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Real Estate Foreclosure Recap For 2008

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By : Kevin Curtis    99 or more times read
In recapping the foreclosure situation in the United States for 2008, one must go back a few years. Two or three years ago no one knew what disaster was awaiting the housing market. Most people were living the American dream and enjoyed becoming homeowners. However, by 2007 disaster struck as the subprime crisis began and eventually became a runaway train.

Statistics put foreclosures in 2008 at 3,157,806. These figures show an 81 percent increase over 2007. At the end of 2008, foreclosures were still a big problem in the real estate market. (RealtyTrac, 2008 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, 2009)

One big mistake many homeowners make when they begin having problems paying their mortgage is to try and solve the problem alone. Or worse, some people simply ignore it; hoping that things will improve. These are actions that lead to bigger problems down the road. Ignoring the fact that you cannot meet your mortgage obligations may lead to losing the house and damaging your credit.

Once it's obvious that you have problems with payments, the prudent thing to do is to contact your lender. Mortgage companies are not interested in owning property; they want the returns from loans and will most often work with homeowners to find solutions.

Despite all the gloom and doom, foreclosure, or the threat of it, isn't the end of the line for homeowners. There are ways to weather the storm. Some of these include:

  • Talk to the mortgage company or bank and ask for time to get caught up before they start legal proceedings leading to foreclosure. This is known in the real estate sector as forbearance. Some institutions will help you work out a repayment plan.

  • Talk to lenders and request a plan to spread out payments so as to catch up on missed payments. This type of arrangement usually calls for making a larger monthly payment.

  • Refinancing is another possibility, but must be entered into carefully. This is done when there is equity in the home; the value of the home is greater than the balance on the outstanding loan.

  • While not a very popular option, some lenders will forgive a month or two of missed payments. The earlier they are approached, the better the chances to implement this option.

If these options fail or are not available, one popular strategy in the real estate industry right now is a short sale. While this affects your credit rating, it will not have the same dire impact as foreclosure. With a short sale your home is sold for less than the outstanding loan. Experienced real estate agents will work to get the difference of the sale price and outstanding debt forgiven: retiring the debt. In other instances, however, the homeowner may still be required to come up with the difference.

It's important if facing foreclosure to get as much information as possible and to use only qualified persons to help you. For example, if the decision is to go the route of short sale, a certified real estate agent familiar with the process is an invaluable asset. If you plan on asking for time to repay, look for someone who is great at negotiating to help you.

Finally, be aware of foreclosure scammers who are out there taking advantage of homeowners. Many desperate homeowners facing foreclosure have been wiped out by these companies. Some property owners have even signed over the titles to their homes. Research, ask questions and read every document before signing. Verify the credentials of anyone or company you may be working with.
Kevin Curtis is a licensed agent with RE/MAX Advantage Plus and The Minnesota Real Estate Team. The #1 Re/Max team in MN for 2006 2009. Search MN MLS listings and get ongoing insights into the Minnesota Real Estate market at You can follow Kevin Curtis on Twitter

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