Remember that you can always attempt to negotiate a loan modification on your own. Banks (or "servicers") may now be willing to discuss modifications to an affordable rate, based on the borrower's ability to pay, in order to avoid foreclosures. There are nonprofit housing counselors available in most communities, at no cost to you. These counselors have experience in dealing with lenders and servicers. A list of foreclosure assistance resources by town is available on the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations website .

If you are going to pay someone to help represent you in attempting to avoid foreclosure, it is ILLEGAL for them to demand or accept a fee in advance (with the exception of certain fees for legal services which may be charged by a licensed attorney in the limited circumstances of preparing a bankruptcy filing or for court proceedings to avoid foreclosure). You should NEVER agree to any proposal where you are required to transfer title to your home to another party.

Do not ignore notices from the lender. And do not follow the advice of anyone who says that you should stop making payments - you will only get further in arrears, closer to foreclosure, and damage your credit rating.

Just because a party has information about your loan terms or your property does not mean that they are affiliated with your bank or a government program. That information can be obtained by various means, including through foreclosure filings. Be particularly careful not to share your personal information or credit information with someone whom you do not know.

Under law, the lender must provide you with a default notice and a 90-day "right-to-cure" period before they can foreclose on your home. Use this period to attempt to negotiate a loan modification with the lender.

If a foreclosure appears to be inevitable, speak with your lender about how much time you may have to find a new place to live, and consult with a social services agency in your community about assistance with the transition. Homeowners facing foreclosure should know that there are several organizations available to help.

 

Making Home Affordable

As part of President Obama's Administration's comprehensive Financial Stability Plan, Making Home Affordable is a plan to stabilize the housing market and help up to 7 to 9 million Americans reduce their monthly mortgage payments to more affordable levels. This includes: the Home Affordable Refinance Program, which gives up to 4 to 5 million homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac an opportunity to refinance into more affordable monthly payments; and the Home Affordable Modification Program, which commits $75 billion to keep up to 3 to 4 million Americans in their homes by preventing avoidable foreclosures. MakingHomeAffordable.gov provides homeowners with detailed information about these programs along with self-assessment tools and calculators to empower borrowers with the resources they need to determine whether they might be eligible for a modification or a refinance under the Administration's program. Borrowers can also connect with free counseling resources to help with outstanding questions; locate homeowner events in their communities; find a checklist of key documents and materials to have ready when making that important call to their servicer as well as FAQs from borrowers in similar circumstances; and much more.

 

Division of Banks

The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) seeks to maintain a sound, competitive, and accessible financial services environment. If homeowners are facing imminent foreclosure, the DOB may intervene on the homeowner's behalf and work with the lender to grant the homeowner a 30- to 60-day stay in the foreclosure process in order to work out a loan modification agreement. To contact the DOB, call Consumer Assistance at (617) 956-1500, ext. 501, or email dobconsumer.assistan@state.ma.us.

 

Ensuring Stability through Action in Our Community

Ensuring Stability through Action in Our Community (ESAC) is a nonprofit organization that provides foreclosure prevention counseling and third-party negotiation with mortgage brokers. ESAC also offers information and referral services to help consumers find alternate housing programs for which they may be eligible. To contact, call their Sustainable Homeownership Center at (617) 524-4820.

 

Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) operates a Home Save Program designed to streamline negotiations with the lender through political contacts and trained consultants. Consumers will need to fill out an application at their website, and note if they have received an auction date in order to potentially have their foreclosure postponed.

 

National Consumer Law Center

The National Consumer Law Center works to defend the rights of consumers in the areas of consumer debt, bankruptcy, foreclosure and mortgage servicing, basic energy and utility issues, and student loans. It also works to protect vulnerable populations and ensure the provision of these rights. Though it does not represent individual clients in legal matters, the organization's website has a variety of consumer publications on issues pertaining to foreclosure and mortgage servicing, bankruptcy, as well as a number of other consumer protection concerns.

 

Local Aid

The Department of Housing and Community Development has identified and contracted with housing agencies from across the Commonwealth that help homeowners with foreclosure counseling and provide first-time homeownership guidance and down-payment assistance .

 

Massachusetts Legal Services

Massachusetts Legal Services offers resources and services for lower-income Massachusetts residents. Massachusetts Legal Services will connect you with legal aid in your area.

 

NeighborWorks® America

NeighborWorks® America is a national nonprofit organization created by Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance and training for community-based revitalization efforts. The NeighborWorks® website provides an overview of its programs and services, which include foreclosure solutions, homeownership education and counseling, and money management skill development. One of the newest additions to its range of resources are the Consumer Home Buying Guides, a set of four consumer-focused guides to various stages of the home buying process. Developed by Fannie Mae Foundation, these guides deliver practical, specific and concise information in a user-friendly format.

 

MassHousing

MassHousing also provides information and assistance to individuals and families looking for affordable housing in the state.