Nailing It Down — Are you about to lose your house? We can help!

Are you about to lose your house? If so, we may be able to help.

If you are officially in mortgage default, you will have received a letter from your lender describing your options and a strong recommendation that you immediately find a HUD certified housing counselor and/ or legal representation.

NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor is a HUD approved organization and we have two HUD certified housing counselors.

When the big mortgage crisis occurred a few years back, waves of foreclosures hit everywhere from big cities to small towns. Grays Harbor was hit too, hard, but more from the effects of job-loss than overall bad loans. Nonetheless there were and still are too many foreclosures – it just took longer to get here and longer to get through it without the benefit of a local jobs recovery that has been experienced in the urban areas.

While our local community banks were not involved in creating these bad loans they suffered along with the rest of us as the economy soured and the regulations were turned up on high alert. Ever felt stuck?

When things came crashing down, hardly anyone could get a loan to purchase but many were able to refinance. Still, too many had no options to catch up or change their loan to match a new lower household income—leaving a lot of people in the lurch.

Several big box banks and giant mortgage companies did make some bad loans…lots of them!

Out of a lawsuit against five of the largest lenders, a substantial mortgage settlement fund was created to help repair some of the damage to folks or to help keep some homeowners in their homes.

The money was dispersed through each state’s Attorney General Office. Then through a competitive proposals process, the money went to those organizations that have the capacity to get the funds to the people that qualified for the diverse programs that were awarded the settlement funds.

NeighborWorks of GHC successfully applied to be one of the organizations that helped dole out that money in Washington.

In a competitive application, we received a $2 million award to implement our “AGO rescue or refinance Revolving Loan Fund.”

Our winning proposal was pretty simple. We said we would try to help homeowners in default, who had suffered a qualified hardship which changed their ability to make their current loan payments, either temporarily or permanently. It could be from medical problems, job related issues, divorce and many others, but the hardship had to also be over and the homeowners had to be able to either resume their original loan with our help paying back due amounts, fees, taxes and insurance for example. That would be a rescue loan.

if the hardship caused a permanent loss of a portion of the homeowners’ income, such as-one of the breadwinners had a permanent medical condition which caused a permanent loss of income to the household, and the lender would not modify the existing loan to be affordable, that is when we would look at using our AGO refinance loan as the final solution to keep the otherwise sustainable homeowners in their homes. Sustainability is the second key component to being able to use this solution. The homeowner still has payments, they are simply more affordable. These are the counties that are eligible for our AGO rescue-refinance Revolving Loan Fund: Grays Harbor, Pacific, Lewis, Jefferson, Clallam, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Clark.

Homeowners in the other counties in the state will want to contact the Washington Homeownership Resource Center at (877) 894-4663 for more information.

The good news is that we still have $600,000 remaining in this mortgage settlement loan fund for this eight-county region.

The rescue loan money has a limit of $15,000 and can be used for things like fees, back payments, even taxes and other debts that might impede you from getting back on track.

The refinance loan money has a limit of $200,000. With this money we buy out your existing mortgage and then we become the mortgage holder a time and interest that meet affordability requirements — and a fresh start. Even if neither of these loan solutions will work for you, we will work with you to give you the best chance to save your home. We can help you talk to your bank, help you budget and help you consider your options.

One more thing: Remember, we are a non-profit organization with a mission to help home owners and buyers. Our HUD counseling services are at no cost—as in free.

Call us today at 533-7828 to get on the counselors’ call-back list.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the Executive Director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County.

Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.

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