According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly 400,000 households have avoided foreclosure with government programs, as of July 2010. Approximately $248 million of the $50 billion in TARP funds was used to help millions of homeowners with mortgage payment reductions.
In the month of June, the number of permanent modifications increased nearly 15%, bring the monthly total to over 50,000. The Making Home Affordable Program (HAMP) is assisting homeowners and providing hope. The trial modification programs are also beginning to work in the homeowner’s favor. Lenders offered nearly 45% of canceled trial modification participants an alternative modification. Less than 2% of the homeowners in trial modifications went to foreclosure sale.
When seeking loan modification assistance, homeowners need documentation such as pay stubs – last 30 days, Bank Statements – 6 months, Hardship Letter, 2 years of Tax Returns, and proof of residency. Lenders often make it difficult for homeowners in this process, therefore, the use of a loss mitigation professional can be helpful in finding an appropriate workout solution, such loan modification, deed in lieu, or extension of time. Homeowners should seek the assistance of qualified professionals to protect against being a victim of fraud.
The recent numbers from Realty Trac, a research firm based in Irvine, California, show that 75 percent of the top metro areas around the country increased foreclosure activity in the first half of 2010. Florida, California, Nevada, and Arizona accounted for all of the top 20 metro foreclosure areas with a population of 200,000 or more. The state of Florida ranked number one in the country with having the most top 20 metro areas on the list. South Florida accounted for nearly 6 percent of the foreclosures filed nationally with 94,466 foreclosures filed in the first half of the year. South Florida eclipsed larger markets such as Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, and outpaced foreclosure hotbeds Phoenix, Las Vegas and Detroit.
The Obama Administration approved state plans for use of $1.5 Billion in “Hardest Hit Fund” foreclosure prevention funding. Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada and Michigan were the first states to receive the first round funding under programs to support local initiatives to assist struggling homeowners in a mortgage crisis. The state of Florida will receive $418 million in funds to offer mortgage payment assistance to the unemployed and under-employed. The state will also offer principal reduction or second lien extinguishment, if necessary to achieve a mortgage modification for the homeowner.
Late last year, the Florida Supreme Court ordered courts to implement residential mortgage foreclosure mediation programs to help deal with the state’s foreclosure crisis and help homeowners stay in their homes while also keeping caseloads at bay. As of July 12, 2010, Palm Beach County homeowners facing new foreclosure actions on their homestead residences are referred to mediation. The Palm beach County Residential Foreclosure Mediation Program is a free optional program for borrowers; however, lenders are responsible for costs of mediation. A mediation is a great tool for borrowers to negotiate with the lender face to face. A Foreclosure Defense Attorney representing the homeowner is a wise investment, since lenders do not always play fair at the negotiations table.