Resources for distressed homeowners

Are you struggling to make payments or have you fallen behind on your mortgage? The resources below may be able to help.

Help applying for a loan modification

You can always apply for a loan modification on your own. There are many free resources available to provide advice about the loan modification.

Be aware of loan modification and foreclosure rescue scams. Scam companies often target homeowners facing foreclosure promising to save the home or prevent foreclosure for a fee.

Never agree to anything that requires you to transfer title to your home to another party or agree to make your mortgage payments to someone other than your servicer. See Foreclosure-Related Scams for more information.

There are many free resources to help with foreclosure. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a list of free or low cost housing counselors and foreclosure avoidance services. Many communities have non-profit housing counselors, who can help for free. To find a counselor near you, call 1-800-569-4287 or visit HUD's website.

Making Home Affordable (MHA) has information about programs. It can also give guidance on options. You can contact MHA by calling (888) 995-4673 or by visiting MHA's website.

If you've applied for a loan modification but are having problems working with your servicer, and the mortgaged property is your primary residence, then the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office may be able to help.  If you feel your loan servicer is being  unfair or deceptive, please file a consumer complaint.

Help stopping a foreclosure sale

Is a foreclosure sale already scheduled? Your mortgage servicer may still be willing to postpone the sale to review you for a loan modification or other options. If you are facing imminent foreclosure, within the next 7 days, the Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) may be able to help. The DOB oversees Massachusetts laws about modification and foreclosure processes. They can make a one-time request on the homeowner's behalf and can ask the servicer to grant a 30- to 60-day stay in the foreclosure process. This stay provides extra time work out an alternative to foreclosure. To contact the DOB, call Consumer Assistance at (617) 956-1501 or email dobconsumer.assistance@state.ma.us.

 

Help finding alternative housing

If it looks like there will be no way to prevent foreclosure, you can speak with your servicer about how much time you have to find a new place to live.You do not have to vacate your house before or on the date of the foreclosure sale. The foreclosure sale will transfer the title to the property either to a third party purchaser or to the bank. The new owner needs to pursue a formal eviction process to require you to vacate the property.

Often you can work out an arrangement following foreclosure to leave the property by a certain date in order to avoid the eviction process.  

For help finding new housing, you can speak with a social services agency in your community. There are several organizations available to help homeowners facing foreclosure. A HUD approved housing counselor may be able to provide transition assistance, such as helping you obtain rental housing. You can find a counselor near you by calling 1-800-569-4287 or visiting HUD's website.

The Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP) Association works with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and other state agencies to help Massachusetts residents obtain economic and housing stability. You can find your local Consumer Action Program by visiting the MASSCAP website

The Citizen's Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) works to create and sustain affordable housing units in Massachusetts. You can view their affordable home listings

The Massachusetts Regional Administrating Agencies assist the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development in helping residents who are seeking information on low and moderate income housing options. Their "Guide to Obtaining Housing Assitance" is a resource for consumers. 

Help finding an attorney

The Attorney General’s Office is not able to provide legal advice or act as your attorney. If you want help finding an attorney, you can contact the Mass Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (617) 654-0400. If you are going to hire an attorney, make sure you understand what the attorney will do and how much the attorney will charge.

Several non-profit legal services agencies in Massachusetts provide free legal help. Legal services agencies are limited in the amount of help they can provide, and may have income-level requirements. The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation's website has a list of legal services agencies.

Boston Community Capital SUN Initiative

Non-profit Boston Community Capital's (BCC) SUN Initiative helps homeowners who are facing foreclosure repurchase their homes with a new mortgage, if they qualify. The SUN Initative also works with foreclosed homeowners still living in the property, who may be able to repurchase the property and avoid post-forclosure eviction. SUN requires stable income and works especially well for homeowners who are "underwater" on their morgages (owe more than their homes are worth). SUN programs have particular guidelines and criteria for qualification. You can visit BCC's website or call 617-933-5880 to learn more.

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