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Try As Hard to Save Your Home as You Did When You Bought It.

Foreclosure, arrears, loan modification, sheriff’s sale…

Unfortunately, these terms have become more common over recent years. We’ve all learned to recognize and understand them — often due to personal circumstances. Almost daily, the news media use them to report on the housing market, real property values, or economy.

If you or your family are facing financial difficulties and your home is at risk, you need to know available options to deal with a delinquent mortgage loan and foreclosure.

Many lenders have loan modification programs. If you are behind on mortgage payments, you should contact your lender immediately and ask about modification programs. Ask if you qualify for any of them. Try to understand the applications. See what documents the lender needs to make a determination. See what potential there is to grant a loan modification.

These programs can take time to develop. Homeowners often become frustrated because the lenders often ask for documents that you have already supplied. Be patient and be proactive. Make sure that you do everything you can before the foreclosure is filed.

Once a foreclosure is filed, it’s still not too late. There are still options.

First, read everything thoroughly — all documents you receive. Read them in full. Call a professional if you don’t understand the documents or how to answer them.

Several counties in Southeastern Wisconsin (Kenosha, Racine, & Milwaukee) have established a foreclosure mediation program to assist homeowners facing a mortgage foreclosure. To be eligible, you must live in and own the property that is subject to the foreclosure action, and the property must be a four (4) unit building or less. The program starts by having the homeowner work with a qualified housing counselor. Once a proposal for mediation is prepared, a trained mediator is assigned to help the homeowner reach an agreement with the lender.

There are nominal fees associated with the program and specific time lines to follow. You do not lose or waive any rights by participating. The program is an effective way to reach a loan modification.

A similar program is in place in the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bankruptcy Court. Participation in that program requires that a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy be filed along with several motions. The lender must consent to the program. This program is more detailed and complicated, but it is a valuable tool if you face the loss of your home and are currently earning enough to pay a modified loan amount.

If you are facing a foreclosure and want to keep your home, you need to be informed. Look at all alternatives to save your home.

Dedicate the time and attention you need to participate in any loan modification programs, foreclosure mediation, or mortgage modification mediation.

Remember when you first bought your home? Remember all the time you spent looking at options and financing? It should be the same now. You are now facing the loss of your home.

You should invest at least an equal amount of time in trying to save your home for you and your family.