I’m hopeful that Act 48 will deliver results to distressed homeowners seeking loan modifications, especially those who have wholeheartedly attempted to work with their lenders, but have been given the runaround. Not to mention, more families will be able to keep their homes and move forward with their lives.
This is good news. But it’s not the only avenue you can take. If you are having difficulty making mortgage payments or want to avoid potential mortgage troubles altogether, information is your best defense. Thankfully, there are many services available to you, and most are free of charge. Here are a few of them:
• Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling: The name says it all. You can find a list of local counseling agencies at www.hud.gov.
• Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA): Available until December 31, 2012, this federal program offers incentives in connection with a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure (DIL) used to avoid foreclosure on a loan eligible for modification. Visit www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov to learn more.
• Legal Assistance: These free services, (like those offered by the Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i and U.S. Department of Justice Pro Bono Program), provide legal assistance in the areas of real estate, foreclosure and other Hawai‘i laws.
• Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP): Offered by the state Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the program provides mortgage payment relief those “experiencing a drop in income of at least 15 percent directly resulting from involuntary unemployment or underemployment due to adverse economic conditions and/or a medical emergency.”