Once considered the backbone of the real estate industry because most owned their homes outright, the over 50 age group seems to have been one of the biggest groups hurt by the recent mortgage turmoil. The not so obvious group who was suffering in silence.
The lure of cheap money from cash out refi’s to pay off other bills or take luxury vacations or helping out financially strapped children may have led them somewhere they had no intention of going. Unfortunately, like many others, this group got sucked into perhaps getting loans they did not need to take out during the heydays of the sub-prime mess. Most living on fixed income, are now unable to re-finance their loans and are losing homes at an alarming rate.
The problem facing this group is that time is not on their side. Unlike the younger segment, this segment may not have sufficient time to counter-act their negative equity situations. There is also higher concentration of fraud aimed at this group trying to take further advantage of their dire situations.
It’s a sad situation that folks of retirement age who should be enjoying their golden years are on the verge of losing their homes to foreclosure. However, things are not hopeless. There are a few options to help deal with the impending foreclosure for those who are unable to pay their mortgages and are continuing to fall behind. The thing is to act quickly and learn about various available options to see which is feasible for the particular homeowner:
1. Contact the loan servicer to see if they can qualify for the HARP 2.0 loan modification program if their loans are Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backed loans. To find out if your loan is a backed by one of the two institutions, please call
Fannie Mae: 1-800-7FANNIE
Freddie Mac: 1-800-FREDDIE
2. If the lender is Bank of America or Chase, there may be large cash incentives available for homeowners to entice them to do short sales instead of allowing the home to fall into foreclosure.
3. Most major lenders participate in a government sponsored program called HAFA which has financial incentives to help pay the homeowners as well as any junior lien holders to complete a short sale instead of foreclosure.
There is a lot of information out there, especially online, to help homeowners deal with and avoid foreclosures. Some in this segment may not be at ease searching for information online; in those instances, the children or grandchildren should help with research to learn about the options available to their beloved family members. There are solutions out there without having to lose their homes and walk away with zero benefits.
Millions of Older Americans at Risk of Foreclosure