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Tips for struggling homeowners

By Marcie Geffner ·
Friday, January 21, 2011
Posted: 11 am ET

Homeowners who are struggling to make their mortgage payments naturally may wonder what's going to happen when and how they can help themselves remedy their situation.

In most cases, there are three basic suggestions that make good common sense, almost without regard to the specific circumstances.

1. Don't ignore the problem.

2. Be realistic about the possible solutions.

3. Consult a knowledgeable and trusted advisor.

That advice comes, in a roundabout way, from Shari Olefson, a real estate attorney with Fowler White Boggs in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and author of "Foreclosure Nation," a book about the home foreclosure crisis.

"The three biggest mistakes people make," Olefson says, "are ignoring the problem; not being realistic about what their alternatives are, who's really responsible, what's going to happen and what the bank will accept; and picking the wrong person to help them, which is the same mistake a lot of people made on the way in. You have to be careful who you trust."

Struggling homeowners also need to read their loan documents and open their mail from the loan servicer, Olefson says.

"People didn’t read their loan documents at the closing table, and they're still not reading their loan documents," she says. "They haven't read them because it's not as interesting as People magazine. If you know you're going to default, and (you want to know) when can the bank do what? Pull out your note and your mortgage, and it's right there. It says how long you have to be in default, when they have to give you notice, how long they have to give you to cure (the default). After that's over, the timing is just a matter of what the lender's policies are, how busy their lawyers are and how backed up the court system is."

That may sound simplistic, given the complexities of mortgages and foreclosure procedures, but it's truly not at all a bad place to start. Loan docs may not be as sexy as a celebrity magazine, but they do contain a lot of important information that's right there on the page.

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January 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm

i am a single mother struggling to meet my mortgage payments the kids are all grown and i really want to downsize the house is in my name which were left to me after ny father died i would like to keep it in the family what is the best way to go about getting it out of my name i am really having a hard time with the payments

January 22, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I had to file Chapter 13, It was the only way to keep my home. With all the interest etc. I owe more now than I did at the beginning.
I am behind now with trustee. If it where myself and wife here I would not mind as much as I do.
We take care of here brother who is disabled, We also have custody (by the courts) of our two grandchildren, 7 years old and 3 years old. If we get foreclosed they will be homeless. I am so desperate to get help. If I could get the Greediest and most cold heated company that I know of, off my back it would be great.

January 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

The only way I could save my home to file Chapter 13, I have been told that I am way behind, have to believe it I guess it came from a PO box someplace in Memphis.

From what trustee says I am way behind, I say I am but two payments. I have sent hardship letters with no respond, except that it was not in there criteria.
I have been retired from the US Army for almost ten years. Between SS and retirement and being a caregiver for my brother in law finances where OK.

Six years ago my wife and I got custody of my grandson, unfortunately his mother (my daughter) and here husband where on drugs. And daughter still is,

Three years ago she had another child, my only granddaughter, We got custody of here last summer.

Things like this you do not expect at our age, but family is family and there was now way there where going to be separated or go to a Forster home. When we play horsy the old gray mare ant what he used to be. LOL

Sorry have to have some hummer and laughs through all this to keep sane. We also take care of Great grandma who lives next door

. I cannot loose this house, It will put the children, disabled brother in law and 82 year old mother in law HOMELESS, Not to mention my wife of 36 years. Me I am not concerned about as much. They come first.

To be able to stay and not be thrown out like a rag doll, I have to come up with $9,000.00 to be caught up on my $119,0000.00 mortgage. Which by the way was $129,000.00 at the beginning. 4 years ago? Talk about INTEREST.

I am willing to pay what ever I can, and when I can. As I said I am not looking for a hand out, but very much need a helping hand. I am so very desperate it is unbelievable. The ax will most likely go down within the next week or so.

You see people on corners asking for money, They make hundreds of dollars a day. Some do need it, and a lot of them are just getting using people. If I could get enough people to lend me anywhere from one dollar to twenty dollars, I will guaranty to pay you back. Sorry but I cannot afford any interest. I have any documents ID etc. If anyone has any questions. Thanks for being here.

God Bless Our Troops (son, a cousin and a nephew in Alfganistan )

Past, Present, and Future.