Find the right help for youMany helpful foreclosure avoidance programs and options are available, but not every option is the right choice for every homeowner. You need to talk to a housing counselor or a lawyer to determine best course of action for your unique situation. You may be eligible for free legal help if your income is not more than 250% of the federal poverty level.
HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agencies
If your home is not in foreclosure yet, but you are worried about being able to make payments due to lower income, a HUD-approved housing counseling agency may be able to help you avoid foreclosure. You may be eligible for a special Making Home Affordable loan modification or refinance, to reduce your monthly payments and help you keep your home. Foreclosure prevention counseling services are provided free of charge by nonprofit housing counseling agencies working in partnership with the Federal Government.
Beware of Scams.
Criminals often target homeowners worried about their mortgages. They charge big fees and promise “guaranteed” or “immediate” results. You end up with nothing in return. Call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you think you may be the target or victim of a scam.
Contact:855-411-CFPB(2372) | consumerfinance.gov
Options for Legal Assistance
Sometimes a homeowner needs legal help from a lawyer. Lawyers can help with problems such as the death of a homeowner, mortgage issues that come up as the result of a divorce, debt collection and bankruptcy.
Volunteer Lawyers Programs
Lawyers are available through pro bono programs; pro bono means “free of charge.” Rule 6.1 of the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure for lawyers states that lawyers should help provide access to the judicial system to citizens who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer. One way lawyers meet this responsibility is through Volunteer Lawyers Programs (VLPs). Alabama’s VLPs serve different parts of the state. They are listed below:
Provides legal help to people in all counties of Alabama EXCEPT Baldwin, Clarke, Madison, Mobile, Jefferson, Montgomery or Washington.Telephone: 334-517-2230
Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation
The Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution sponsors a program that allows specially-trained mediators to assist Alabama citizens with foreclosure and mortgage problems by mediating between the homeowner and the mortgage holder. The center will pay the cost of the mediators to mediate homeownership issues allowing homeowners to resolve their problems at no cost.
Mortgage modification mediation is a confidential and voluntary process where you and the servicer may discuss ways to resolve your homeowner issues with an impartial third party called a mediator. Mediation can be an effective intervention tool particularly when used early.
The ideal situation is for the homeowner and the servicer to communicate on their own, but talking to a servicer can be intimidating, overwhelming or confusing. When communication is difficult or has broken down, this is a time to use mediation.
Mediation can occur any time really, but the best time is pre-foreclosure within the first 90 days after the first missed payment. As of January 14th, 2014, there are new national servicing guidelines setting forth timelines in which both the homeowner/borrower and the servicer must act.
Whether you have a housing counselor, a lawyer, or are on your own, you can ask your servicer, the person who is receiving your mortgage payments, to participate in mediation. Most servicers are incentivized to participate in these types of programs. You (or your lawyer) may call the Center and request referral to a mediator.
If you are post-foreclosure in the circuit court or appellate court you may request mortgage modification mediation. You may also request mediation in bankruptcy court as well.