Can you really fight or avoid foreclosure? I’m beginning to doubt it but am trying to remain hopeful. I continue to work with the Housing Authority and Bank of America but haven’t made any actual progress. While they have not foreclosed on my home yet, we have not yet reached a meaningful and permanent agreement either.
So Is Relocation The Answer?
Four years ago, the cost of living in New York really started to soar. Many people “saw the writing on the wall” and sold their homes to move to a cheaper state. Was that the ultimate answer to saving yourself from foreclosure?
Unfortunately not. While there can be improvements in some cases, moving will not guarantee any changes to your financial situation (there are no guarantees in life, after all). Often when you move, your financial problems follow you somehow. A friend of mine decided to sell her home in a highly taxed suburb to move to a more affordable home in a less expensive state. The cost of living in that state rose two years later along with the taxes. Finding work in a new state with few connections in a changing job market was nearly impossible. It’s rather unfortunate, but now, she and her husband are facing foreclosure.
Image from Natalie Dee
Who Says There’s A Fat Chance When It Comes To Fighting Foreclosure?
Greg Staffa once ran a blog called becauseimfat.com (it’s no longer active) to outline his struggles with foreclosure. He ended up living out of his car through some important events such as Christmas, New Year and his birthday because of a foreclosure and the inability to negotiate a meaningful mortgage loan modification. An injury while performing his job as a baggage handler for Northwest Airlines in 2006 left Greg Staffa unemployed and unable to pay his mortgage since October, 2008.
Greg did not get compensation for his injuries as his problems were attributed to his weight. Ultimately, Greg Staffa lost his home on December 18, 2009 and found himself on the streets. This is just one of many cases of homelessness brought about by unfortunate events in our lives. Unexpected emergencies, health problems and even the economy can throw a monkey wrench into our regular routine. As it is, many people are facing personal bankruptcy, foreclosure and homelessness due to the recent job and housing crisis in the United States.
So is there any way to fight foreclosure?
How To Stop Foreclosure (Or At Least Try To)
There are several ways to try to fight foreclosure and keep your home. Let’s consider some of the initial steps to take when you know you won’t be able to meet your housing payments.
- Talk to the bank. Don’t run and hide. They already know you haven’t been paying and so they will find you, one way or another. Call them and tell them your situation. It may encourage more meaningful negotiations. At the very least, it will buy you more time to get current on your payments and will allow you to consider alternative housing.
- Review your financial situation. Are there expenses you can cut temporarily? Now is the time to cut back on those non-essential expenditures, like ballet lessons or cable television. Every penny counts when you need to keep a roof over your family’s collective head.
- Work harder and smarter. Find ways to increase your income or try to generate additional income. Clean out your house and sell stuff you don’t use. Get a second job. Freelance your skills online to earn extra money. Show the bank that you are willing to try to meet your outstanding obligation.
- Contact your local housing authority, community organization and legislators. Find out the latest assistance programs you qualify for. From heating assistance to loan modification representation, there are programs that your community may be able to help you with. Local organizations can offer the helping hand you need to possibly avoid a housing crisis.
Granted, some of these tips may not be easy fixes, especially in light of a still struggling economy. However, we continue to fight for our home and wonder everyday if we will be searching for a new one. Either way, we’re not going down without a fight! After all, our housing stability and credit are on the line. If necessary, we will consider hiring an attorney to represent our interests. I am calling soon to get on the pro bono attorney’s list (free legal services to those who qualify) through the local bar association.
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