What options do homeowners have when facing foreclosure?

This article looks at a few of the options homeowners have when threatened with foreclosure.

According to RealtyTrac, there are between 1,500 and 2,000 foreclosure filings in Arizona each month. While the foreclosure rate has improved since the Great Recession, far too many people still face the terrifying prospect of being evicted from their homes because of mortgage nonpayment. Needless to say, the threat of losing one's home is very serious and when faced with a foreclosure notice many homeowners tend to feel helpless and overwhelmed. In many cases, however, there are options for those who are facing foreclosure and knowing what those options are could help one maintain ownership of one's home.

Support and advocacy groups

As U.S. News & World Report notes, a good resource for homeowners who are facing eviction by a lender is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD maintains a list of agencies for each state that can help homeowners who are having trouble keeping up with mortgage payments. Many of these agencies offer advice to homeowners on how to possibly avoid foreclosure and whether they qualify for any federal or state programs that may help ease their financial burden.

For example, the federal Making Home Affordable program was established in 2009 to assist some homeowners who are facing delinquency and foreclosure. The program is tailored to those who signed their mortgage prior to 2009 and who owe less than $729,750. For homeowners who qualify, the program, which is coming to a close at the end of 2016, provides assistance with refinancing, loan modification and unemployment.

Legal options

In many cases, it is also possible to take legal action to fight against a foreclosure. Lenders must abide by state laws and regulations when initiating foreclosure proceedings. If the lender fails to provide adequate notice of nonpayment or of foreclosure proceedings, for example, then the homeowner may be able to stay in his or her home.

Because challenges to foreclosures are often based on whether lenders followed the proper timeline when evicting a homeowner, the earlier a homeowner talks to an attorney the better. More often than not, an attorney will have more options for challenging foreclosure proceedings if those proceedings are still in the early stages. While it is possible to rescind a foreclosure after the fact, challenging an eviction is generally easier to do before the eviction has actually taken place.

Contacting an attorney

Not all attorneys are created equal when it comes to fighting foreclosures and helping people stay in their homes. An attorney should be consulted who has proven experience in real estate law, particularly in Arizona. With a qualified attorney on one's side, one will have the guidance needed to understand what legal options are available for possibly maintaining ownership of one's home.