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Older homeowners in trouble

By Judy Martel ·
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

More Americans older than 50 have mortgages than in the past two decades and for larger amounts, causing a growing number to be at risk for foreclosure.

A report from the AARP says 3.5 million homeowners older than 50 are in danger of losing their homes. Most won't have the time or resources to recover from such a financial setback as they head toward retirement. Since 2007, more than 1.5 million homeowners in this group have already had their homes foreclosed, raising the foreclosure rate from 0.3 percent in 2007 to 2.9 percent in 2011.

Older homeowners were enticed by the same initially low rates on subprime mortgages as everyone else. As the values of their homes decreased and the rates increased, many found they owed more than their homes are worth.

There is help for distressed homeowners. Free advice from a counselor approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development can steer homeowners toward ways to reduce monthly expenses.  It might be worth it to try to get a loan modification to reduce your monthly mortgage payment or see if you qualify for the government Home Affordable Refinance Program to refinance at a lower rate. Those older than 62 and with equity in their homes could consider a reverse mortgage. As a final option for avoiding foreclosure, a short sale through the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives government program allows the homeowner to walk away from the home and the mortgage debt.

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August 08, 2012 at 4:51 pm

If the banks wanted to help people keep their homes, why don't they take 6 month, 1 year or 2 years of the money the homeowner is behind in there mortgage and move it to the back of their mortgage, making there 30 year mortgage a 31 year or 32 year mortgage. This would be to help people who lost their jobs, keep them in their homes. Then they are still paying on their mortgage, the bank still gets their money and there isn't any foreclosure of the home, and it doesn't ruin the neighborhoods value of the homes. No one can then say we are giving free hand outs because we aren't.The people are still paying on their mortgage just in a different way. Is it really that difficult that the banks can't come up with this idea. Do you know how many people we could keep in their homes if we tryed this? Whats wrong with the government and the banks. Do they not have a brain? Or is it all about stuffing their pockets?

August 08, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I say the same thing to you Steve H. You tell me what the answer is? What would you do if you were in my shoes? Tell me.

Reed Rasmussen
August 08, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Banks want to forclose on your homes. its common sense. about a year ago banks were glut with forclsed homes and many large banks reported they did not want to be in charge of these forclosed homes. but I tell you theres no truth in it. its common sense. if you have been paying on a home that for years has been inflated to a ridiculous ammount, in good faith the bank did lend this money to you but if you figure a large portion of your payments are intrest. many of us pay off the home in 7-10 years if we didnt have the interest payments. maybe thats what we should be doing all along paying the owners direct. a month at a time. I digress, buy why would a bank want to rid itself of a home when it can sell your forclosed property again and again and again. if I could do it I would if it paid my bills got me medicine or made me filthy rich off your ignorance or misfortune. and thats what we fail to realize we allow this system of greed to continue. my advice is file a chapter 11 short sell your property and get out of your horrific situation. learn from our immigrant families and learn to live within our means. buy one house 3 familys save buy another house and rent it out repeat. I feel bad for the misfortunes heaped on you hard working people. I myself live within my means but even so struggle with a very small condo and an old car but luckily its all paid for.

August 08, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Answering Tom C. Don't talk to me about responsibility. I was your typical 2 income family, 2 kids, great credit, 2 cars, 1 dog,saved for the future, put away in my 401K, Had saving, emergency fund. I was a Girl Scout who was prepared for everything. No one in this world will ever be prepared for the lost of a job. Sure I had 7 months saved away that I could survive on for my mortgage and utilities but did I know my husband would be out of work (Construction) for 4 years, did I know I was going to loose my job at the same time he did. I have 2 kids in college, I always pay my bills, I am a responsible person, but when you loose your jobs there is nothing that can prepare you for the stress that over comes you, or the worry. I always lived within my means and always clipped coupons. I'm lucky I can put food on the table today. When our unemployment ran out and so did our money.You tell me "What should I do", become responsible, blame myself. I don't think so.I didn't put myself in this situation. You will never know what all of us are going through till you walk in our shoes. Believe me I didn't ask to lose my job, I didn't ask to use all my saving up. I didn't ask to worry about losing my home, or car. If you want to blame someone, blame the Banks who crashed this whole economy and making us bail them out only to fill their pockets and pay their bonuses. Tom C. What would you do if you were in my shoes. I'd love to hear your answer, because non of us have one.

Ken McBride
August 08, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Steve Herrick - "Stop and look at yourself without instantly placing any blame on the system and/or circumstances." Oh, the U.S. is a corrupt and criminal state, the Federal Reserve, Supreme Court and Congress have been captured and controlled by the right wing plutocracy. Billions, let me change that, Trillions, were "given" to the wealthy bankers and their like and nothing was essentially done to help the average American facing foreclosure, so don't tell me not to blame the system!!!

Janice Briski
August 08, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Because of Illness & Large sums of money put out for health issues. We are in forcloseure.We took Our nephew & sister in 12 yrs ago.put Nephew through school and cared for him for 12yrs.They have finally moved on & We were trying to get a modifacation from Our loan. We sent everything they asked for(many times)!It took them a year to tell us that My Husband made too much $ for them to do anything. I looked on line and found a Co.(Sentry Legal)they are in Utah. It turns out they were out to scam people(They took 4,000 from Our bank acct.) I contacted The FBI they raided the place but we are still out of Our $.Please tell Me what to do....I am scared to death to loose Our home...My husband makes a good living &We will be able to keep up!......HELP!!!!

Steve Herrick
August 08, 2012 at 4:27 pm

All these comments are valid and generalities can be drawn from the top to the bottom of these posts.Everyone's situation being slightly different,the common theme is obvious.Stop and look at yourself without instantly placing any blame on the system and/or circumstances.Tend to you're own garden and assume responsibility.Own up,fess up,grow up and stop the same old finger pointing routine from recycling itself to death.Move forward,deal with reality and be thankful you still have some cards to play.Wimpering is getting so old at this point and so are the cop-outs.Please remember how you were raised.Try correcting the situation with pride and patience.Thx for reading

I just answered Tom C
August 08, 2012 at 4:24 pm

They are not printing my comments anymore. Why Mr. Bank?

loretta young
August 08, 2012 at 4:16 pm

bank of america tryed to foreclose on my home july 6 2011, i had been sick and had open heart surory. my home insurance was canceled. the bank did not contact me until the 1st of june 2011, i got a letter june 6 2011 saying my home was being forclosed on july6, giving me 1 month to save my home. the bank was saying i was 4 mortgage payment behind. i had never missed or was late on a payment.

August 08, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I just has a lot to say about the banks and they aren't printing it.