November 3, 2008
Eric Madkins, of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, is a certified HUD housing counselor and the Director of Housing and Foreclosure Intervention. In this post he talks about the importance of being proactive in addressing your mortgage situtation:
The housing market has seen many ups and downs as home values continue to decrease, which leaves many homeowners with negative equity. Recently, a lot of borrowers that we encounter often ask, “Will the market ever reach the bottom?” The answer is somewhat esoteric at this point, because there really isn’t a specific date or timeline for the end or the beginning of a turnaround. However, in the meantime, based on experience in working with hundreds of lenders and loan services, homeowners do have options, if they are having difficulties making their mortgage payments.
The rough economic conditions caused by layoffs and increased cost of living can make it difficult for some to make their mortgage payments. The adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) that was affordable sometime ago is now less affordable. A borrower who is persistently trying to catch up on their mortgage after getting back on their feet after a layoff, is wondering, “How will I catch up?” What happens when a spouse loses their job, and now the household is trying to make it with one income.
These situations are examples of what we, as housing counselors, see on a daily basis. I have had clients say, “You seem very optimistic.” I am one to believe that the glass is half full. As a housing counselor and housing director at the Urban League, my job is to offer options and resolutions to existing and future homeowners. On a weekly basis I will offer information to the community on housing related topics.
In many situations homeowners may be eligible for a loan modification (a loss mitigation activity which involves renegotiation and restructuring of an existing loan to improve affordability and possibly avoid default and foreclosure). With rising bank inventories of foreclosed homes (REO’s), it is usually to a lenders’ advantage to “workout” a feasible resolution, which can keep the homeowner in the home.
Homeowners must be proactive!!! You can contact the loss mitigation department of your respective mortgage company to discuss a workable solution, or if you need assistance in resolving your mortgage matter, contact a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency, such as the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Our agency has trained professionals who can assist.
Director of Housing
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
If you live in St. Louis and are having problems with your mortgage you can e-mail Eric at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also watch Eric talk about negotiating with your mortgage lender below: