According to the article titled “Federal regulators allow more time for reviews of foreclosures”, written by Michelle Singletary and published in The Washington Post, “[a]fter widespread complaints by consumer advocates and borrowers about deceitful and improper practices, federal regulators required 14 large residential mortgage servicers to retain independent consultants to provide an unbiased review of their foreclosure actions.” If your primary residence was involved in a foreclosure process (this means, sold at foreclosure, in the foreclosure process, or was going to be foreclosed on but payments were made to bring the mortgage up-to-date) between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, you may qualify for this review (deadline to apply for such review is December 31, 2012). During these reviews, if consultants find any mishaps or errors, borrowers who suffered financial injury because of these problems may be entitled to money or another remedy. These reviews are free.
For more information on these reviews and for a list of mortgage servicers/their affiliates, go to independentforeclosurereview.com or call 888-952-9105.
According to the article titled “Fannie, Freddie align servicing guidelines for delinquent mortgages”, written by Jon Prior and published in Housing Wire, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “to align their guidelines for servicing delinquent mortgages.” These new alignments direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to engage the borrowers as soon as they become delinquent on their mortgages. Therefore, the “foreclosure process cannot begin if the borrower and servicer are working toward solving the delinquency in a good-faith effort…”
The CEOs of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac believe that this new FHFA action will be beneficial to the servicers and borrowers, allowing earlier, effective, and more frequent communications. According to Ed Haldeman, CEO of Freddie Mac, this initiative “…‘will simplify the process for seeking help by giving borrowers one application to fill out and servicers one application to review for all Freddie Mac loan modifications and foreclosure alternatives.’”
To read the article in its entirety, please click here.
Unfortunately, there are a significant number of short sales and/or foreclosures in the State of Maryland as stated in our previous blog post titled “Care for foreclosed homes in Maryland”. Many people wonder what the effect of late mortgage payments, short sales, and/or foreclosures have on their credit scores and the estimated time for their credit scores to recover. Please see the answers/helpful tables from FICO by clicking here. One of FICO’s interesting findings is the following: “There’s no significant difference in score impact between short sale/deed-in-lieu/settlement and foreclosure.”
To read all of FICO’s findings, please click here.
The article titled “Md. bill would make banks care for foreclosed homes”, written by Liz Farmer and published in the March 13, 2011 edition of The Washington Examiner, explains a proposed bill that focuses on care for all foreclosures. The bill, recently introduced by delegates from Prince George’s and Charles counties, “would require banks and investment companies that repossess or foreclose on a home to pay for maintaining and securing the property, a measure just as much about safety as it is appearance”.
In January 2011, more than 700 homes in Prince George’s County went into foreclosure; this amount is nearly five times the total amount of homes that are foreclosed on in Montgomery County. The more than 4,000 foreclosed homes in Prince George’s County account for nearly one-third of the State of Maryland’s total. Prince George’s County has the highest foreclosure rate in Maryland, followed by Dorchester and Charles counties.
Foreclosures depreciate a neighborhood’s property value; neglected properties only “exacerbate the problem.” “‘When foreclosures…are vacant or abandoned, those properties are not kept up or maintained, so it not only pulls down the value when it’s finally sold, but also the perceived value when someone drives through the neighborhood,’ Daren Blomquist, spokesman for the foreclosure tracking firm Realty Trac”, explained.
The proposed bill “would authorize localities to pass laws requiring lenders to register their repossessed properties with the city or county and establishing fines for those who violate the maintenance requirements.”
The delegates who proposed this bill explain that they are not putting fault on banks and investment companies, but they are holding such banks and investment companies accountable to the same standard a homeowners’ association would be.
To read the article in its entirety, please click here.
To learn more about loan modifications, please read the memorandum that Lynn Caudle Boynton, Esquire, with Olde Key Title, wrote. This memorandum outlines the basics, steps, and specifics of the loan modification process–a process which many do not fully understand how to begin.
If there are any topics you would like Olde Key Title to research and write about in the New Year, please let us know by leaving us a comment. Happy New Year!
With foreclosures being a big problem throughout the United States, as well as in Maryland, Governor O’Malley recently passed a bill that will change the foreclosure process in the State of Maryland (House Bill 472). Effective July 1, 2010, among other new requirements, lenders must provide, or attempt to provide, homeowners with “loss mitigation” alternatives to foreclosure. The following article, printed in the Montgomery County Sentinel, explains the new bill and its effect on homeowners facing foreclosure: The latest foreclosure mitigation plan (article). Additional information can be found on Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s website.