2011-04-02 / News

Do not lose your home to a foreclosure scam

By Doug Garver Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Executive Director

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) would like to remind homeowners who are facing an economic hardship and struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments to be careful when choosing an organization for assistance.

Families who are experiencing financial hardships and are possibly in danger of losing their homes should be aware that there are numerous scam artists who specialize in taking advantage of people who are experiencing financial difficulty. These scam artists promise homeowners they will rescue their homes or they guarantee they will convince their mortgage servicer to immediately stop foreclosure. Homeowners should be suspicious of these claims.

Borrowers should also be cautious of the documents they sign. A homeowner may think they are signing a document that will appoint an organization to act on their behalf when in fact they are signing over the title of the property and becoming a renter in their own home. Homeowners should never sign a legal document without reading and understanding all of the terms and getting professional advice from an attorney, a trusted real estate professional, or a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counselor.

Homeowners are not alone in this unprecedented foreclosure crisis. Free help is available and there are more options now than ever before. OHFA is the proud administrator of Restoring Stability: A Save the Dream Ohio Initiative. It is a free, statewide foreclosure prevention program that is estimated to help nearly 50,000 Ohioans stay in their homes.

Restoring Stability offers four program options for homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure due to a reduction in income. These programs may provide up to $15,000 per household, and were designed to assist homeowners, particularly those who are unemployed, who have been unable to qualify for existing loan modification and foreclosure prevention programs.

Each homeowner will work with a HUD-approved housing counseling agency to determine the best strategy to address their unique situation. We know that working with a HUD- approved counseling agency is beneficial. Homeowners who do are 60 percent more likely to save their home than homeowners who go it alone. HUD-approved counseling agencies that work with homeowners through Restoring Stability and Save the Dream Ohio will nevercharge homeowners a fee for their foreclosure prevention services.

Since the launch of the initiative, more than 25,000 homeowners have registered for the program. I strongly encourage homeowners who think they may be eligible for assistance to submit an application online at www.savethedream.ohio.gov, over the phone through our toll-free hotline at 888-404-4674, or at one of our 35 participating HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. A list of housing counseling agencies is available online at www.savethedream.ohio.gov.

Take wise action to save your home from foreclosure and contact Save the Dream Ohio today.

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