Minnesota Program to Stave Off Bank Foreclosure Houses

by on States

Counselors at the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) in Minnesota are helping distressed homeowners avoid bank foreclosure houses.

These counselors are experts in the process of foreclosures. They know the exact procedure that lenders adopt to foreclose on a homeowner’s house and the approach they use to determine whether a loan is worth modifying or not.

Washington County HRA executive director Barbara Dacy said that the agency is also offering encouragement to distressed homeowners while trying to help them avoid foreclosures.

The HRA counseling service is provided for free to distressed homeowners because it is funded by federal and state funds. Credit-counseling services of for-profit organizations charge a fee of as much as $3,000.

The counseling service started its operation in February 2008 and it was only a matter of time before the agency was swamped with workload due to growing foreclosure and unemployment.

Since last year, the Washington County HRA received more than 700 calls from distressed homeowners. Out of this total, 535 turned into actual cases, and 113 homeowners were able to save their properties from foreclosures through the help of HRA counselors.

They were also able to help 97 homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosures find alternative living arrangements. Meanwhile, nearly 300 foreclosure cases were suspended by homeowners or they failed to make follow ups.

Dacy said that saving a home from foreclosures requires a lot of cooperation and paperwork from homeowners, including management of their personal finances.

The counseling service starts when distressed homeowners call the HRA offices. Typically, distressed homeowners seek help if they are a month to four months delayed on their mortgage payments.

According to industry experts, some homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage payments are trying to be proactive to stay current on their accounts. Some are already on the brink of foreclosure. They advise homeowners to seek help immediately so that they will have more options.

In cases that require intensive work, the screeners will schedule a meeting for counselors and homeowners. They will also examine the homeowners’ budget and talk with lenders. HRA counselors said that the process of helping homeowners avoid foreclosures requires perseverance and patience, adding that it could take from two months to nine months.