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Michigan Foreclosure Help Is Out There

Michigan Foreclosure Help Is Out There

Recently, we spent a couple hours with the wonderful folks from Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services, who among other things, work with distressed homeowners facing a Michigan foreclosure. We met because we each use different methods for helping distressed homeowners and we wanted to learn how we could work together to help more people. As we talked, we learned that, they are a lot like us.

  • They do not charge the homeowner for their service.
  • They serve a wide area (despite their name, they help more than Kalamazoo area homeowners).
  • They have a dedicated, experienced, trained staff ready to provide you with education, information and options if you are facing a Michigan foreclosure.

They are also HUD certified housing counselors. This should give you the confidence boost you need to take action if you are leery about just calling anyone, but you realize you need help. Help is out there, and all you need to do is reach out to it.

Whatever your situation, taking action is key. Get educated. Learn your options. Give KNHS a call or give us a call. We will keep everything confidential and we will not put you in a worse situation. Get help today!

Ann

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Instincts Aren’t Always Right!

Instincts Aren’t Always Right!

The other day I was at the lake with my dogs watching them “swim” which is really just them walking around in the water. They only go as deep as they can stand and still keep their heads out of the water. We all know that when a dog gets out of the water, some instinct tells the dog to shake to dry herself off. Well, as I was watching Maggie standing in the lake, up to her belly in water, she apparently decided she didn’t want to be wet because she started to shake. This just made her even more wet because she propelled water up over the top of her, soaking her head and back. The more she got wet, the more she tried to shake herself dry. I had to laugh and I thought to myself, sometimes our instincts are wrong.

Then I started thinking about the families facing a Michigan foreclosure that we talk to every day. Sometimes their instincts are wrong about how to respond. Some people who are behind on their house payments immediately think they need to file bankruptcy. While I am not an attorney (and you should always consult an attorney), I know from watching it over and over that a bankruptcy does not stop the foreclosure and merely postpones it. Other people facing a Michigan foreclosure will do some kind of work out program with their bank hoping to keep the house a little longer. This can be great if their financial hardship is over and they can make their new and future payments. However, for many people still facing a financial hardship, the new payments or terms are just as hard to pay as they were before the work out.

I think the main reason our instincts mislead us is that we lack information and experience. Most people have never experienced or been educated on Michigan foreclosures so when they are facing foreclosure, they have no instincts to guide them through. That’s why we are here! We can give you information and answer your questions and guide you through your options. We do not charge a fee and we will keep all your information confidential. Let us be your instincts and help you find the right course of action for you. Give us a call today.

Ann

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Find Your Michigan Foreclosure Compass

Find Your Michigan Foreclosure Compass

Stuck in the clouds?

Did you know that when a pilot is learning to fly in clouds, one of the first things he has to learn is to not listen to his body and instead believe the instruments in front of him? That is because when we cannot see where we are going, it is so easy to get disoriented. You may have experienced this if you ever walked in a thick fog or snow storm. Imagine adding the third dimension of height and you can see why a pilot needs to learn to rely on instruments like compasses to keep them flying in the right directions (instead of her “seat of the pants” or “gut feelings”). Instruments also keep pilots from getting disoriented and turning the plane upside down or descending into an obstacle when they can’t see where they are going.

A similar disorientation can happen to us when we are in a stressful situation, such as a job loss, divorce, disability, death of a loved one. This can be amplified if the financial hardship causes someone to get behind on house payments so they are facing a Michigan Foreclosure. People facing a stressful situation tend to react emotionally and by “gut feel” instead of logically about what to do and where to go. They can make bad decisions or no decision at all. They need a “compass” to guide them out of the clouds of despair and into the light, and back to better times.

That is where we can help. We can give you information about your options, educate you about the foreclosure process and help you figure out your goals and plans. We can help you make a logical decision about what is best for you instead of a gut reaction that may be wrong. We never charge a fee for this and we won’t put you in a worse situation. Give Emily a call and let her show you how to get out of the clouds and back to better times.

Ann

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When To Consider A Short Sale

When To Consider A Short Sale

People who are facing a Michigan Foreclosure frequently ask me how they should know if a short sale is their best option. That’s an easy answer. When you’ve tried everything else possible, and nothing has worked out (and your expenses exceed your income), THEN, you try a short sale. It’s a last-ditch effort when the only other alternative is foreclosure.

What else is there to try? Well, there’s a loan modification, forbearance plan, repayment plan, refinancing, private loan, getting a roommate to share expenses and even selling it to a friend or family member (not using a short sale). I put together a handy reference for REALTORS® defining these options and giving pros and cons. I included it at the end of this blog for you!

I always tell people to use a short sale as their last option before foreclosure. It doesn’t cost anything to do a short sale with us, we keep everything confidential and we won’t put you in a worse situation so you’re not losing anything if you try. Of course, your situation is unique and you have questions so give me a call and let me explain your options to you and help you figure out what is right for you.

Definitions, Pros and Cons.
1. Repayment Plan: Your lender may give you a fixed amount of time to repay the amount you are behind, plus any late fees, by adding a portion to your regular monthly payment. This may be an option if you only missed a few payments and had adequate income to make regular monthly payments again.

2. Forbearance: Your lender may agree to suspend your payments for a period of time. At the end of this time, you will resume your regular monthly payments, and you may be required to either make one lump sum payment or additional partial payments. This may be a good option if you have a temporary reduction in income and are now able to make regular payments plus lump sum or partial payments.

3. Loan Modification: Your lender may agree to reduce your interest rate, extend the term of the loan, or add missed payments to the loan balance. This may be a suitable option if the terms meet your needs and financial abilities.

4. Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure (voluntary foreclosure): You voluntarily transfer title to the lender. The lender has the option of canceling the remainder of the debt, but we’ve never seen this. But you will lose any equity in the house and may have to pay taxes on the debt forgiven (if any).

The above is referenced from this Michigan Web Resource

5. Refinance: May only be an option if you actually have equity in the house and/or one spouse was not on the original loan and is able to refinance into their name alone.

If you need help sorting through all of this, or simply realize a short sale is for you and want an immediate offer and someone to negotiate the short sale at no charge, give me a call.

Emily

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How Did I Get Here?

How Did I Get Here?

Over the past four years, I’ve talked with hundreds of homeowners about their imminent Michigan foreclosure. Their biggest question is “how did I get here?” They’ve done everything that they thought was right and made every logical choice. They usually have cut expenses, maybe gotten a part time job and gone without some “luxuries” like cable or eating out. Yet, they’re still heading into a Michigan foreclosure. Why? There are always factors that they have no control over – the poor economy, the down market, a financial hardship like job loss, divorce, disability or death of a spouse.

While I understand their question, it’s even more important to know how they’re going to get out of their situation. That’s where we step in. We can help families evaluate options, set goals and decide on a course of action. We can even start discussions with their lender after we make a cash offer, and get them back on the road to a fresh start.

If you or someone you know need help with your foreclosure situation, contact us. We will never charge you a fee and we will keep everything confidential. Let us help you get back to better times.

Emily

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Postponing the Inevitable

Postponing the Inevitable

Now that summer is upon us, my dogs love to go swimming in the lake. However, they hate being dried off afterwords. I won’t allow them back in the house until they are semi-dry so it becomes a battle of wills. I pull out the towels and they run away, postponing the inevitable. Sometimes it becomes a game (to them anyway) with me chasing them around the garage jumping over obstacles while they gleefully run away. Eventually, hunger or the search for affection and companionship will pull them inside and they will have to endure the towel drying to get to their food or other goal.

We see a lot of people facing a Michigan Foreclosure go through a similar mental process. They want to avoid the pain of the foreclosure, so they may declare bankruptcy. I am not an attorney, but my experience has been that all the bankruptcy does for them is postpone the inevitable foreclosure. Yes, it makes your lender jump through a few more hoops to proceed with the foreclosure. However, eventually, they will do all the right legal things to be able to proceed. I have never seen a bankruptcy permanently stop a foreclosure.

If you are in a distressed financial situation and are considering bankruptcy, seek competent advice. My experience is that it probably is not worth pursuing the bankruptcy unless you have debt other than the house that a bankruptcy can help you with. If the house is your sole financial burden, give us a call and see what alternatives we can suggest. We can help you define your goals and find the best course of action for your situation. We will never charge you a fee and we promise not to put you in a worse. Give Emily a call today and stop postponing the inevitable and start working toward a permanent solution to your Michigan foreclosure.

Ann

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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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Short Sale Q&A’s from My Friends& Family

Short Sale Q&A’s from My Friends& Family

The other day my Mom asked me a strange question: “So, how exactly does a short sale work?” I guess the question wasn’t that strange, since most people don’t know the answer. But the thing is, I’ve been working here for over a year now, and I’ve explained the process to her about a dozen times.

I explained it when my cousin and her fiancé tried (unsuccessfully) to buy a short sale property. I explained it when my Uncle was contemplating a short sale on his house (he’s underwater, like so many other Michigan sellers). I also explained it when my grandparent’s neighbor sold her house on a short sale. I guess the thing about short sales is that THEY’RE CONFUSING, and unless you spend every day dealing with short sales, you’re probably going to have lots of questions throughout the entire process.

One of the best things about us here at Great Lakes Home Solutions, Inc. is that we have answers, and lots of them! Joel (our President) is the only state certified short sale instructor in the entire state who negotiates short sales full time. This sort of makes him the short sale guru around these parts. You rarely hear anyone say “I don’t know” around here (and when you do, it’s followed by “and I’ll find out!”).

You’ve got questions? We’re more than happy to share our answers with you. If you have a hardship, are facing a Michigan foreclosure, and would like some friendly answers, give Emily a call. She’s a wealth of information about all things foreclosure and short sale!

Holly

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Who Makes The Best Clean-Up Crew for the Michigan Foreclosure Crises?

Who Makes The Best Clean-Up Crew for the Michigan Foreclosure Crises?

Some of you will have heard of the famous (or infamous, whichever way your social or political opinions lean) documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore. His most recent film is about of the state of the US economy; it’s called Capitalism: A Love Story. Now, please understand, I’m not particularly political, and I’m certainly not espousing his views. In this blog, I’m simply commenting on a part early in the film that could easily be misconstrued.

Michael Moore interviews a real estate agent in the state of Florida who buys foreclosed homes for pennies on the dollar – he is unspecific about the method he uses to purchase these homes – he refers to himself and people in his line of work as “vultures”. He even went so far as to name his business after the bird of prey.

The word “vulture” evokes less than ideal images in the minds of most people. In relation to a person or business, it makes us think of greediness, corruption, and unscrupulousness. Being in the foreclosure and short sale end of the real estate profession myself, I’ll admit, the metaphor made me uncomfortable and defensive.

Instead of vultures, I think investors are the clean-up crew. One might argue in a certain light, the two might be seen as synonyms, but I would say they are here not to prey on the unfortunate but to help clean up the mess caused by irresponsible lending, bad loans, and a whole myriad of factors that caused the economy to be what it is today. They’re not here because they want to profit from anyone’s hardship; they simply saw a need and strive daily to meet that need.

If you are one of the many homeowners who has this need because you are facing a Michigan Foreclosures, don’t hesitate to call us and we’d be happy to try to help you get things “cleaned up” so you can move on.

Melissa

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