Avoiding foreclosure

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You scrimp and save for years, and you finally purchase your dream home, but then an incident or series of incidents comes along, causing you to fall behind on your payments. Instead of helping, many lenders will start the foreclosure process on your property. What should you do?

First and foremost: Never ignore the lender! Usually, around 30 days after missing your first payment, the lender will begin trying to reach you either through snail mail or telephone. Ignoring their letters and calls will only make the situation worse. Think like the lender for a moment. If they are contacting you, but you’re not contacting them back, they might think you have abandoned the property, which would only speed up the foreclosure process.

Somewhere around Day 90, the lender will contact outside help and obtain legal counsel. This is when the court proceedings usually begin. You will usually be subpoenaed by the court to stand before a judge. This process can sometime be quick and at other times lengthy. In Illinois, the average time to complete a foreclosure is nine months.

Once the process starts, the fees can become outrageous! The attorney will usually add his legal and court costs to the lawsuit he is filing on behalf of the lender. You would be responsible for paying those fees and costs if a judgment was granted on behalf of the lenders.

Several different things can happen at this point. One is forbearance, which allows the homeowner to skip a couple of payments or reduce the principal amount due. Another is re-instatement, which allows the homeowner to make a payment to the lender, bringing them up to date on the loan. The last is a repayment plan that allows the homeowner to make an additional payment on top of their usually monthly payment until the loan is current.

There are several different programs that have been set up to help you in this process. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development counsels homeowners, and the federal government has set up a website that gives information on federal mortgage relief and refinancing programs. A knowledgeable Realtor or a foreclosure attorney can also be of assistance to you.

Keep this in mind: Never go at it alone!

For more, call 847-292-4700, e-mail gz@zerillorealty.com or visit www.zerillorealty.com.

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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