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Avoiding Foreclosure: Protect yourself and Your Home from Repossession


Avoiding Foreclosure: Protect yourself and Your Home from Repossession
in Blowing Rock, Boone, Valle Crucis, Banner Elk, Seven Devils, or Deep Gap 

   Home foreclosure has skyrocketed in the last year, thanks to Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) increasing sharply and the current economic crisis that the country is in. Most foreclosures are affecting those in the lower-income or lower-credit rating area, commonly known as the 'sub-prime' sector. Nonetheless, homes are being repossessed from middle-class, average American families, as well as those financially located below the middle-class at an unprecedented rate. There are ways to avoid this terrible situation and understanding the rules of credit is a key component. With holiday spending and debts looming, now is the time to make sure you know exactly how to avoid losing your home. 

   First of all, make sure you understand what foreclosure is and when it can happen. Foreclosure is what occurs when a borrower falls behind on their mortgage payments. Because technically, the bank from whom you received a home loan owns your home, they can take possession of it at any time should you fail to pay your monthly mortgage. While different lending institutions vary, simply making a late payment one month will put a permanent red mark on your credit history and missing one payment can set the foreclosure wheel in motion. More than any other bill you could possibly have, always pay your mortgage. Put this in front of credit cards, student loans, utilities, or anything else you might have to pay. Remember that your credit rating is taken into consideration for new mortgages, personal, auto, and education loans as well as for credit card applications. Some employers also run credit checks on employment candidates. A black mark on your mortgage could keep you from owning another home and even from getting a job. Sorting out and addressing your mortgage can make your life much easier - just make sure that your home is your number one priority. 

   Look to see what sort of mortgage you have. Right now, a 30-year fixed rate is the most desirable mortgage for anyone who can't make huge monthly payments. An ARM mortgage can change after the introductory rate period expires. For example, a 5-year ARM means that for the first five years, the rate will stay fixed at the original interest rate. Usually this rate is around 6%. However, after the 5 year introductory period, this percentage can jump at a rate of 5% per year. This means that three years after your introductory rate ends, your interest could be closer to 20% than 6%. This phenomenon is a major cause of the current foreclosure nightmare that's being seen across the country. As interest rates leap upward, individuals are found to be paying unimaginable amounts of money each month. If your monthly payment is around $800 for the first five years, it may rise sharply after that introductory period. The worst part of this is that the incredibly high payments you could suddenly be facing will not cause your total balance to decrease any faster. This is simply money that your lender is making off of your mortgage. 

   In recent months the Federal Reserve or "the FED" has cut the interest rate on loans across the board. The current interest rate on home loans is much lower than it was even a year ago and if the trend continues, will continue to decrease through the beginning of 2008. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, now is the perfect time to look at refinancing into a fixed-rate mortgage. Before your interest shoots upward you should seriously consider locking in a fixed-rate plan. At the moment, the housing market in the United States is looking bleak and many homeowners who planned on turning a profit in a few years off the sale of their homes are now looking to stay in their homes longer than they may have originally planned. Instead of trying to sell a home quickly to avoid that interest jump, look into refinancing as a more viable option. This is also advisable if your current mortgage is a fixed rate but has a much higher interest rate than those presently available. The one thing to remember with refinancing is that you will have to pay closing costs a second time. Usually these can be rolled into the amount of the loan and the cost of the refinancing is, in the long term, far less than the cost of unruly interest. 

   The federal government has also recently begun discussion on a 'freeze' for adjustable-rate mortgages to slow the foreclosure trend and to secure money for the lending institutions. Those who are eligible for this freeze are those borrowers who took out their loans from the start of 2005 through July 30th of this year with loan rates that are scheduled to rise anytime from January 1, 2008 to July 31, 2010. Although this hasn't been confirmed yet on a federal level, many lenders are agreeing to this procedure on a state-to-state level and beginning the process for qualified borrowers. If your loan qualifies based on the time period, contact your lender immediately and see if a freeze is possible on your mortgage. The freeze isn't permanent and refinancing is still the best solution, but this will buy you some time. This will allow many homeowners enough time to find a long-term solution. Directly contacting your lender is the best way to find out if you qualify for a temporary freeze. 

   Refinancing can take some time, so make sure that you start the process earlier rather than later. Waiting until your introductory rate is nearly expired is only going to end up costing you more money. If you're in a desperate situation in regards to your mortgage, contact your lending bank right away. Often they may be able to help you avoid foreclosure and are usually willing to work with a borrower as long as you contact them before your first late payment. This is especially crucial if you're experiencing any sort of major life adjustment, such as losing a job. 

   Although it may seem impossible, there are ways to make extra money, or at the very least, save enough money to cover a few difficult months until your refinancing or home sale can take place. Be aware of where you spend the most money. Try taking the bus to work to save on gas. Don't eat out for meals until your financial situation is settled comfortably. Make a grocery list of the necessities and buy things that can make several meals, such as boxes of pasta and rice. As unappealing as eating spaghetti for a month may seem, it's far more appealing than losing your home and also, your credit rating. When bills show up, make sure that you pay them in order of importance. The first, of course, being your mortgage. Once this is taken care of, pay any bills that charge a high interest rate. Credit cards and loans will usually report unpaid balances to the credit bureaus within a few months. Don't let these go past 90 days or you may see a large dip in your credit score which can also affect your ability to refinance or eventually, purchase a new home. Car payments are also vital if you rely on your vehicle for transportation, otherwise you may want to sell your car and opt for public transit. This money can be used to pay your mortgage and it's a very good option if you can rely on public transport in your area. Other bills like utilities are important, but often service won't be stopped until after several months of non-payment. If you absolutely can not pay all of your bills, these are the best to hold off on. Things like cable television, satellite radio, newspaper subscriptions, or anything else that provides entertainment should be stopped as well as anything else that is not a vital necessity. These are bills that may seem like small amounts, but they can add up quickly. Cancel these immediately and save the money usually spent on them to pay your mortgage for as long as possible. The fewer bills you have, the easier it will be to apply your income to your home loan. 

   If you fear that foreclosure may be in your future, make sure you check every available option. Even if the situation seems hopeless, there may be a solution available. Many city and local governments have set up offices designed specifically to assist homeowners. Check your city's website to see what sort of assistance they offer. A wealth of resources are also available on line, offering everything from a basic understanding of interest rates to tips on how to raise your credit score. Sometimes avoiding foreclosure is as simple as refinancing or taking a part-time job to make your payments on time. Sometimes, it's far more complicated. No matter what your situation, make sure you talk to your lending bank as soon as you think problems may arise. Then check with your city and surrounding area to see what sort of free aid is available. The efforts to stop foreclosure are nation-wide and with good reason, the current housing market is in dire need of a boost. You may find many available forms of assistance to help you keep your home and your life together.

   If you're looking to purchase a foreclosure property in Blowing Rock, Boone, Valle Crucis, Banner Elk, Seven Devils, or Deep Gap then contact Ace Realty in Blowing Rock and Boone North Carolina

   Ace Realty in Blowing Rock can help you with all your Blowing Rock area real estate needs. We can be reached at (828) 295-6165.

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