Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dealing with Foreclosure in Oregon, Part I

Dealing with Foreclosure in Oregon
(c) 2009 Benjamin D. Knaupp
Attorney at Law
Admitted in Oregon since 1997

If you are facing foreclosure of a home or a second residence, you are not alone. Record numbers of people just like you are struggling in this economy with unemployment and declining property values. When you can’t make your house payments, most homeowners will receive a Notice of Default and Election to Sell their home from their lender or servicing agent. When you get this notice, you are officially “in foreclosure” which is a legal process governed by Oregon statutes. When you get this notice, or even before you receive it, you need to know what your rights, obligations, and duties are under the law, and how your can best cope with the situation.

I have found that there are 8 important questions relating to the foreclosure process that Oregonians need to know and understand. Knowing the questions and the answers to them could be the difference between losing your home or saving it, and potentially thousands of dollars in expenses or opportunity costs. Here are the 8 questions in brief.

#1. How does a home loan modification work?
Home loan modification is an agreement between you and you lender whereby your lender agrees to modify some or all of the terms of your loan. Most successful home loan modification agreements involve a reduction in the interest rate or repayment term of the loan. There is currently a confusing mix of private and government programs available to the public. Most of the government programs are new, so few people have any real experience dealing with them. There are both paid and “free” services being marketed to homeowners but very little certainty about what you are getting for the money you might be paying.

Currently I am noting relatively few homeowners having success with home loan modifications. While there are government provided incentives to lenders if they modify certain loans, there are several requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for a modification, and then only if your lender consents to the modification. The important thing to realize is that there are currently no laws that force a lender to modify your home loan. After reviewing a homeowner’s financial situation and the terms of their loan, I can usually make an educated guess as to whether a home loan modification offer will be offered by your bank.

For all 8 questions stay tuned for updates to this blog or go to my legal website. You can also watch my video explaining the 8 foreclosure questions in brief. If you are local to Beaverton, Hillsboro, or Portland Oregon, you can get my telephone number and call in your questions or comments, or just post a comment to this blog.

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