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Foreclosure help coming Feb. 27

Freddie Mac outreach specialist holding seminar

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Foreclosure help coming Feb. 27

The Feb. 27 seminar is designed to help distressed Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon homeowners from having their homes go into foreclosure like this one in Manteca's Mayors Park neighborhood.

Bulletin file photo/


POSTED February 20, 2009 4:58 a.m.
LATHROP – A representative of Freddie Mac will be at the University of Phoenix in Lathrop Friday, Feb. 27, to give financially distressed South County homeowners advice on how to avoid foreclosure.

Jacqui Cosgrove, consumer outreach specialist with Freddie Mac which is the nickname for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, will be available to personally meet with the property owners and answer their questions from 2 to 7 p.m. that day, said Freddie Mac public relations director Patti Boerger.

“This seminar will combine hourly sessions to address the process of loss mitigation from a homeowner’s best-practices perspective. It will also give borrowers the opportunity to meet with their lenders, face to face, in order to work toward a solution to avoid foreclosure,” Cosgrove said.

There will be nonprofit counseling available as well at this event “for those who have other debts or obligations to address in order to prioritize the home,” added Cosgrove.

One advantage of this seminar over just doing research on the Internet or elsewhere is that at this event, representatives of various organizations who can help individuals with hardships will be there in person to help you, she said.

“They can help you determine your options and get the process started. In certain situations, borrowers have been able to exit an event with their workout option approved that day,” Cosgrove explained.

To get approved that same day, one will need to bring the following requirements ready for the processing: proof of financial hardships which could be loss of employment or reduction of work hours, major illness or injury, divorce or separation, and death of a spouse; and statements showing income and expenses.

Cosgrove said loan modifications and other relief options are available to those who are honest and demonstrate a hardship. She defined hardship as “an involuntary inability to make your mortgage payment.”

Not being realistic is one of the mistakes commonly made by homeowners when it comes to seeking help from their mortgage companies.

“Adjustments to the original loan terms will not be made for homeowners just because they don’t want to give up their lavish lifestyle and expensive car payment, or are renting an investment property to family members for below market rent,” Cosgrove said.

Ironically, there are always those who take advantage of a sad situation to make a buck out of unsuspecting people who are already having difficulties making ends meet. Advertisements are everywhere – on television, radio and the printed media – offering services and promising results and relief from mortgage debts to vulnerable and unsuspecting consumers but at  a cost. This is a case of caveat emptor or buyer beware, Cosgrove warns consumers.

“Don’t pay organizations to help you. There are thousands of companies that are charging borrowers and telling them ‘we’ll work with your lender.’ Steer clear of anyone who charges. Instead, call one of the federally approved nonprofit counseling agencies whose services are free,” she said.

Advice for frustrated homeowners
Cosgrove’s advice to homeowners who are getting increasingly frustrated because they can’t get the attention or any answer or cooperation from their mortgage companies:

• Keep calling and make sure you’re talking to the right person.

• Demand to talk with loss mitigation area, not collections. As a consumer, you have the right to request to speak with a supervisor.

• Be sure to keep a log of each person you speak with and contact as you make an effort to work with your servicer. Oftentimes, if a borrower establishes a relationship with a HUD-certified counselor, the counselor will have access to specialized phone portals in order to help facilitate the collection of your financial data and completion of your loss mitigation request.

Added Cosgrove, “Borrowers with loans owned by Freddie Mac and others may qualify for special loan modification programs, including permanent rate reductions, mortgage term extensions or forbearance. Just remember these three rules: be prepared, be honest, and be realistic about possible outcomes.”

Freddie Mac does not have a disclosable breakout of foreclosure figures by state, said Cosgrove. However, she said that nationally, about 200,000 of Freddie Mac’s 12 million loans are either 90 days late or in some stage of foreclosure.

“We’re also approving an estimated 14,000 workouts a month through our mortgage services, which means about 3 out of 5 seriously delinquent borrowers with Freddie Mac loans avoid foreclosures. Our REO (Real Estate Owned-homes we own due to foreclosures, etc.) inventory is about 29,000 homes nationwide. In context, Freddie Mac loans account for just 7 percent of the nation’s seriously delinquent mortgages, Cosgrove said.

Five tips to make the most of your call to your mortgage servicer from Freddie Mac:

• Open your mail. Notices are sent before foreclosure proceedings begin so be sure to open your mail for loan modification offers and advice from your mortgage services. Freddie Mac advises distressed borrowers not to stand by and wait.

• Be prepared before you call. Ask to speak to someone in the loss mitigation area (not the collection area) and make sure you can quickly and concisely state your financial hardship. Workout programs are only available for borrowers with true financial hardships. Harships include: loss of employment or reduction of hours, major illness or injury, divorce or separation, and death of a spouse.

• Be able to document your income and provide details about your mortgage loan and other financial obligations so have the following documents on hand:

a. Your mortgage loan number, name of mortgage services and recent mortgage statement,

b. Your most current pay stubs,

c. Your bank statements, with account balances and account numbers, and

d. Information on other expenses and debts, such as student loans, car leases, and credit card debt.

• Be honest about your income, expenses and debt. A credit report will be pulled and income such as child support and other debts will show up.

• Be realistic. Loan modifications won’t be made for homeowners just because they don’t want to give up their lavish lifestyle and expensive car payment or are renting an investment property to family members for below market rent. If that’s the case, start reducing expenses and saving money by paring down to bare necessities.

The University of Phoenix in Lathrop is located in the Lathrop Business Park on South Harlan Road east of Interstate 5,  just south of Louise Avenue.
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